August 2021 Roundup

We are inching closer and closer into autumn, so we are inching ourselves closer and closer to our breezy acid folk and Brit folk LPs more and more. However, before we reach that wonderful stage of the year, it’s time to review some of the other killer releases we dug this summer. PLUS! All of these releases are available on Bandcamp Day, which is today! So if you’re into any of these albums, don’t hesitate. Pick them up right now!

City of Dawn – Where The World Quietly Sing Their Song

For ambient music with a heart, check out City of Dawn’s soothing Where The World Quietly Sing Their Song.

Released on El Gran E Records on vinyl and CD, the latest City of Dawn record sweeps and moves you with droning, glacial guitars and sweet chamber strings.

Songs like “Elysian” are filled with soft, optimistic tones, with occasional samples of children’s laughter echoing in the distance. This little touch, plus the swelling violins and ghostly reverb-treated vocals on the closing track, “Melody,” help to give this album the warmth and wistfulness of a nostalgic memory. It’s hard to listen to this and not daydream of your own pleasant recollections.

Utterly gorgeous and perhaps the strongest release of this young label thus far, Where The World Quietly Sing Their Song is a touching LP that fans of Eno, MONO and Jon Hopkins could easily adore.

Get your copy here today.

Heron & Crane – Streams

Virginian electro psych-folk group, Heron & Crane, have returned with the mellow Streams.

The folk aspect of their sound that was so evident on their last record has taken a far step back here, allowing for the band to explore deeper into their synth-dominate side.

Many of the tracks here are retro beat-driven instrumentals, with bubbly keyboards and peppy melodies. Songs like “Sleep Patterns” are reminiscent of the work of Boards of Canada, while tracks like “Fatal Shore” feature sunny electronic psych vibes that are akin to Black Moth Super Rainbow’s lighter material.

The group even sneaks in some occasional pop tunes, like the catchy “Tired Empire,” which allows the duo to show off their sweet-as-nectar vocals.

If 80s synth soundtracks, vaporwave and Tunng records are your thing, then you should nab yourself a copy of Streams today.

Evolfo – Site Out Of Mind

Evolfo’s Site Out of Mind is a genius blending of garage rock scuzz, psychedelic esoterica and ear-catching pop.

Every song on this album is a fun, trippy nugget that you’ll want to hear again and again. Shades of Asteroid No. 4, Elephant Stone and even the lush production and pop sensibilities of groups like Dr. Dog can be felt throughout these eleven delicious tracks.

The Brooklyn group displays their considerable songwriting chops here, as the entire album is rich with catchy hooks, unique melodies and surreal introspective lyrics. This is modern psych-rock at its finest.

The next time you’re at a party and someone puts on Tame Impala, take control of the sound system and put Site Out of Mind on instead, and show people how contemporary acid pop is really done.

You can get this album on vinyl, CD and digital from Royal Potato Family right now.

Old Smile – Four

Old Smile is one of the finest voices in psychedelic rock and bedroom pop in New Jersey today. His latest EP, Four, is just further proof of this.

This release is filled with so much ear candy, you might just get a hyper sugar rush after playing it all of the way through. The songs glow with sweet, swaggering harmonies, fuzz guitars and propelling drum work (provided by Alex Fermanis) that gives the music an extra bit of catchy dynamism.

While being fairly DIY, Old Smile was able to create recordings that are as hallucinogenic, addictive and complex as the recent work of bands like Possum, Boogarins and Roy. These are the kinds of songs that the more you listen to them, the more dimensions you can discover dwelling within.

Four is available on Old Smile’s Bandcamp right now. Do your ears a favor and pick up a copy of it right now.

Gerycz/Powers/Rolin – Lamplighter

It’s been a real treat getting to witness the growth and evolution of Jen Powers and Matt Rolin’s projects, especially their trio work with percussionist, Jayson Gerycz.

On Lamplighter, which is released today through American Dreams, the trio revel in the grey areas that exist between the worlds of free jazz, improvised folk and kosmische musik.

In each song, Gerycz lays out scatting, skittering rhythms that help to set the beat and also decorate and compliment the barrage of notes that fling out from Rolin’s guitar and Powers’ commanding dulcimer.

Throughout the album, the three musicians often jam within a minimalist and rustic zone, and then refract that sound and launch it deep into the looseness of psychedelic-inspired space. Take for example the closing track, “Jars of Glass,” which begins with meditative acoustic fingerpicking, and ends with a roaring hurricane of cataclysmic drums, electric guitar and shimmering bowed dulcimer.

Another fine example is the blissful “Blink,” which, with its extremely textured sound and use of crashing gong-like cymbals, certainly belongs on a Werner Herzog soundtrack.

This is without a doubt, one of the most essential albums of 2021. Get it here today while supplies last!

Matthew Himes – Hemlock & Bergamot

Matthew Himes is a Minnesota based singer-songwriter that approaches his craft with a personal and limitless mindset, often proving himself to be a completely peerless artist.

Released digitally and on cassette by Home & Garden Records, Hemlock and Bergamot is rich with off-kilter tunes that stir the soul and haunt the psyche. With Himes’ uniquely hushed vocals and stark instrumentation, these songs feel at once both lonesome and intimate. You often feel like a fly on the wall of a performance that was never intended to be heard by outside ears.

Yet, there is still a warmth that flows through most of these tracks, especially on “The Shadow,” which, contrary to its title, is filled with the hope and light of a bright new dawn.

Syd Barrett, Daniel Johnston and Ivor Cutler aficionados need this tape badly. Get it here right now.

Other Worthy Mentions…

We’ve received so many great submissions lately, it’s been impossible to cover them all! So here’s a quick rundown of a few other releases that we’d recommend:

Also from Home and Garden Records, Kicking a Hole by Millard and Handful of Earth by Drooling Clerics hit the spot for those who love lo-fi bedroom rock experimentations.

Meanwhile, Hangman by Dayton Swim Club, on Perpetual Doom, crashes the summer party with their righteous goth-psych vibes.

If you need a break from all things psych, then check out the grungy humid rock of Bush Tetra’s smoldering Happy album, from Wharf Cat Records.

Lastly, brace yourself for the incoming autumn season by sliding into the shadowy electro-psych folk world of The Rowan: Amber Mill’s faux-folk horror soundtrack, Disciples of the Scorpion.


If you like what you’re reading, please help keep RCU thriving. You can show your support by becoming a Patron at our Patreon account or you can make a donation to our PayPal account below.

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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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