June is peak festival season, which means many of the heavy hitters have already dropped the LPs behind which they’ll spend the summer touring. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of gems still to come this month, and we’ve collected the ten about which we’re most excited.
We’re anticipating breakout moments for bands just on the brink (Diarrhea Planet, Mitski), late-stage efforts from ’90s veterans (Garbage, DJ Shadow), summer-friendly dancefloor jams (Classixx, Dan Lissvik), and even the good ol’ clang of some punk guitar. But first, a band whose name feels especially relevant in 2016…
Fear of Men — Fall Forever (June 3, Kanine)
Fear of Men’s mix of soft vocals, synths that sound like strings, and rapid-fire marching snare makes for interesting fare; smooth but brittle, it’s smooth enough to relax to, but try falling asleep and you’ll be jolted awake by the crack of a snare drum. Rarely in the states, the Brighton, UK, band is gearing up for a US tour in support of Fall Forever, their sophomore LP, which is out now on Kanine.
Classixx — Faraway Reach (June 3, Innovative Leisure)
Lots of dance acts can make people move on the floor; the toughest part is usually doing it while still sounding and feeling human. Synthesizers can feel cold, and robotic beats empty — which is why Classixx’ dancefloor bangers sound so different. Bright chords and syncopated bass lines, like those found here on “I Feel Numb,” bring an organic warmth to their songs, and their high-powered featured vocalists (T-Pain, Passion Pit, Alex Frankel, How To Dress Well) don’t hurt, either.
Dan Lissvik — Midnight (June 10, Smalltown Supersound)
Sweden’s Dan Lissvik takes a different approach to dance music, eschewing guest vocalists to create more vibes than songs. He’s got a couple of singles under his belt, and Midnight is his debut solo LP, his first since his group Studio dissolved in 2012. Each track is named for a letter in the word “midnight,” a reference to the only time of day he could find to record, a result of his newfound fatherhood. Dancey but minimalist, Midnight is packed full of tunes that would sound most at home on a white leather couch in a chic lounge in Gothenburg.
Diarrhea Planet — Turn To Gold (June 10, Infinity Cat)
Diarrhea Planet is set to explode. [That’s … quite an image – Ed.] Seriously. After a two-year run in support of their LP I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, the Nashville sextet hit the studio with Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell to record Turn to Gold, hoping to finally bring their stadium-sized sound to life on record. The night before their record drops, they’ll pull double duty in New York City—first bringing their four guitars to Late Night with Seth Meyers, then headlining their record release show at Brooklyn Bowl as part of the Northside Festival. Don’t sleep.
Garbage — Strange Little Birds (June 10, STUNVOLUME)
The second independent album from the ’90s rock stalwarts, Strange Little Birds is a reference to the cute name the band gave their letter-writing fanbase. For a gang of aging rockers, they look and sound great; they haven’t necessarily evolved, but that will be great news for the Strange Little Birds, who probably don’t want what isn’t broken to be fixed.
Yung — A Youthful Dream (June 10, Fat Possum)
We’re pretty partial to most things musical coming out of Denmark these days, and Yung is no exception. It’s essentially the project of Mikkel Holm Silkjær, a Danish DIY dude who’s been behind a drum kit since age four, thanks to his musically inclined father. And while any punk band can throw down some barre chords and do their best Paul Westerberg impersonation, Yung stands out for the moments of sweetness amidst the hard edges of distorted guitars.
DJ Shadow — The Mountain Will Fall (June 24, Mass Appeal)
Our favorite part about DJ Shadow being signed to Nas’ Mass Appeal records is the thought of Nas rocking to a DJ Shadow beat, writing space opera rhymes to go with his new taste for atmospherics. If you’re lookin for …Endtroducing Pt. II, look elsewhere; the few tracks he’s released, including the Run The Jewels collaboration, definitely have a different sonic texture. But dude can still make beats that knock, along with the stuff like this title track, likely best paired with psychedelics.
Mitski – Puberty 2 (June 17, Dead Oceans)
That Mitski is a woman with something to say has been clear for some time; at the very least, since her debut LP Bury Me at Makeout Creek. But while in the past, her arrangements have skewed towards the minimal, here on Puberty 2, she’s flexing her songwriting chops, exploring more complex sounds and arrangements to great effect. But her lyrics are as sharp and biting as ever, and while she’s happy to let you theorize just what she might mean, she’s also happy to tell you that you’re wrong.
Deerhoof — The Magic (June 24, Polyvinyl)
Deerhoof is fucking weird. We won’t pretend to “get it,” but we certainly love them; just when you think you know where they’re going, they’ll throw you for a loop. Early single “Plastic Thrills” is a great example — a straightforward rocker with a “woo-woo” chorus, it’s literally the last thing we’d expect from them. Catch them on tour this summer to hear some deep cuts, and maybe some new joints from their latest for Polyvinyl, The Magic.
Rae Sremmurd — Sremmlife 2 (June 24, Interscope)
From the jump, baby rap bros Rae Sremmurd hit the ground running with viral hits “No Flex Zone” and “No Type,” seemingly determined to shake off the One Hit Wonder label. Layering distinctively high-pitched voices onto bass-heavy trap beats to create a uniquely infectious sound. Most recently, they flexed their performance skills — with the energy of an emerging punk band — opening for Beyoncé on the Chicago stop of her Formation tour. Their sophomore album, SremmLife 2, is dropping just in time to make it on to your ‘Summer Sixteen Bangers’ playlist. The first single, “By Chance” is a perfect cocktail of 808s and hypnotic vocal melodies — perfect for the strip club, or smoking a J. —Sesali Bowen, Staff Writer