What a time to start writing. Especially writing about new music. It seems like the least important thing in the world at this moment. I feel a desire to write something positive and give others an opportunity to look forward to something everyone can enjoy – music. With that in mind, let’s get to talking about what is hitting the airwaves this July in the unholy year of our enemy Satan and his demonic plague of 2020.

Joji – Nectar (Release Date: 7/10/2020)

My first exposure to Joji was earlier this year when his track ‘Run’ was featured on a Spotify playlist. The Ozzy Osbourne-esque guitar in the beginning drew me in, and then this guy’s voice took me back. The emotion in his voice and the simple, but heartfelt lyrics were perfect. What threw me off the most was hearing an actual guitar solo. When was the last time you heard one of those in a top 40 track? I can’t think of anything within the last decade. The music video is pretty cool too. The new album Nectar, dropping July 10, is going to be massive. By massive, I mean it’s fully loaded down with an (expected) eighteen tracks. Eighteen flippity, floppin’ tracks. An eighteen track album in 2020 is a hefty boy. Joji has had success with other singles like “Midsummer’ and ‘YEAH RIGHT’, and has over ten million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. So, I believe this album is going to be monumental for him.

The Midnight – Monsters (Release Date: 7/10/2020)

If Deadmau5’s production skills married the overall 80’s aesthetic and had a child, it would be The Midnight. Like most artists in this article, I have not listened to much of The Midnight’s work. It might have been on the same playlist that I discovered Joji for the first time, but I’m almost positive I first heard The Midnight on Spotify (I promise this article isn’t sponsored by Spotify, I’m just a daily consumer of their services). Either way, I have really enjoyed what I have heard. 

Hearing their latest singles, ‘Dance With Somebody’, ‘America Online’, and ‘Deep Blue’ made me really excited to hear what else is going to be on the new album Monsters. Between these three singles, I’d argue that ‘America Online’ is my favorite. I’ve had ‘Lost Boy’ from their 2018 album Kids playing on repeat along with ‘America Online’. One thing that I like about The Midnight is that they always release an instrumental version of their album. The Kids album is one of the best albums to listen to while you’re working on something. I’m rambling now, but just give them a listen and look out for their new album coming July 10. 

Rufus Wainwright – Unfollow the Rules (Release Date: 7/10/2020)

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear this guy’s name is ‘Hallelujah’. His version of that classic song is my favorite. I would be a liar to say I have always been a big Rufus fan. When he was really famous I had my head buried in heavy metal albums. Listening to his singles released for this new album has drawn me to listen to his other music. It’s incredibly chill and original. Deep description, I know. A single for his new album titled ‘You Ain’t Big’ has an upper-class, chill at a local hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, while wearing a worn pair of oxfords type of sound. That may sound specific, but if you can piece that visual together while listening to it then you’ll totally understand. Don’t let that description make you  think I’m bashing this guy. It’s a great song. 

He’s an incredibly talented and unique artist. Other new singles I’ve enjoyed are ‘Peaceful Afternoon’ and ‘Damsel In Distress’. The acoustic guitars in these songs sound amazing. His voice in tandem with the back up vocals is a great addition. Touching on his opera and classically trained background, he implements playful strings and layers in subtle wind instruments in the bridge of ‘Damsel In Distress’. I look forward to hearing the entire album on July 10th. Mr. Wainwright makes some good stuff.

The Naked And Famous – Recover (Release Date: 7/24/2020)

In my search for what’s going to drop in July I ran across The Naked And Famous. This group gives off some serious The 1975 vibes. What caught my attention was that one of their singles was titled ‘Come As You Are’. I audibly said, “Dear god. Don’t be bad.” I was very certain it was a Nirvana cover. Surprisingly, my first exposure to The Naked And Famous was a positive one, and thankfully it was not a cover. This track is original, truly uplifting, and hits the powerfully, positive pop notes so well. The production value is incredible as far as I’m concerned. I enjoyed the layers of different synth sounds and the use of vox-like tools used for the vocals of the pre-chorus. 

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the soft guitar that was introduced in the first pre-chorus and used as an extra layer in the chorus to work with the other arpeggiated synths. When I say that this band gives off The 1975 vibes, I mean it. Best example: one of their other singles ‘Sunseeker’. From the vocal edits, to the drum sound, to the use of distorted synth (could totally be a guitar though), it’s all there. I really enjoy it though. Their Death EP is a solid prospect of a great album to come. Even though they use all these familiar sounds, I believe this is some great original music. I highly recommend you check their new album Recover out July 24.

Howling – Colure (Release Date: 7/24/2020)

If the entire Howling’s sophomore album Colure is as good as the singles they’ve released so far, then I would not be surprised to see these guys nominated for a Grammy. It’s a bold prediction, but I believe if this album catches the attention it deserves then it could be big. The attention to detail in the songs I’ve heard so far is astounding. If you throw on some cans and listen, you can comb through the sonic portrait Howling paints. ‘Healing’, ‘Bind’, and ‘Need You Now’ are mixed so well. To hear a club sound integrated with such beautiful acoustic elements like this is beautiful. 

The only other band I’ve heard make such a comprehensive and meticulously orchestrated batch of songs is Nine Inch Nails. It would be inaccurate to say Howling sounds like NIN, but the mixing, mastering, and the distinction of such original and intricate sounds is very similar to what Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross do. One aspect I really like is that they didn’t cut their songs short to fit a radio format. ‘Healing’ and ‘Need You Now’ are both over six minutes while ‘Bind’ is over four minutes. They have created songs you can sit and listen to for hours. This album is going to be worth a purchase, not just a few streams. Check out their singles ASAP.

Moving forward I really want Music Landing to be a monthly publication where others can discover new or underground artist’s music. Yes, I’ll highlight some bigger or more popular artist’s music that’s releasing, but I want this to be a platform that delivers fresh artists to new pairs of eyes. If this is the kind of content you enjoy, then please read more of my work on SMRI Productions website. You can also follow us on social media @smriproductions for the latest updates.