Get comfy, y’all, because this is a huge entry. We had a ton of great releases this past summer that are worth checking out. Enjoy!
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sex & Food, released 6 April. My first reaction to this was that they sound remarkably like Steely Dan here, and I kinda love it.
Eels, The Deconstruction, released 6 April. Mark Oliver Everett can write deceptively touching songs, even when the subject matter is pain and sadness. An album that’s both about endings and beginnings.
Wye Oak, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, released 6 April. An album as quirky as its title, it’s a hell of a fun listen. This one got a lot of listens during writing sessions this year.
The Damned, Evil Spirits, released 13 April. This album really reminded me of their early 80s post-punk era, especially The Black Album (which is incidentally my favorite of their back catalog). Great stuff.
Jesus Jones, Passages, released 20 April. So glad to see these guys returning. One of my favorite 90s bands, and one of the few that can combine hard rock and electronics and make it sound amazing.
Pinkshinyultrablast, Miserable Miracles, released 4 May. Russian shoegaze that hits all my buttons: soaring melodies, heavy reverb, light and echoey vocals. A lovely album.
Local H, “Innocents (Edited for Television)” single, released 7 May. A great and powerful single-only release from the duo that I love cranking up on my headphones.
Beach House, 7, released 11 May. They’ve perfected that dreamy shoegazey sound and truly made it their own.
Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, released 11 May. It’s a weird album and I’m still not entirely sure what it’s about (my theory is that it’s about a bellboy/desk jockey at said hotel working solo on the night shift and having a long dark night of the soul), but it’s still amazing.
Failure, Your Body Will Be EP, released 24 May. Second of the band’s four releases. This is going somewhere interesting, but we still don’t have the full story yet…
Snow Patrol, Wildness, released 25 May. A VERY welcome return for the band. “Life on Earth” is another contender for favorite song of the year for me…one of the most powerful tracks they’ve ever released.
Dave Matthews Band, Come Tomorrow, released 8 June. This record felt like a return to their Crash-era sound; it’s quite enjoyable.
Johnny Marr, Call the Comet, released 15 June. His recent solo albums over the past few years have always been great, but he’s surpassed himself here, reinserting his signature ‘guitarchestra’ sound into his work, and it’s simply gorgeous.
Florence + the Machine, High As Hope, released 29 June. One of her most personal albums, this one really reminded me of Patti Smith’s work, and that’s definitely a high compliment.
Gorillaz, The Now Now, released 29 June. After the glorious and crowded Humanz from last year, the ridiculously productive Damon Albarn followed up with a light and poppy record with a lot of sunny radio-friendly tunes.
Next Up: Q3, July to September!