July 2017 Alt Col Picks

A lot of great records were released in July, so here are our favorite albums of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • HAIM – Something to Tell You

Four years after their trailblazing debut album, HAIM returns with yet another striking release. With a sound that is familiar yet fresh, Something to Tell You digs its roots in ’80s-inspired pop rock with crisp, modern production quality. Between catchy hooks and diverse instrumentation, this three-sister act has something to say. Standout tracks include “Little of Your Love,” “Kept Me Crying,” and “Right Now.” Something to Tell You will appeal to fans of Heart of Gold, The Wombats, and Fun.

  • The Gospel Youth – Always Lose

Energetic percussion and gritty guitar melodies characterize The Gospel Youth’s debut effort titled Always Lose, and it’s nothing short of a triumph. The album is defined by passionate vocals, cultivated lyrics, and syrupy riffs that are bound to get stuck in your head for days. Standout tracks include “Kids,” “Moods Like English Weather,” and “Tired Eyes and Heavy Hearts.” Always Lose is sure to attract followers of The Early November, Sleep On It, and The Dangerous Summer.

  • Foster the People – Sacred Hearts Club

Foster the People returns with their pop sensibility and a desire to innovate on their new record Sacred Hearts Club. The band moves farther into groovy, funk-styled territory, showered with glimmering synths and cool guitar diapasons, but also showing signs of experimentation with trap inflections throughout the mix. Standout tracks include “Pay the Man,” “Sit Next to Me,” and “Doing It for the Money.” Sacred Hearts Club will capture listeners of Portugal. The Man, Passion Pit, and Atlas Genius.

  • Eternal Boy – Awkward Phase

The upbeat pop rock of Awkward Phase is explosive, nostalgic, and undoubtedly engaging. With teenage reminiscence, reflection on life changes, and references to pop punk veterans like Tom DeLonge, Eternal Boy crafts an album that is entertaining and yet fondly introspective. Standout tracks include “Growing Pains,” “We Still Have Our Stories,” and “Awkward Phase.” Awkward Phase is sure to interest fans of Neck Deep, State Champs, and Real Friends.

  • Goldfinger – The Knife

With the help of pop punk troupers like Travis Barker, Mike Herrera, Philip Sneed, and Luke Hemmings, John Feldmann issues out his first Goldfinger full-length effort in nine years titled The Knife. Ska-esque moments and spirited pop rock cuts compose the track listing on this comeback record. Standout tracks include “Put the Knife Away,” “Who’s Laughing Now,” “A Million Miles,” and “See You Around.” The Knife will appeal to listeners of Sum 41, blink-182, and Less Than Jake.

  • The Technicolors – Metaphysical

Raucous distortion and lively percussion outline The Technicolors’ latest long-player, which is aptly named Metaphysical. This album is construed by transcendent musicality, distinct vocal delivery, and memorable melodies, making for a delectable alt-rock listen. Standout tracks include “Neon Roses,” “Congratulations, You’re a Doll, and “Sweat.” Metaphysical is sure to satisfy followers of The Noise FM, Cage the Elephant, and Divine Fits.

  • Picturesque – Back to Beautiful

Rock band Picturesque unleashes their debut full-length detailed by hard-hitting guitar refrains and thunderous vocal performances. Through impassioned yells, lively drumming, and stirring lyrics, Back to Beautiful will shake you by the shoulders … and you’ll love every minute of it. Standout tracks include “Honestly,” “New Face,” “Believe,” and “Without You.” Back to Beautiful will capture fans of Too Close to Touch, Stolas, and Our Last Night.

  • Joywave – Content

The entrancing allure of Content attests to Joywave’s potent songwriting and stylistic charm. Joywave expands upon their jangly instrumentation to broaden a smooth indie rock terrain the band comfortably dominates. The catchy melodies and mesmerizing enticement causes this release to be undeniably spellbinding. Standout tracks include “It’s a Trip!,” “Going to a Place,” “Shutdown,” and “Thanks. Thanks for Coming.” Content is bound to attract listeners of Atlas Genius, Foals, and Mutemath.

  • Guide Dog – Lovely Domestic Bliss

Moody and granular, this experimental alt-rock solo project embodies intensity and aptitude. Lovely Domestic Bliss is vigorous and electric through its robust, gutsy anthems and boisterous choruses, but the more casual moments provide this album its dynamicity. Standout tracks include “I Am the Daddy,” “Lovely Domestic Bliss,” and “Sir Yes Sir.” Lovely Domestic Bliss will appeal to followers of Glass Towers, Car Seat Headrest, and Remo Drive.

  • Coast Modern – Coast Modern

No automatic alt text available.The savory, charismatic intonation of Coast Modern’s alt-pop self-titled debut is certainly captivating and evidently fun. The amalgam of genres displayed on this LP are perfectly melded together for a smooth, enjoyable listen constituted by sing-along choruses and interesting instrumentation. Standout tracks include “Dive,” “Pockets Full of No,” “The Way It Was,” and “Guru.” Coast Modern will satisfy listeners of Grouplove, Geographer, and Foster the People.

  • Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

Mellow indie alternative bliss. Standout tracks include “Hug of Thunder,” “Halfway Home,” and “Skyline.” For fans of The Decemberists, The Mountain Goats, and My Morning Jacket.

  • The Vamps – Night & Day (Night Edition)

I mean, it’s pop but it’s good (guitar-driven) pop. Standout tracks include “My Place,” “Hands (with Mike Perry & Sabrina Carpenter),” and “It’s a Lie (feat. Tini).” For fans of Before You Exit, New Hope Club, and Masketta Fall.

  • Milk Teeth – Be Nice (EP)

Angsty rock with strong vocals. Standout tracks include “Owning Your Okayness and “Prism,” but the entire EP is great! For fans of Muskets, Wolf Alice, and Sleater-Kinney.

  • Us and Us Only – Full Flower

Captivating yet melancholy indie rock. Standout tracks include “My Mouth,” “Bored of Black,” and “After Halloween Slump.” For fans of Local Natives, Deerhunter, and Grizzly Bear.

  • Canadian Softball – Awkward & Depressed

Satirical alternative pop punk metal indie rock…? It’s a (hilarious) mixed bag. Standout tracks include “Ohio Is for Emo Kids,” “Your Validation,” and “Mathematical.” For fans of Sunrise Skater Kids, Amidst the Grave’s Demons, and, well, Jarrod Alonge.

  • Oh Wonder – Ultralife

Experimental electronic/synth indie alternative. Standout tracks include “High on Humans,” “Ultralife,” and “Bigger Than Love.” For fans of HONNE, Broods, and The xx.

  • Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Groovy, ’80s-inspired smooth alternative vibes. Standout tracks include “Electric Blue,” “Everything Now,” and “Signs of Life.” For fans of NONONO, HAIM, and ABBA. (So many all-caps bands!)

  • People Like You – Verse

Unique and expressive indie rock with a jazzy touch. Standout tracks include “Variations on an Aria,” “Thumbnail,” and “Hackensack Hospital.” For fans of Dryjacket, Cold Fronts, and Daytona.

  • Silverstein – Dead Reflection

Impassioned rock with gripping melodies and lyrics. Standout tracks include “Retrograde,” “The Afterglow,” and “Ghost.” For fans of A Skylit Drive, Too Close to Touch, and Dance Gavin Dance.

  • Naturalist – Everything in Rotation

Poignant indie rock with a balance of soft and loud moments. Standout tracks include “Dwell,” “Patterns, Behaviors,” and “Mainstay.” For fans of From Indian Lakes, Driver Friendly, and Glass Towers.

  • The News Can Wait – The News Can Wait (EP)

Animated rock with underlying estrangement. Standout tracks include “Demonstrations and “Black Gold,” but the whole EP is stellar! For fans of Hail the Sun, A Lot Like Birds, and Stolas.

  • A Summer High – Pretty Little Liar (EP)

Pop rock that (unfortunately) keeps its 5SOS influence a little too on-the-nose… Standout tracks include “Do You Remember” and “Pretty Little Liar.” For fans of All Time Low, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Far Too Young.

Let us know what you think of July’s releases down in the comments below!


8 ’80s-Inspired Songs We Love


In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of musical elements from the 1980s being incorporated in modern music. From ambiance to percussion to synth progressions, the ’80s are coming back and we don’t really have a problem with that! Here’s our top 8 ’80s-inspired songs from the past couple years.

8. “Pretty Girl” by Hayley Kiyoko

“Pretty Girl” is atmospheric and inquisitive with twinkling synths spilling over hazy vocals, bubbly bass, and crisp percussion. The lyrical mood is shimmering and bright, curious and wide-eyed. There’s no doubt the styles of ’80s synth-pop played a hand in this glistening, fresh tune.

7. “If I Could Change Your Mind” by HAIM

HAIM, a three-sister act, revolves around glorifying the ’80s throughout their music. “If I Could Change Your Mind” hones in on strong female vocal delivery reminiscent of Heart (another sister act) and savory bass work coupled with flavorful electronic components to create something that could be nearly mistaken for a Fleetwood Mac piece.

6. “She’s American” by The 1975

The 1975 always had a clandestine taste for the ’80s, exhibited rather covertly in their self-titled debut when seen in comparison to their sophomore full-length, I like it when you sleep. “She’s American” oozes ’80s-esque themes and stylistic approaches through the invigorating percussion and the buttery synthetic ingredients tapered over misty sonant performances.

5. “We Are the Kids” by Walk the Moon

The glittery synths and sprightly guitar melodies join with a mischievous atmosphere to conceive “We Are the Kids,” a fun deep cut from Walk the Moon’s sophomore album, Talking is Hard, clearly persuaded by the ’80s. This song embellishes drum fills evocative of Phil Collins and it fits perfectly in the nighttime aura established by the indomitable songwriting.

4. “Night Drive” by Summer Camp

The synth-pop duo Summer Camp intertwines on the moonlight-bathed, aptly titled “Night Drive.” The astral angelic ambiance creates a heavenly listen for the ears, and the harmonious vocals add to the sense of togetherness found in the sparkling lyricism. Aspects of the ’80s vividly seep through to ultimately produce an entertaining song that is pleasant and celestial from start to finish.

3. “Dreamers” by Scavenger Hunt

“Missing You” by John Waite has some competition from Scavenger Hunt’s “Dreamers” in terms of lighthearted guitar refrains and perfectly infused electronic accentuation. “Dreamers” wears its love for the ’80s on its sleeve and embodies the dreamy libretto exhibited in the distinguished decade.

2. “Boyfriend” by Walk the Moon

While the lyrics are achingly cheesy, they are also clearly referencing cinematic staples of the ’80s, allowing Walk the Moon to coalesce the retro musicality with the eulogizing songwriting to forge “Boyfriend,” a playful display of enticement and wonder illustrated by alluding to ’80s movie scenes. While it is corny in more ways than one, it is a fun-loving jam that exudes the ’80s.

1. “Blame” by Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold is comprised of Michael McGough from the post-hardcore band Being As An Ocean. “Blame” subtly echoes Phil Collins by utilizing filtered husky vocals and glossy guitar cadences redolent of the ’80s. For McGough, this is certainly a diverse contrast from his typical musical work in Being As An Ocean, but we personally can’t get enough of this glimmering variety.

While these songs do largely reflect the ’80s, they also bring their own original color and attitude. This ’80s revival is spirited to not only incorporate styles of the renowned decade but also broaden and shape them into material that can still hold a footing in today’s modern era. The ’80s got a lot of things right, and contemporary music truly has plenty to learn from it as well as expand upon it. Let us know what your favorite present-day tunes are that consolidate principles from the 1980s!