Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Lana Del Rey, Arcade Fire, Shabazz Palaces, and more albums to expect in July

Shabazz Palaces (Photo: Suzi Pratt/WireImage/Getty Images), Lana Del Rey (Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images), and Arcade Fire (Photo: Carrie Davenport/Redferns). Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to review sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out when. Thankfully, The A.V. Club is ready to help those struggling souls. Each month, we’ll publish a fairly comprehensive list of what’s coming to record stores and streaming services in upcoming weeks, complete with capsule previews so interested parties can know what to expect.

July 7

Broken Social Scene, Hug Of Thunder

The world could use a new Broken Social Scene album right about now. Boasting surging indie-rock anthems, mood-setting instrumentals, and one Emily Haines-led song that’s going to break your fucking heart, Hug Of Thunder is a back-in-business statement from the the Canadian supergroup, its first new recording in seven years. “Halfway Home” will provide new occasion for fist-pumping and beer-hoisting on the band’s well-timed late-summer/early fall tour; “Mouth Guards Of The Apocalypse” is the likeliest candidate for the one whose live performances will last twice as long as the recorded version. [Erik Adams]


Gucci Mane & Ralo, Ralo Laflare

Fresh off his best album since getting out of jail last year, Gucci Mane releases another rapid-fire collaborative project with fellow Atlantan Ralo. Ralo’s best known for the single “Can’t Lie,” featuring Future, as well as a series of mixtapes featuring pretty much every popular rapper from Atlanta. This new release is intended to celebrate Ralo’s recent signing to Gucci’s 1017 Eskimo Records imprint, and their previous collaborative track, “They Can’t Stop Us,” makes the most of the juxtaposition between Ralo’s reedy hype-man routine and Gucci’s more elemental style. [Clayton Purdom]

Great Grandpa, Plastic Cough


Equal parts rough-edged noise and accessible pop melodies, Seattle band Great Grandpa delves back into the era of shambolic ’90s indie-pop with abandon. Drenched in distortion and wedded to rhythms both jagged and loping, the group delivers a fusion of sunny shoegaze pop and angular fuzzed-out rock. Its debut album, Plastic Cough, explores college rock ballads and yearning, ambitious anthems with equal facility. Vocalist Alex Menne keeps the sprawl anchored with her warm, endearing vocals, making this record a great option for weekend parties and late-night rumination alike. [Alex McLevy]

Haim, Something To Tell You

The three sisters of Haim know how to make a first impression. The initial taste of their follow-up to 2013’s Days Are Gone came in a video for the song “Right Now” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. That track was less buoyant than some of the band’s best work, but the trio followed that with entries like “Want You Back” that are ideal for bopping about on a hot summer day. Haim likes to take its time with releases, but this one is shaping up to be well worth the wait. [Esther Zuckerman]


Lucy Rose, Something’s Changing

London-based singer-songwriter and endearing personality Lucy Rose decided to do something very different for her third studio album, Something’s Changing. Not just a record, the project comes out simultaneously with a new documentary that recounts the South American trip that inspired the latest music. Traveling across the country to perform free shows wholly organized by fans, both film and album capture a musician in a state of transition. The indie folk artist looks to be delivering a more expansive and searching record, though still grounded in her winsome, distinctive voice. [Alex McLevy]


Melvins, A Walk With Love And Death

The long-running Melvins delivers something new with A Walk With Love And Death, its first-ever double album. Though that’s actually a bit of a misnomer: Death is a stand-alone LP, while Love is the soundtrack to a short film directed by Jesse Nieminen that’s also titled A Walk With Love And Death. With guest turns from Le Butcherettes’ Teri Gender Bender (also part of the recent Melvins-inclusive supergroup Crystal Fairy), Pixies’ Joey Santiago, and That Dog’s Anna Waronker, Melvins are once again delivering something strange, unpredictable, and unmistakably them. Also, it will likely kick a lot of ass. [Alex McLevy]


Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley

Tired of making heady, sample-laden instrumental music for a niche audience, British trio Public Service Broadcasting finally succumbs to the lure of lowest-common-denominator pop stardom with a concept album about the collapse of the South Wales mining industry. Stacking the deck with big-name guest collaborators like Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura and James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, Public Service Broadcasting’s cynical grab at superstardom is built on hours of research and interviews conducted by frontman J. Willgoose. Every craven, focus-grouped angle is addressed, from lilting indie-pop (“Progress”) to crunchy guitar rock (“All Out”), all in the service of a big payday. For shame. [Kyle Ryan]


This Is The Kit, Moonshine Freeze

This Is The Kit is the strange stage name of Kate Stables, a folkie with a fiery streak who’s the darling of lots of other artists but hasn’t made too big a splash herself. That could change with Moonshine Freeze, which features production from PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish—the influence of both is felt—and guest spots from The National’s Aaron Dessner. Stables described the songs of this record as happening “at night, where there’s a small amount of light in a dark place.” [Josh Modell]


Toro Y Moi, Boo Boo

Battling a personal identity crisis after nearly a decade of touring and recording, Chaz Bear (formerly Chaz Bundick) found solace in the work of artists like Travis Scott, Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, and Oneohtrix Point Never—particularly their shared sense of space. From this awareness evolved Boo Boo, the sixth full-length from Bear’s prolific and ever-changing project Toro Y Moi. Boo Boo feels like a natural extension of TYM’s chillwave roots, wholly built around vibe and often playing like a tour through ’80s synth presets. But that’s not a dig: Whatever the genre trappings, these are lushly funky and emotive tunes about life and love’s elusive tendencies. [Kelsey J. Waite]


Twista, Crook County


A quarter-century into his career, lightning-fast rapper Twista is known, well, mostly for being lightning-fast. Ever since his 2004 breakthrough, Kamikaze—which featured a couple of Kanye-produced mega-hits, back when Ye’s highest aspiration was to be respected by older Chicago rappers—Twista has steadily released records, his most recent being 2014’s Dark Horse. The upcoming Crook County, his tenth, features young Chicago talent like Jeremih and Vic Spencer, and its two lead singles sound solid. He doesn’t even really rap quickly on them! [Clayton Purdom]

July 14

Boris, Dear

You never know what you’re going to get from a new Boris record. Though the Japanese three-piece first gained major attention in America for the catchy hard-rock blitzkriegs of 2005’s Pink, that was just one permutation of the band’s sound, which has stretched to encompass tuneless punk explosions, pretty ambient soundscapes, walls of impenetrable drone, virtuosic psychedelic noodling, and even electronica-tinged J-Pop. Dear, the 24th studio album of a 25-year career, hews closer to the doomier side of the spectrum, engulfing angelic vocals in a subterranean Black Sabbath rumble of down-tuned guitar. There are stray blasts of righteous melody, like the anthemic crescendos that erupt from the placid surface of “Beyond,” but most of Dear’s sonic earthquakes seem designed to rattle the skeleton, not catch the ears. [A.A. Dowd]


The Dears, Times Infinity Volume Two


Majestic, melancholy, and perpetually haunted by the word “Morrissey,” Montreal indie-pop group The Dears captured critical adoration with a trio of mid-’00s releases that still sound as timelessly, powerfully romantic today. There’s been a little less hype since 2008’s Missiles—a byproduct of a nearly six-year hiatus that ended with 2015’s Times Infinity Volume One—but the band still makes reliably soaring, swooning rock songs of the Sad Bastard ilk. It returns for the promised second volume of that new chapter, which is said to be inspired by the marriage of founding members Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak, and (presumably) all the beautiful misery to be mined there. [Sean O’Neal]

Integrity, Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume

Hardcore and metal tend to play nice together these days, coexisting on labels, on tours, and within the genetic makeup of plenty of groups. Integrity played a big role in breaking down the barriers between the two genres. These Ohio veterans have been blending punk militancy with squealing heavy-metal showmanship since 1988. Of course, the band has gone through enough personnel changes since then that it’s an almost entirely different group of musicians calling themselves Integrity today; the only constant is the ferocious bellow of frontman Dwid Hellion. Still, if early singles “I Am The Spell” and “Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame” are any indication, the band’s 12th studio album (and first for seminal extreme-music label Relapse) won’t stray far from the pit-igniting sound that launched a thousand metalcore ships. [A.A. Dowd]


Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Japanese Breakfast has served as the dreamy, lo-fi side project of Michelle Zauner, better known as the lead singer of Philadelphia punk quartet Little Big League, since 2013, but when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Zauner returned to her home in rural Oregon and transformed her early DIY recordings into the lush, emotional songs of 2016’s Psychopomp. Her follow-up, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, finds her moving away from that tragic subject matter and toward what promises to be an even more eclectic album, with room for the Auto-Tuned pop of “Machinist” and the brilliant Orbison-style ballad “Boyish” alike. [Matt Gerardi]


Lo Tom, Lo Tom

Pedro The Lion had more than a dozen members during its decade-long run, with singer-guitarist David Bazan as the sole constant. Bazan has gone on to a career that’s fruitful with both solo material and side projects, and though he plays PTL material in concert, he’s never resurrected the name. If there were ever a time to do it, it probably would have been with the debut by Lo Tom, which features key players from Pedro’s heyday. Maybe they didn’t want to put too much weight on it, especially considering this album is touted as low-key and quickly recorded. Still, it’s got the rocking spirit that guided Pedro’s best. [Josh Modell]


Mura Masa, Mura Masa

British producer Mura Masa—real name Alex Crossan—topped the Spotify charts with his 2015 single “Lovesick,” followed by a revamp featuring A$AP Rocky that similarly racked up more than 28 million YouTube plays. Subsequent collaborations with artists like Desiigner and Charli XCX have created a lot of excitement (at least among the young people who contributed to that viral stardom) around his debut full-length, a mix that features all of the aforementioned tracks, alongside team-ups with Damon Albarn and Jamie Lidell, and that promises to showcase the 21-year-old’s zeal for sunny synths and steel drums. So, so many steel drums. [Sean O’Neal]


Offa Rex, The Queen Of Hearts

After falling in love with her voice and interpretations of British folk songs, The Decemberists’ frontman Colin Meloy brought singer/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney on board to open for the band. Eventually the two came together to form Offa Rex. On their debut, The Queen Of Hearts, they’re bringing a fuller rock sound and a tinge of psychedelia to the centuries-old English, Irish, and Scottish songs that the folk revivalists of the ’50s and ’60s unearthed. [Matt Gerardi]


The Pollyseeds, The Sounds Of Crenshaw Vol. 1


Though Terrace Martin has performed under the Pollyseeds name before, the moniker took on a more certain shape this spring when the producer and frequent Kendrick Lamar collaborator announced the staggering lineup of musicians and producers behind The Sounds Of Crenshaw Vol. 1. Gathering instrumentalists Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington, as well as singer Rose Gold, among many others, the Los Angeles collective defines its aim as “to honestly express yourself at a high level while paying homage, yet being current and innovating the times.” This is borne out by the cool, West Coast bump of its first single, “Intentions,” where the masterful blending of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B suggests Sounds Of Crenshaw will showcase the individual strengths of its collaborators and the best of South Central L.A., past and present. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Shabazz Palaces, Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star and Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines

Shabazz Palaces’ 2011 debut, Black Up, is one of the singular rap records of the decade, a monument and a mystery that still radiates dark beauty to this day. The group’s 2014 follow-up, Lese Majesty, proved even more abstract, constantly evading the listener’s grasp over a string of suite-like electronic compositions. The new Quazarz project is split across two records—Born On A Gangster Star and Vs. The Jealous Machines—which would seem to indicate even further retreat into the duo’s own sci-fi mythos were it not for the faded, dusty glory of single “Shine A Light.” On the other hand, the other single, “Since C.A.Y.A.,” sounds like it was recorded inside of a tesseract. No matter what route they take, the records will be worth poring over. [Clayton Purdom]


Sheer Mag, Need To Feel Your Love

Sheer Mag formed only a few years ago, in Philadelphia, and has released a handful of EPs that celebrate funk grooves and punk glee. Need To Feel Your Love is the band’s first studio full-length, and the released singles bode well for the band’s future, with Christina Halladay’s razor-like voice slicing through political commentary and punk love. Sheer Mag’s bluesy swagger and explosive vocals add up to gloriously fun ’70s rock for the resistance, and this album will likely prove right all the critics who said this would be a band to keep an eye on. [Laura M. Browning]


Sqürl, EP #260


Not content to make cool, challenging films, Jim Jarmusch has also decided to spend 2017 making some cool, challenging music. Droning, psychedelic rock is the essence of Sqürl, the director’s duo that began during the filming of The Limits Of Control and has already produced several releases. The latest is an EP consisting of three resolutely idiosyncratic experiments in expansive desert rock and noise-lined beats, followed by two remixes from Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe and Föllakzoid, and delivers more of Sqürl’s dirge-like sounds. [Alex McLevy]

Twinsmith, Stay Cool


Twinsmith’s aptly named third album is pure indie pop, with finger-snapping melodies, subtle harmonies, and hazy synths. Stay Cool evokes Patrick Nagel pastels but is still grounded in the present, laid-back but not sleepy. Single “Boji” is a chilled-out, midtempo tune that sounds like it was crafted in Southern California instead of Nebraska, and the jangly guitars that open “Matters” sound like they were lifted from a Smiths song (though the song heads in a far different direction). If at times it leans toward being too utilitarian or predictable, there are still moments of gorgeous vocals and perfectly summery synths. [Laura M. Browning]

Alan Vega, It

The posthumous new album from punk legend and Suicide frontman Alan Vega was recorded with his wife, Liz Lamere, between 2010 and his death in July 2016. According to Lamere, the new batch of songs was inspired by Vega “religiously consuming global news and taking frequent late-night walks alone throughout the streets of downtown New York.” The first single, “DTM,” carries the ominous, deeply industrial sounds Vega and Lamere were exploring throughout the ’90s and ’00s on albums like Dujang Prang and Station. [Matt Gerardi]


Waxahatchee, Out In The Storm

Katie Crutchfield unites with rock producer John Agnello (The Hold Steady, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth) for her loudest, most personal album yet under the Waxahatchee moniker. Opener “Never Been Wrong” is typical—hook-laden, introspective, and sharp-tongued. Plenty of quieter, more somber moments lurk on Out In The Storm as well, making for what could be one of 2017’s best albums. [Kyle Ryan]


July 21

Childhood, Universal High

This British band makes a pretty sharp turn on album number two: The Stone Roses comparisons no longer make any sense at all, as all traces of gauzy psychedelia seem to have been replaced by sunshine and a hint of soul. There’s a bit of Pharrell-lite on “California Light,” but it’s got a bit more edge than anything on the Despicable Me soundtrack. Not a lot, but a bit. [Josh Modell]


Dan Croll, Emerging Adulthood

On his 2014 debut, Sweet Disarray, Dan Croll offered up an amalgam of au courant indie-pop that preached fealty to Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, but felt more like a computer had crunched Fun, Walk The Moon, and Imagine Dragons—along with various warm and fuzzy insurance ads—in an effort to Weird Science up the next big Spotify star. Croll’s follow-up, Emerging Adulthood, will see him attempt to move beyond those algorithms toward something more his own, led by single “Bad Boy.” It, uh, kind of sounds like Foster The People. [Sean O’Neal]


Foster The People, Sacred Hearts Club

Foster The People, whose masterfully catchy “Pumped Up Kicks” became inescapable in 2011, returns for its third album with a reconfigured line-up (Jacob “Cubbie” Fink has left the band, while touring members Isom Innis and Sean Cimino are now full-time) and an attempt to add some diversity to its dance-pop, with mixed results. Early tracks “Doing It For The Money” and “Pay The Man” run the gamut from banal boy band to some convincing hip-hop energy on the latter, while “SHC” probably bodes best for the group’s future—mostly by relying on its past. It’s built on a winningly angular guitar riff that grounds the song as it hooks the listener, which is just what Foster The People does best. [Gwen Ihnat]


Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life

Years removed from the time when it seemed like her mere existence was controversial, Lana Del Rey is now fully an expert in her wheelhouse of lush, dramatic ballads. Her style remains heavily, unapologetically steeped in nostalgia, as heard in the opening lyrics from lead single “Love”: “Look at you kids with your vintage music / Comin’ through satellites while cruisin’.” Del Rey’s music perpetually feels like it should be accompanying a dreamy movie montage, and Lust For Life promises to add several more blearily romantic scenes. [Esther Zuckerman]


Avey Tare, Eucalyptus

Appropriate for an album that was announced via mysterious jigsaw puzzles sent to random Domino Records customers, we still don’t know much about Eucalyptus, the first solo album from Animal Collective co-founder and co-singer Avey Tare since 2010. Featuring vocals from former Dirty Projectors member Angel Deradoorian, who worked with Tare on his Slasher Flicks project, and orchestration by composer Eyvind Kang, a contributor to Animal Collective’s Feels, Eucalyptus is described as an “electroacoustic-movement through leaves, rocks and dust” that was “conceived on Hawaiian mornings.” So there’s that. [Matt Gerardi]


July 28

Alice Cooper, Paranormal

“Godfather Of Shock Rock” Alice Cooper returns for Paranormal, his 27th studio album, and first since 2011. At the age of 69, Cooper may have become a sober, born-again Christian, but that hasn’t stopped him from mining nightmares for inspiration. Lead single “Paranoiac Personality” explores all of Cooper’s remaining personal demons, while song titles like “Dead Flies,” “Rats,” and “Holy Water” promise that he’s still interested in horrors of a B-movie variety. Famous friends like ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, U2’s Larry Mullen, and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover help out, though the real attraction for longtime fans will be the two new cuts recorded with the original Alice Cooper Band, their first together since the ’70s. [Gwen Ihnat]


Arcade Fire, Everything Now

Now that Arcade Fire is arena-famous, its album releases have become events—this time preceded by a slow drip of cryptic clues to pore over. What we know so far about Everything Now is that it features the producing pair of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp bassist Steve Mackey, and that—judging from what we’ve heard—many of the dance elements of 2013’s Reflektor will carry over. The title track even reprises the disco beats of “Reflektor,” while adding claves, pan flutes, and ABBA piano hooks. “Signs Of Life” brings to mind Talking Heads circa Remain In Light. And “Creature Comfort” (with a producing assist from Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) is all fuzzy grinding synths and propulsive dance-floor rhythms. [Kevin Pang]


The Fall, New Facts Emerge

The world doesn’t really need another Fall album. Even the diehards more or less checked out around 2010’s Your Future Our Clutter (if not far, far earlier)—although those who did have bailed on one of the venerable post-punk band’s longest-running lineups of musicians who have yet to be sacked by Mark E. Smith. They also missed out on the occasional flashes of genius—mixed with the usual amount of Smith mumbling crankily over some uninspired garage rock—that always makes it worth combing through a new release. Expect that balance of brilliance and by-numbers to remain on album No. 32, New Facts Emerge, about which little is known. Other than it has an unfortunately, coincidentally controversial song titled “Victoria Train Station Massacre,” and that it’ll probably sound an awful lot like The Fall—something the world doesn’t need, exactly, but is still pretty fortunate to have around. [Sean O’Neal]


Joywave, Content

Two years after its breakout debut, How Do You Feel Now?, Rochester indie-electro outfit Joywave returns with Content. The four singles shared so far confirm that the five-piece is doubling down on the playful, genre-hopping arrangements of its past, with drum-forward tracks boasting catchy guitar riffs and melodies that seem like heat-seeking missiles for the summer charts. You can probably expect to hear these blaring out of a radio somewhere over the next few months. [Kelsey J. Waite]


Manchester Orchestra, A Black Mile To The Surface

The three years since Manchester Orchestra released its last album, Cope, have been fairly eventful: frontman Andy Hull and guitarist Robert McDowell wrote the soundtrack for Swiss Army Man, the band got back together for an acoustic reimagining of Cope called Hope, and longtime keyboardist Chris Freeman left the group to pursue other projects. Thankfully, the lineup change doesn’t seem to have made too big of an impact, and A Black Mile To The Surface—especially on first single “The Gold”—actually sounds a bit like Manchester Orchestra is going back to its more introspective roots after a few increasingly loud and angry albums. [Sam Barsanti]


Share This Story

Get our newsletter