The best tracks of the year 2021 so far - July - Music - Mixmag

Welcome to the July section of our best tracks of the year 2021 rundown — read the full list here

James Blake ‘Say What You Will’ (Polydor)

James Blake is back with new single ‘Say What You Will’ ahead of his new album ‘Friends That Break Your Heart’ coming on September 10. The track is a woozy rumination on comparison and the pressures of fame and welcomes a progression in both the artist’s production style and lyrical content. Buy it here

Denzel Himself, Lord Apex ‘Def Jam; Fight for LDN’ (the him institute)

Denzel Himself and Lord Apex have delivered one of the best tracks of the year with ‘Def Jam: Fight for LDN’. Chaotic, bassy production takes center stage here, with swingy, hard-hitting drums sitting perfectly underneath incredibly engaging vocal performances from both artists on the track. The duo are making sure the London underground is heard. Buy it here

Anatolian Weapons ‘Clear Sky’ (Les Yeux Orange)

Given Anatolian Weapons’ consistently impressive track record, it's no surprise that ‘Clear Sky’ bangs. For Les Yeux Orange’s second Driving Blind compilation, the Athens producer and DJ lays it down hard and fast with this sleazy acid-flecked number. Weapon by name, weapon by nature! Buy it here

soFA, Houschyar, Okay Temiz ‘Ritimsiz’ (Music from Memory)

‘Ritimsiz’ is the product of a series of improv sessions between soFa, Houschyar and later Okay Temiz in Istanbul. The influence of the context is clear: the track unfolds languorously, as Turkish folk elements trickle and swirl. Buy it here

Shygirl ft. slowthai ‘BDE’ (Because Music)

This link-up between two of the UK’s fiercest rappers is absolutely charged with horny energy. “Read my lips, I need a big dick boy,” raps Shygirl to open the track, before a manic refrain demanding “Beat the pussy right” closes it out minutes later. In between, slowthai spit his own simiarly unsubtle bars about hot and heavy bedroom sessions — all above a hard and scuzzy beat. Phew. Buy it here

Kessler ‘The Message’ (Club Glow)

Kessler is emerging as one of the best new names in the business for making breakbeat-fuelled rave bangers, as this track from his split Club Glow cassette with AK Sports attests. It’s hardcore, you know the score: propulsive vocal chops drive through raucous production, powered by ragged bass and forceful percussion. Buy it here

DJ Q ‘I Can’t Stay’ (Local Action)

From the offset 'I Can't Stay' is a classic garage anthem - those twinkling chimes, the ticking bassline, that soft reverb over choppy rhythm. The incredible, morose vocals from the insanely talented Shola Ama make the track - smokily crooning lyrics: "Can we talk for a minute I'm stressing out trying to find the words, relationship - I'm just not in it, we're together but it feels like work", that you will find yourself warbling beneath your breath in any expanse of quiet. The track slows down halfway through into ominous synths, insinuating the heartbreak of our heroine. DJ Q reminding us all of the true allure of a great garage track. Buy it here

Tech Support ‘Drainpipes’ (Tech Support Recordings)

The 80's synth pop-inspired 'Drainpipes' from Brighton's Tech Support is at its heart a foot-tapper. Hammers and cowbells ring over Gameboy-esque synths, there's elements of Balearic in there - even chord progression that sounds similar to 'Spanish Fly.' The result is a track that makes you want to drive along coastal roads under neon lights, suited and booted, ready for whatever the night will bring. Buy it here

Machinedrum ‘Only One (feat. Angelica Bess)’ (Ninja Tune)

You can’t hear this tune without instantly thinking of Machinedrum. His drum ’n’ bass sensibilities come into play on his latest tune, ‘Only One’. When Angelica Bess’ feathery voice marries the d’n’b producer’s atypical drum patterns, it makes for an outrageous banger. Buy it here

Proc Fiskal ‘Leith Tornn Carnal’ (Hyperdub)

Proc Fiskal is still in the very early days of his soon-to-blow music career, and ahead of his next record ‘Siren Spine Sysex’, the Edinburgh-based producer cuts and mixes the sound of Gaelic, Irish and English Folk music in an eclectic disfigurement. Buy it here

Lone ‘Hidden By Horizons’ (feat. Morgane Diet) (Greco-Roman)

Eery, yet sporadic, Lone’s new track ‘Hidden By Horizons’ feels like the sort of thing you’d hear at the pivotal moment of a video game…or an alien abduction. It’s one or the other. Released via Greco-Roman Records, this track hones in on Lone’s untiring breakbeat proficiency. Buy it here

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