It’s June! That means Summer is here (it isn’t, but who cares). Which means it’s time to pretend you don’t actually still have to work and have responsibilities and all of that and just spend all your money on records and all your time listening to them. It’s as good a time as any to do so, as there are a number of big releases coming down the pipe this month.
First of all, there’s the new album from A Place to Bury Strangers, Worship, out June 26th. I’ve been a huge fan of these guys since frontman Oliver Ackermann formed Skywave in the early 2000s and have enjoyed their progression from an industrial-shoegaze band to augmenting their sound with elements of coldwave while retaining their core sound. There’s basically no better band from which to get your extra loud dream-pop guitar fix than APTBS. Check out the video for the album’s first single, “You Are the One.”
There’s a lot of buzz around Diiv (formerly Dive), who release their debut, Oshin, also on June 26th, and why shouldn’t there be, as the band is fronted by Z. Cole Smith, who also is a member of Beach Fossils, who to me are easily one of the best guitar bands around. Similarly to BF, Diiv delivers intricate yet poolside-ready guitar goodness but also lacquers on some Creation Records era sound blankets. Just listen to “How Long Have You Known?” and tell me you’re not hungry for more.
Did you pick up the new Flaming Lips record on Record Store Day? The one with the Ke$ha collaboration, among others (Bon Iver, et. al.)? I missed it too, which is why I’m glad they’re giving Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends a wide release June 26. Check out the aforementioned kra$y ass Ke$ha collaboration below.
Why do we put up with Fiona Apple’s long-winded album titles (we’re just calling this one Idler Wheel, but there are 21 more words to it)? Well, some of us remember losing our shit to Tidal in high school or college, then letting When the Pawn’s subtler gifts grow on us and thinking we were “over” her before being proven wrong by the fascinating Extraordinary Machine. Every so often we need Fiona Apple to remind us of who we were and that it’s okay to occasionally indulge in moody introspection. Typically, the first single, “Every Single Night,” throws us for a loop, with its twinkling playground pianos and big swooping chorus. Her voice sounds better than ever, creaking and building with an intense vibrato. Who knows what the rest of Idler Wheel will sound like when it comes out June 19, but with word of mindblowing recent live shows, I’m sufficiently intrigued.
And then there’s the new Smashing Pumpkins album, Oceania, also out June 19th, about which I recently opined at length. I’m sure I don’t have to push this one too much to Pumpkins diehards, but those who have fallen off the train should consider getting back on. Live recordings are pretty promising that this, indeed, will be Billy Corgan’s return to the sound of the recently reissues Gish and Siamese Dream. Only time will tell.
Solo guys with acoustic guitars typically don’t do much for me, but the first two albums from Sweden’s The Tallest Man on Earth remind us that good melodies, genuine feeling and great lyrics go a long way. Shallow Grave and The Wild Hunt were uniformly excellent, beautiful albums, and I expect no less out of Kristian Matsson’s third album, There’s No Leaving Now, out June 12th. Listen to the song “1904” for a taste.
Also due June 12th is the new one from Hot Chip, In Our Heads. I’ve always admired how Hot Chip has been able to craft experimental electronic music into catchy as hell pop, creating dynamite singles like “Boy From School.” Thought breakthrough The Warning and 2010’s One Life Stand are clear winners, I always thought 2008’s moodier Made in the Dark was underrated. “Flutes” sounds melancholy and pretty, similarly to that album, so maybe that’s what we’ll get with In Our Heads. I’m sure it’s gonna have some bangers though, too.
Coming June 5 is the 29th album from The Beach Boys, That’s Why God Made the Radio. Boy oh boy. This one has all of the surviving members, with polar opposites Brian Wilson and Mike Love both producing. From the sound of the title track, I’m expecting immaculately produced AM radio gold, though not the wild experimentation of landmarks like Smile. I have to admit I was afraid, but listening to the gorgeous minor chords in the chorus of the title track, I immediately feel like I’m listening to classic Beach Boys, with melodic surprises at every turn, yet somehow streamlined into something just about anyone can enjoy.
OK, it’s official: You can get excited about the new Liars album, out June 5th, called WIXIW. It’s an electronic … I’ll not say “masterwork” yet because I’m still digesting it, but that’s usually a good sign. Instead of listening to me, why not listen to the whole thing, streaming right now via NPR?