Today’s haul of new releases features polished punk courtesy of Bleached, dark synthwave by way of Drab Majesty, a new pop behemoth from Ed Sheeran and 20 of his closest friends and a dub rework of Khruangbin’s 2018 album Con Todo El Mundo. We’ve also finally got our hands on the surprise new mixtape from Blood Orange, which Dev Hynes just announced on Monday. Here are all the best albums out on July 12.
1. Bleached: Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?
Bleached made their mark back in 2013 with their debut Ride Your Heart, a lo-fi rock record filled with distinctly Californian ‘60s surf-pop harmonies. Their sound grew noticeably darker on Welcome to the Worms in 2016, with a noisiness and insistence harkening back to their days in garage rock band Mika Miko. Now, though, the grit and grime has been wiped off in favor of a style that, while still giving off the same dangerous edge, often has the glittering sheen of some femme fatale’s soundtrack rather than the rough-hewn punk attitude Bleached embodied before. —Clare Martin
2. Blood Orange: Angel’s Pulse
Blood Orange, aka Dev Hynes, surprised fans Monday with the news he’d be releasing a mixtape this week. Angel’s Pulse is out now, and it’s the musician’s first new music since last year’s Negro Swan. As on that album, here Hynes collaborates with a number of familiar faces. The Angel’s Pulse tracklist features Toro y Moi, Kelsey Lu, Porches, Tinashe and more. —Ellen Johnson
3. Drab Majesty: Modern Mirror
On their third album Modern Mirror, Los Angeles synth-pop duo Drab Majesty sound more majestic than ever. Their futuristic vocals, entrancing rhythms, bittersweet sentiments and lush guitars emit forces of woe and uplift that never feel contradictory. The record was inspired by the group’s trip to Greece, and they take influence from the ancient myth “Echo and Narcissus,” taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. They explore the story of the dangerously ego-driven Narcissus who falls in love with his own reflection, but it’s retold through the lens of postmodern triggers for self-obsession like technological proliferation and lack of quiet self-reflection. Drab Majesty’s lustrous synth escapades and intergalactic bleeps are just as slick as their commentary on modern day romance and personal conundrums. —Lizzie Manno
4. Ed Sheeran: No. 6 Collaborations Project
The new “Old Town Road” featuring Mason Ramsey and Young Thug isn’t the only notable collaboration out today. Ed Sheeran has also returned with his first new album since 2017’s ÷, and this new project features every famous singer you’ve ever heard of. Khalid, Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Travis Scott, Chris Stapleton, Bruno Mars and even the aforementioned Young Thug appear alongside Mr. Sheeran for this sprawling collection of duets and collab tracks. —Ellen Johnson
5. Frightened Rabbit: Tiny Changes: A Celebration of The Midnight Organ Fight
Instead of releasing a box set reissue with demos and rarities of his indie classic The Midnight Organ Fight, Scott Hutchison decided to ask some of his musician friends, tour openers and contemporaries to cover the songs for the record’s 10th anniversary celebration. Hutchison tragically took his own life just over a year ago when the tribute album was still being finished, so Tiny Changes: A Celebration of The Midnight Organ Fight’s takes on an even stronger meaning. Featuring artists like Julien Baker, Craig Finn, Daughter, Lauren Mayberry, The National’s Aaron Dessner, Manchester Orchestra, Sarah Silverman(!), Ben Gibbard, The Twilight Sad and many more, it may not be nearly as cohesive as the original, but it has just as much heart, a fitting tribute for one of the best lyricists of his generation. —Steven Edelstone
6. Joanna Sternberg: Then I Try Some More
New York City-based Joanna Sternberg is an artist who doesn’t make art—at least not by their standards. The 28-year-old musician, singer/songwriter and visual artist is clearly adept in several forms of what we’d call “art”—they draw comics, play piano and guitar, and have a double bass degree from The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music—but, according to the liner notes from their new album Then I Try Some More, “They also do not like using the word music to describe music, or the word art to describe art.” In an age when music genres often seem impossible to define and art can mean so many different things, it’s a fair stance to take. But whatever you want to call it, Sternberg is sharing a new slice of creativity today in the form of Then I Try Some More, full of whimsical, barebones arrangements with the same childlike attitude of folk artists like Joanna Newsom. —Ellen Johnson
7. Khruangbin: Hasta El Cielo
Khruangbin, the astral-psych rockers from Texas, are releasing Hasta El Cielo, a dub-oriented reworking of their second album Con Todo El Mundo. Lead single “Mary Always” takes the groove from “Maria Tambien” and spaces it out even further than it already was. In a statement, the band expand on the thought process behind Hasta El Cielo: “For us, Dub has always felt like a prayer. Spacious, meditative, able to transport the listener to another realm.” The group collaborated with legendary dub producer Scientist for the reworks, which include two bonus dubs by him. —Harry Todd
8. New Order: ?(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) New Order + Liam Gillick: So it goes..
If you’re looking for a New Order live album chock full of their greatest hits, go pick up Live at the London Troxy or Live at Bestival 2012. If you’re looking for a New Order live album with a more unconventional setlist, a broader artistic vision and a 12-piece synthesizer orchestra, check out this new one, the arty-mathy, horrendously titled ?(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) New Order + Liam Gillick: So it goes.. —Lizzie Manno
9. Palace: Life After
Chances are you’ve forgotten about Palace, the London rock trio whose 2016 debut LP So Long Forever landed not with a thud, but floated quietly across the Atlantic in a cloud of potential streams. Thanks to singles like “Live Well” and “Bitter,” the band have more than 400,000 monthly Spotify listeners—yet, they’d never be the first “British rock band” you’d name if prompted at a party. Unlike so many of the biggest English exports, they’re not punk. They’re something quieter and broodier, and their latest singles even seem to recall their poppier, acoustic beginnings, not too far off from Hozier’s roots-rock debut. It’s been a mysteriously silent few years for the band, but it sounds like our patience may have paid off. —Ellen Johnson
10. Purple Mountains: Purple Mountains
David Berman is back—despite his best efforts, it seems. For 15 years bookending the turn of the 21st century, Berman was not only the primary creative force behind indie-folk faves Silver Jews, he was considered by many to be the poet laureate of the underground. On his new album—self-titled and released under the name Purple Mountains—Berman doesn’t sound like a different person than the one that walked away a decade ago. He sounds like himself, an endlessly thoughtful and unnervingly honest master arranger of words. He is still an adequate singer, limited by his flat and shaky voice, but he sounds rejuvenated, perhaps buoyed by his new backing band, the Brooklyn psych-folk group Woods. —Ben Salmon