July is one of my least favorite months. This also makes August one of my favorite months. July for me captures all of the moments that were supposed to happen but didn’t. Those magical summers we grow up seeing in movies and television that a lot of us don’t ever experience. August is the opposite of that. It’s the point of summer where the heat starts to change into something more self-aware and calm. The heat knows where it’s supposed to be, how it should weigh in the air. Smaller, quieter moments become more important as you start to appreciate the last days of summer, before fall begins.
If I had to pick an artist to capture all of the feelings August inspires it would be Brooklyn based Blush. The members are confident in who they are as a group, and what their sound is. As a listener, you never have to second-guess their intentions, and this stability really allows you to sit back and take in the music. I like Blush because their music dances around ideas of nostalgia, memory, and desire without getting stuck in the past. Each song looks forward to the future with a compassionate take on how our pasts keep a hold on who we are, and who we'll be. In a similar vein of thought, Blush recently re-released a Digital Deluxe version of their 2017 self-titled album, which pairs the final version alongside some of the demos that were written for it between 2007–2015. Hearing the changes that have taken place over the years allows you to not only appreciate the growth Blush has gone through, but to also see the continued thread of hope that has kept its place at the heart of their style.
Photo by Hayden Sitomer
In August, the late summer heat has a way of settling into your bones in ways that are both comfortable and uncomfortable. Similarly, Blush seems to have a meditative approach to their rhythm and beats, but they also retain a taut edge in the heart of the music. The band’s harder edges comes from the restless, angst-inspired lyrics, and the accompanying cynicism in Lynch’s voice. The warmth of the Blush’s sound comes from it’s mellow, expansive instrumentals. They have a low, buzzy quality that makes me think of the cicadas I can hear buzzing in my backyard on balmy afternoons, or the crickets singing outside my window while I try to fall asleep. If I had to pick a song to best explain my reasoning, I would choose non-demo version “Fire Island.” The song is short, a little over two minutes long. It consists of lead vocalist Maura Lynch softly humming underneath the guitar’s gentle symphonic melody. The track is slow, meandering through each riff the way as if its walking alongside a ledge but not at all afraid of the fall. It’s exactly the sort of restlessness I remember from the walks I took on long summer days when I was 15 and looking to kill time.
This August, I have to admit that I’ve been avoiding doing the mental and emotional labor I should be doing. I’ve also been avoiding all other forms of labor as well, which is also why the artist of the month blurb for August wasn’t posted until August 15th. But I don’t think I would have posted this at all if it weren’t for the fact that I wrote this while listening to the newly released demos. The entanglements of time and space present in Blush’s lyrics reminded me that even when my life feels motionless and directionless, time is still there to take me along my path. And I don’t always need to be running towards my future, it’s perfectly fine to take my time and figure out what I want.