We all know that a ton of great music has come out this year, from Courtney Barnett’s introspective album to the Alabama Shake’s triumphant sophomore release to Kendrick’s instant classic. But guess what? It’s only May! The summer has ~just begun~
Here’s part one of a series this summer highlighting the most highly-anticipated releases
Unknown Mortal Orchestra-Multi-Love: May 26
According to Pitchfork, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album “marks a thrilling departure from the bedroom psychedelia.” Translated from Pitchfork-speak to English, UMO’s third album is going to be different that the band’s previous work, but in a good way. The majority of the music is led by singer Ruban Nielson, who explains that Multi-Love was inspired by well, multi-love. While touring in Tokyo, Nielson saw an 18-year-old woman who he was instantly attracted to and after corresponding with her for a few month, his wife began talking to her as well. They decided that the woman should come stay with Nielson, his wife and their two kids for the summer and see if their interesting relationship could sustain itself. It did, and after her visa expired, she left (“Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” is inspired by their time apart) but then she came back in the fall, only for another visa to expire and then she left for good. Nielson’s relationship with the woman and his wife are the center of the album, so if the innovative, catchy music doesn’t appeal to you, at least you’ll listen for the very different storyline.
Tame Impala-Currents: July 17
I have a simple test for deciding how good a song is. I listen to it and then decide if I want to listen to it again, right away. When Tame Impala released the nearly eight minute lead single “Let It Happen” in March, I listened to it once and then twice and then three times and the countless more times. The song has so much going on, but it makes sense, the listener isn’t caught up in the blips and interlooping sounds, rather it progresses nicely. It’s a classic rock song produced in 2015. Since then, the band has released three more excellent songs, “‘Cause I’m A Man,” “Disciples” and “Eventually.” The end product, named Currents, is set to be released on July 17, providing a much appreciated mid-summer treat. It will be the Australian-based band’s third album, and from what we can hear already, it goes above and beyond the critically-acclaimed Lonerism. Lead singer Kevin Parker, the ever introspective introvert, can masterfully craft music and Currents is sure to show off how much he has learned since 2012’s Lonerism.
Florence + The Machine-How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful: June 2
After quickly recording Lungs and Ceremonials, Florence Welsh has been out of sight (but not out of mind) since the 2011 release of Ceremonials. Then, in February, she dropped the video for her first single “What Kind of Man” for her third album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, due out on June 2. Not only is the video shot masterfully, but the song is next level Flo. Featuring her signature soaring chorus, there’s an edge to her usual sweet voice. The anger and vindictiveness is tangible not only on that song but also follow up single, “St. Jude.” She released a third single “Ship To Wreck” that features a more pop-oriented sound but the lyrics are scathing, directly speaking to her destructive habits. The diversity of these three songs hopefully represent the rest of the album and I’ve been counting down the days until I can listen to it fully since I first heard “What Kind of Man” in February.
Dawes-All Your Favorite Bands: June 2
Nashville-based Dawes is set to release their followup album to 2013’s Stories Don’t End on June 2. The band, comprised partly of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, combines the best elements of lyrical folk and guitar driven rock. This will be the band’s fourth album and will feature more what Taylor describes as a more live sound, explaining that this album is sound less recorded in a studio and more like the band is on stage in front of you. After seeing Dawes play, that could only mean great things for the album.
Jamie xx-In Color: June 2
Better know as the dj/drummer of the London-based indie/techno band The xx, Jamie xx is set to release his debut solo album in early June. The first single, “Loud Places” is much more radio friendly then the other songs he has released thus far, featuring a seductive voice over a nice buildup that explodes in the chorus. other songs, like “Girl” are much more avant-garde sounding whereas “Gosh” featured distorted looping vocals over an industrial sounding-and sized-beat. The sheer variety in the sound of these songs, proves that this album will not only be fun to listen to, but will prove how genre bending something broadly defined as “techno” or “electronic” can be. Even though “Gosh” is definitely techno, it’s very much influenced by hip-hop, and the outro sounds like something that Kanye West would feature on an album. “Loud Places” has a similar progression as dozens of songs that are easily categorized as EDM, however, Jamie xx takes it a step further to make it more sonically unique, but the skeleton is the same. With a number of other big names dropping albums on the same day, make an effort not to forget about this one.