10 Albums You Need to Hear in June

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Summer is here, and June is shaping up as a bumper month for album releases. As ever, we’ve pored over release schedules and reviewed our own personal wish list and come up with a list of the ten records we reckon will be worth hearing (and hopefully worth repeated listening) over the coming weeks. They include everything from cerebral 4AD-approved hip hop to the return of Patti Smith, along with something that we’d really, really like for our birthday. What’s on your shopping list this month? Let us know in the comments.

Liars — WIXIW (June 5)

This record, which finds Liars working with Mute’s Daniel Miller and embracing the synthesizer with gusto, is pretty much the best thing we’ve heard all year. It’s streaming at the moment, so we won’t say too much more about it, save to suggest that you a) listen and b) purchase. (We also suggest you read this excellent review from our friends at The Quietus.)

Laurel Halo — Quarantine (June 5)

Also next week: the arrival of Laurel Halo’s debut album, released via one of our favorite imprints, UK-based Hyperdub. Some of the lyrics are a bit dicey (“You’re mad ‘cos I will not leave you aloooooooone”), but the sound is top-notch — the album’s streaming on Soundcloud as we speak, so you can have a listen yourself by clicking here.

Patti Smith — Banga (June 5)

No such early streaming love for Patti Smith’s new album, sadly, so all we really have to go on at this point is lead single “April Fool,” which features Tom Verlaine on guitar, and which we’ve embedded above for your listening convenience. Apart from this, the album apparently features a track for Amy Winehouse (“This Is the Girl”) and, less appealingly, a birthday song written for Johnny Depp (“Nine”).

SpaceGhostPurrp — Mysterious Fonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp (June 12)

The fact that Florida rapper SpaceGhostPurrp holds the distinction of being the first hip hop artist signed to legendary UK label 4AD means that he’s immediately ahead of the game as far as generating interest in his debut album goes. Happily, the label’s A&R staff appear to be just a good at judging hip hop talent as they are at everything else — what we’ve heard of this record so far has been excellent, and we’re looking forward to grabbing the whole thing.

Future of the Left — The Plot Against Common Sense (June 12)

Yay for the return of the most gloriously acerbic man in music, Andy Falkous, and his band. We’ve managed to score a promo copy and thus had a chance to digest the album properly, and we’re happy to report that no matter what certain outlets would have you believe, it’s a fine piece of work. Also, it gives us an excuse to post this link again…

The Tallest Man on Earth — There’s No Leaving Now (June 12)

We mentioned a while back that there must be something in the water in Sweden, perhaps some sort of hitherto-unknown chemical compound that predisposes citizens toward winsome indie balladry. Whatever the reason, a heap of excellent melancholy songwriters have emerged from the country over the last couple of decades, and Kristian Matsson — aka The Tallest Man of Earth — is definitely one of them. This is his third studio album, and it’s out locally via Dead Oceans.

Can — The Lost Tapes (June 19)

Dear reader, it was this particular Flavorpill writer’s birthday last week. If you’d all like to pitch in for a birthday present, this amazing-looking set of Can rarities/demos/unreleased tracks/etc would be just the ticket. Many thanks.

Peaking Lights — Lucifer (June 19)

If you’ve been enjoying Peaking Lights’ mixtapes, then you’re probably looking forward to this album as much as we are. If not, then hit that link and get listening!

A Place to Bury Strangers — Worship (June 26)

ATPBS’s albums have never really been able to approximate the experience of seeing their shows, mainly because — short of placing your head inside a jet engine — any such approximation is basically impossible. But still, the records have a charm of their own, and there’s a distinct minimal wave-y influence to be heard on “You Are the One,” the lead single from this record. If this is a signal of where the band’s headed, we’re definitely interested in hearing the results.

The Flaming Lips — The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends (June 26)

A belated “real” CD release for The Flaming Lips’ Record Store day guest star extravaganza. If you really, really wanted to own the Flaming Lips/Ke$ha collaboration, and you missed out on the $2500 “blood vinyl” version, well, here’s your chance.

Also out this month:

Crocodiles — Endless Flowers (June 5) Yay for San Francisco psychedelia.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse — Americana (June 5) In which Young and band embark on a rambling journey through the history of American music.

The Melvins — Freak Puke (June 5) Apparently contains a studio version of their cover of Wings’s “Let Me Roll It” (above). The mind well and truly boggles.

Friends — Manifest! (June 5) Don’t! Believe! The! Hype!

The Beach Boys — That’s Why God Made the Radio (June 5) File under: “Albums We Really Want to Believe Will Be Good But Have a Sinking Feeling About Nonetheless.”

Bobby Womack — The Bravest Man in the Universe (June 12) Something of a career resurrection, helmed by Richard Russell (who did something similar for the late, great Gil Scott-Heron) and Damon Albarn. We are intrigued.

Metric — Synthetica (June 12) Among other things, this contains a collaboration with avuncular old perpetual source of good cheer Lou Reed.

Fiona Apple — The Idler Wheel is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (June 19) Yes, the title is exhausting, but the songs we’ve heard so far are promising.

Neneh Cherry and The Thing — The Cherry Thing (June 19) If the whole thing is as good as this killer Suicide cover, it’ll be very good indeed.

Joe Jackson — The Duke (June 26) A tribute album to Duke Ellington from one of the ’80s most underrated songwriters.