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.


MORE GREAT ALBUMS & EXTENDED PLAYS
  • 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!

10 Songs to Celebrate Pride Month

Here at Alt Columnist, we mainly focus on alternative music, from indie rock to pop punk to singer/songwriter folk and everything in between. To celebrate Pride Month, we will be stepping outside of those genre-based boundaries and discussing songs that are pop, reggae, hip-hop, R&B, and alt-pop. These pieces are either about being LGBT+, are written/performed by LGBT+ artists, and/or have become regarded as empowering anthems for the LGBT+ community. We hope you enjoy, and let us know your favorite LGBT+ tunes! (Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!)

“Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley Kiyoko has risen to popularity through starring in Scooby Doo and Disney television shows, but her solo music career started taking off with the release of the This Side of Paradise EP in 2015 which featured her hit single titled “Girls Like Girls.” This indie pop song is an absolute anthemic jam for women-loving women everywhere, and the emotional music video presents the struggles that many gay people face in relationships and friendships. Hayley released her follow-up EP Citrine in 2016 which delivered more empowering tunes, like “Ease My Mind” and “Palace.” She recently debuted another single earlier this year named “Sleepover,” a fabulous slow burn that again details the difficulties of crushing on a friend. Overall, Hayley serves as an innovative indie pop artist who isn’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve.

“Girls/Girls/Boys” by Panic! at the Disco

Coming from the last genuinely good Panic! at the Disco album, (click here to read our review of Death of a Bachelor), “Girls/Girls/Boys” describes a love triangle complicated by bisexuality, but instead of execrating the orientation, Brendon accepts and supports it, chanting that “girls love girls and boys” and “love is not a choice.” “Girls/Girls/Boys” has become empowering for many LGBT+ youth, especially considering Panic!’s large young fanbase. While Brendon himself is not a member of the LGBT+ community, he has reported experimenting with men in the past but ultimately identifies as straight. He is a notable ally and features a rainbow pride flag at many of his live shows, overwhelmingly adorned by admirable praise from the audience.

“Ghosts” by PVRIS

Lynn Gunn, the frontwoman of the electro-rock band PVRIS, is gay and open about it in hopes of providing representation for others. It was hard to narrow it down to one song to feature in this post, but we settled on “Ghosts,” a personal favorite that exhibits the struggles of a relationship when dealing with “ghosts” which Lynn has explained is a metaphor for mental health issues, namely depression. This tune seems to tell the story of a couple facing challenges in their relationship due to these ghosts, the “things [Lynn] can’t see” but are still having an affect on their emotional connection, again pointing to psychological problems or other hardships. Overall, PVRIS has consistently released fantastic music and their powerful frontwoman continues to serve as a gay icon in the scene.

“Shameless” by Tyler Glenn

Tyler Glenn, lead singer of the pop rock band Neon Trees, has come out as gay and is shameless about it. He distanced himself from the Mormon religion due to his sexuality and other disagreements, and his debut solo album Excommunication discusses his experience and frustration with the LDS Church. “Shameless” is about not giving a damn and “living a life so shameless” while also calling out others on how they “hate what they don’t understand.” In a vein similar to Lady Gaga’s power anthem “Born This Way,” “Shameless” is bound to embolden listeners to be themselves unabashed and audaciously. Both songs also include religious inflections in the lyrics, taking jabs at close-minded church organizations, and Gaga in particular encourages the idea that God makes no mistakes and LGBT+ people can be spiritual no matter what.

“You Can Cry Tomorrow” by Betty Who

Again, it was difficult to choose just one song to include from the LGBT+ pop icon Betty Who. Jessica Anne Newham, known by her stage name Betty Who, relocated to the United States from Sydney, Australia, in 2007 and pursued a music career in the early 2010s with the debut single “Somebody Loves You” dropping in late 2012. Her sugary, upbeat pop jams have been utilized for gay marriage proposals and LGBT+ events, and she has performed at countless pride festivals across the country. “You Can Cry Tomorrow” is an uplifting ’80s-inspired pop tune with glimmering synths and catchy melodies, and the artist doesn’t hold back her sexual orientation in the lyrics.

“Heaven (ft. Betty Who)” by Troye Sivan

Speaking of Betty Who, she is featured on Troye Sivan’s emotional song “Heaven” from his 2015 debut album Blue Neighbourhood. The South African-born Australian initially found his fame on YouTube, garnering attention from other LGBT+ internet personalities like Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, and Connor Franta, and, through his profound interest in music, eventually signed to EMI Australia in 2013 to deliver his EP titled TRXYE, released in 2014. Troye is openly gay and acts as a role model for his viewers and listeners. “Heaven” discusses the familial and religious struggles that are unfortunately attached to the orientation, such as hiding the truth from one’s parents, coming to terms with oneself, and questioning spiritual beliefs. The piece is moving, haunting, and showcases perfectly the challenges many LGBT+ people face personally in the church.

“I Found A Girl” by The Vamps

The Vamps debuted as a British pop rock reggae band with syrupy sweet melodies and summertime vibes, though they originally started out uploading covers on YouTube, everything from One Direction and Austin Mahone to Neon Trees and McFly. Even as their career has progressed, they still continue to post covers, branching out to more rock oriented artists like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Their second album Wake Up featured the band taking a more pop approach in their style with songs that could easily have appeared as One Direction b-sides but still maintaining their guitars in most instances. The project also included the monumental “I Found A Girl,” an energetic pop rock reggae fusion song about a man falling in love with a lesbian and, like Brendon in “Girls/Girls/Boys,” he doesn’t condemn her sexuality but rather welcomes it.

“Apologize (ft. OMVR)” by Matilda

Norwegian up-and-coming pop artist Matilda (no, not the musical/film) has released multiple amazing singles and albums, unleashing infectious electro indie pop tunes with a ferocious bite. (Oh, and she also wrote some of them with Betty Who.) Her music video for “Apologize (ft. OMVR)” gained viral attention from the LGBT+ community for shining the spotlight on the ups and downs experienced by a lesbian couple. Her song “Ghost” is catchy and pleasingly memorable with a melody you won’t be able to get out of your head. (Coincidentally, another artist by the name of Matilda has released a song titled “Girl Code” which discusses a lesbian struggling with a crush on her friend. If we are mistaken and these Matildas are the same artist, please let us know. We were greatly shocked!) Matilda continues to be on the rise with her single “Illusion” which was recently released at the end of May.

“Dancing in the Rain” by Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the brother of Chance the Rapper and opened up about being bisexual in early 2017. He told Billboard that his main motivation for coming out publicly was for his fans to know him better. “You don’t want to do anything that makes your fans not like you anymore, but I realized, ‘F— it! Be yourself.’ You got to be yourself. That’s what I said; that’s what my parents have always told me. The only people I felt like I deserved to tell was my fans because if your fans don’t know you, how can they support you? Then there was also the idea that for somebody that has a platform like mine that can speak to these many people, to come out and say something like that, I hope, puts courage in people to do the same thing.” His sweet R&B-tinged hip-hop ballad “Dancing in the Rain (ft. Donnie Trumpet, Shay Lewis, & Brandon Fox)” details the desire to just dance with your partner and let go of the pain, the worries, and the heartache.

“Night Go Slow” by Catey Shaw

Catey Shaw, a pop artist from Brooklyn, mentioned in an article with AfterEllen that she’s “had relationships with men in the past and with women” and her sexuality influences her songwriting; she enjoys making music that elevates LGBT+ people. From humble beginnings busking on subway platforms to alt-pop renown, Catey Shaw is a seasoned singer/songwriter who describes her music as being very careful and mixing many genres together, like jazz, disco, and reggae. The music video for her slow-dance-ready song “Night Go Slow” features a young lesbian couple enjoying a night alone together between sleeping in the back of a truck and stealing from a convenience store. Catey’s sweet pop tunes will not only get stuck in your head but also serve a greater purpose for the LGBT+ community.

Other great songs to check out…

Let us know in the comments some of your favorite LGBT+-related songs and inspirational artists! (Of course, please understand that a person’s sexual orientation does not define their entire identity; humans are inherently multidimensional, so please take time to look into these artists even more beyond their sexuality and/or political/social stances.)