Retrospective is our monthly column looking at music of the past. Here's a selection of sounds from the archives that are worth dusting off, revisiting, discovering or falling in love with all over again.

August 2012 saw the release of Bloc Party's highly-anticipated comeback, Four, which although wasn't the return to form that people hoped for, was still of an impressive calibre, spewing the stomping 'Octopus' and admirable cuts like 'Coliseum' and 'V.A.L.I.S'. Also released during that sodden month were records from Swans, Ariel Pink, Why? and the lauded third LP from Yeasayer, entitled Fragrant World.

The psych-pop Brooklynites further evolved their amorphous style, careening away from the poppier tones of predecessor, Odd Blood, and cultivating a stranger, murkier and more abstract flavour of noise. The record was leaked via promos sent out to fans and an online scavenger hunt, as an experiment by the band to battle against, as core member Chris Keating stated, "the oversharing, Instagramming culture that we live in."

2008 welcomed Noah & The Whale's first record, featuring '5 Years Time', The Faint's fifth album, GZA's Pro Tools and Bloc Party's divisive Intimacy. Lykke Li also dropped her première full-length, Youth Novels. Featuring red-lit hit 'Little Bit' (featuring the naughty line "For you I'll keep my legs apart..."), the Swedish songstress' dreamy tones won over hearts across the globe. She established herself as the primo chantreuse of synth-led indie-pop, evoking a myriad of emotions with her gorgeous vocals and sixth sense for earworms. It's dark, euphoric, texturally exciting and rammed with brittle humanity. Dance-punks Late Of The Pier also dropped their debut five years ago, undertaking a journey that scored unanimous plaudits and vaunted tracks. Intriguingly, they may (or may not) be making a return this year, after posting a rather cryptic note back in February.

Ah, August 2003. The month mired in Madonna-coloured controversy - it was the month she famously snogged both Britney and Christina, sparking outrage and a clamour of conservative criticisms. But, Madge being Madge, she didn't give a single shit. In other realms, we had Love & Life by Mary J. Blige, Cast Of Thousands from Elbow, a live collection from Björk, and vital records from Alien Ant Farm, Smash Mouth and Snow Patrol.

Also in 2003 was the release of Danish dance-pop duo Junior Senior's debut, D-D-Don't Don't Stop the Beat, featuring singles 'Rhythm Bandits' and the unforgettable funk-house anthem 'Move Your Feet'. Blending garage rock, eurodance, disco, funk, and bubblegum pop, the record was a much-applauded anthology of frivolity. The pair never really gathered steam, and faded into obscurity shortly after they released a second album in 2005. It failed to really chart anywhere except Japan, where it did phenomenally, for some reason.

Kim Deal's side project-turned-day job The Breeders put out Last Splash, their second studio album during August 1993. Featuring efforts like 'Cannonball', with its mesmerising guitar hooks and raucous alt. rock chorus, and 'Divine Hammer', which is decisively poppier fare, it was - and still is - the band's most commercially successful offering. It frequently features on 'best of the 90s' lists, and for many people, it remains a firm favourite. A true modern classic.

Despite a wholly useless (and, admittedly, imaginary) trophy for the absolute worst nom de guerre ever, and a knack for less-than-great song titles, Rapeman - named after a controversial erotic manga of the same name - dropped a pretty snazzy lone album. The band featured man-god Steve Albini on axe duties, providing the band with hefty credentials on which to rise above gimmicky monikers. Their only record was released in August 1988, and named Two Nuns and a Pack Mule. The noise rockers aren't the most remembered act of the style, but they sure know how to warp the sonic arts like any master of the genre: the percussion is agitated and brutish, the guitars thrash as if seizing, in the signature Albini way, as he hoarsely calls over the top. It's loud, violent and offensive - but also implements some more avant-garde moments of art-rock that set the trio apart from the rank'n'file.

Way before the re-popularisation of Nile Rodgers via Daft Punk, he was shredding for disco/funk/R&B titans Chic. In 1978, the group's sophomore effort C'est Chic landed, birthing a plethora of career-highlights, such as 'Le Freak', 'Chic Cheer' and 'I Want Your Love'. The former is still a staple of numerous outlets, be it club nights, radio, film or TV - it remains one of the most significant tracks of the genre.

It held the record for the top-selling Warner/Atlantic single for almost 30 years, and has sold millions of copies worldwide. The record itself is multi-platinum and featured as Billboard's top R&B record of the year in 1978. Scores of personnel are credited on the record, including Luther Vandross and jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis, alongside Chic veterans like Bernard Edwards, Tony Thompson and the iconic Rodgers.

Celebrated blues and soul singer Etta James left a golden legacy when she sadly passed away last January after succumbing to a combination of ailments. Perhaps one of her greatest achievements is the classic track 'I'd Rather Go Blind', which has been famously covered many times, but first recorded by James in 1967, and released in August 1968. It featured on the seminal LP Tell Mama, widely regarded as one of the strongest blues/soul records of the 20th century - it also gave us stand out cuts like her version of Otis Redding's 'Security', the hit title track and 'The Love Of My Man'. Etta James proved herself to be an icon with the album, spewing endless arresting ballads over the course of her lifetime, and releasing music with heart-wrenching emotion that easily stands the test of time.