Flavorpill’s 15 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2011


Summer always demands a fresh and diverse batch of music: pop hits to blast out your window on a beautiful day, dance music for long, sweaty nights of partying, and hazy, psychedelic stuff for hot, idle afternoons. Luckily, the next few months are packed with exciting releases in all three categories, with new records by everyone from Cults to Beyoncé to “Weird Al” Yankovic. Our 15 most anticipated albums of June through August are after the jump. Add yours in the comments.

Battles — Gloss Drop (Warp)

Release date: June 7

Why we’re looking forward to it: Battles’ debut album, Mirrored, was the hazy, hallucinogenic soundtrack to our summer of 2007. Four years later, they’re down frontman Tyondai Braxton, and instead of replacing that dynamic presence, they’ve enlisted everyone from Gary Numan to Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead to Boredoms’ Yamantaka Eye to fill in on vocals. The math-rock psychedelics are still plentiful, but there are also great pop moments, as on debut single “Ice Cream,” with tropical-inflected vocals by Matias Aguayo. If you find the song as delicious as we do, you might want to get your hands on the limited-edition 12”, which comes in three colored-vinyl flavors — vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

Watch: “Ice Cream” [NSFW]

Cults — Cults (Columbia)

Release date: June 7

Why we’re looking forward to it: The crazy-buzzy Brooklyn duo finally gets a chance to live up to their hype — and, after a few listens, we’re confident that they’ve done it. Lovebirds Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin are a sort of next-level Vivian Girls, lacing girl-group harmonies with a ghostly coldness that cuts down on the cutesy factor.

Stream Cults in its entirety at NPR.

Fucked Up — David Comes to Life (Matador)

Release date: June 7

Why we’re looking forward to it: Fucked Up are one of only a few bands that cater to grown-up hardcore fans, and we can’t remember the last time they released anything we didn’t love. Damian Abraham’s super-sized new record — a sort of lovesick rock opera for people who hate love and rock operas — is already earning raves. Spin sums up the general consensus: “It’s one of the most overly complicated hard-rock records of the past ten years. It’s also one of the best.”

Download: “Queen of Hearts”

Love — Black Beauty (High Moon)

Release date: June 7

Why we’re looking forward to it: Well, for starters, it’s been “lost” for nearly four decades. Recorded in 1973, Arthur Lee and Love’s Black Beauty has been making the rounds with bootleggers for years. Now, the R&B- and funk-flavored album will finally see proper release with the promising, new reissue label High Moon.

Preview the tracks here.

Bon Iver — Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)

Release date: June 21

Why we’re looking forward to it: There’s always a good amount of pressure on indie phenoms to avoid the sophomore slump. But Justin Vernon is no Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. After collaborating on Kanye West’s masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he’s got dudes like Rick Ross calling him “a fucking genius.” What we’ve heard of Bon Iver’s self-titled second album is pretty epic: Love it or hate it, this one will be difficult to ignore.

Download: “Calgary”

Lil Wayne — Tha Carter IV (Cash Money)

Release date: June 21

Why we’re looking forward to it: There was a time when Lil Wayne was hip-hop’s greatest hope. The came jail and last year’s embarrassing rock record, Rebirth. Does Weezy still have it? Or should the fact that he keeps pushing back the album’s release worry us? We neither love nor hate the few singles that have been released so far, but we also know never to count Wayne out before we’ve heard the whole album.

Watch: “John” (feat. Rick Ross)

“Weird Al” Yankovic — Alpocalypse (Volcano)

Release date: June 21

Why we’re looking forward to it: First of all, this album nearly didn’t happen. When Lady Gaga’s people nixed his “Born This Way” send-up, “Perform This Way,” he posted it on YouTube with a sad note saying that he had planned to donate all proceeds from the single to the LGBT advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign. But when the news got back to Gaga, she claimed the song had never made it to her and gave her approval on the spot. Now, Alpocalypse is on and promises tracks parodying everyone from Miley Cyrus and B.o.B. to the White Stripes and Queen. We may not get as big of a kick out of Al as we did back in high school, but we won’t pretend he doesn’t still amuse us.

Listen to “Perform This Way”:

Beyoncé – 4

Release date: June 28

Why we’re looking forward to it: From “Crazy in Love” to “Single Ladies,” we can always count on Beyoncé to give us a summer jam. Lead single “(Run the World) Girls” is a harder brand of the pop-feminism we’re used to from B, filled out by exotic percussion and cartoon synths.

Watch: “Run the World (Girls)”

Handsome Furs — Sound Kapital (Sub Pop)

Release date: June 28

Why we’re looking forward to it: Sure, the album cover is a conversation starter. But the real story on husband-and-wife team Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry’s third full-length is the music, a collection of crisp, cool dance anthems inspired by ’80s Eastern Bloc electronic pop.

Download: “Repatriated” and “What About Us”

Marianne Faithfull — Horses and High Heels (Naxos of America)

Release date: June 28

Why we’re looking forward to it: New music from the grand dame of ’60s London and the woman whose 1979 album Broken English is required listening always a calls for celebration. Horses and High Heels (an excellent title) was recorded in New Orleans with a backing band of local musicians and is split roughly evenly between original songs and covers of tunes from Faithfull’s youth, such as the Shangri-Las’ “Past, Present and Future.” Did we mention that Lou Reed, Wayne Kramer, and Dr. John all guest?

Download: “Why Did We Have to Part”

Pure X — Pleasure (Acéphale)

Release date: July 5

Why we’re looking forward to it: When your name is Pure X (dialed down from Pure Ecstasy), your debut album’s called Pleasure, and it’s coming out at the beginning of July, you had better deliver the midsummer bliss in spades. From what we’ve heard so far, we’re confident the Austin band live up to their own hype: sprawling ’60s psychedelia meets touches of early-’90s distortion and strung-out mumbling. This is one for lying and your roof and gazing into the heavens — chemical enhancement optional.

Download: “Twisted Mirror”

YACHT — Shangri-La (DFA)

Release date: July 5

Why we’re looking forward to it: YACHT albums always come with some crazy, quasi-pretentious press release. This one quotes the band’s assertion that “Paradise is kinetic potential, a latency within us that has been eaten alive by time.” Thankfully, we know by now to look beyond the high-flown promises and look forward to Claire L. Evans and Jona Bechtolt’s electronic pop. Yes, this one seems to have an apocalyptic feel. But don’t worry — you can’t still dance to it.

Download: “Dystopia”

Eleanor Friedberger — Last Summer (Merge)

Release date: July 12

Why we’re looking forward to it: Eleanor Friedberger may be Fiery Furnaces’ singer, but it’s her brother Matt who does most of the band’s songwriting (not to mention picking fights with folks like Beck and Radiohead). So we’re excited to see what she comes up with on her first solo album. Debut single “My Mistake” is a catchy rocker, less complicated but more fun that most of the Fiery Furnaces’ recent stuff.

Download: “My Mistake”

They Might Be Giants — Join Us (Concord)

Release date: July 19

Why we’re looking forward to it: Yes, friends, we’ve also listed the new Weird Al record, but here’s another upcoming album that’s earned its nerd bona fides. Three of TMBG’s past four full-lengths have been for children, so we’re relieved to see that Join Us is one for the grown-ups. If “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” is any indication, we’re in for yet another comforting, geek-rock confection.

Download: “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”

The War on Drugs — Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)

Release date: August 16

Why we’re looking forward to it: Fans of Kurt Vile’s excellent new LP Smoke Ring for My Halo who haven’t heard The War on Drugs should acquaint themselves with the Philly band where Vile once played guitar. The layered, classic rock-worshiping vibe is similar (check those keyboards on “Baby Missiles”), but War on Drugs tend to be a bit more upbeat.

Download: “Baby Missiles”