There’s a lot of great music coming out this summer, and a few of the best albums will be from brand new artists. Here are five debuts you should be looking forward to.
1. Cults – Cults
Paste Best Of What’s Next duo Brian Oblivion (guitar, keys) and Madeline Follin (bass, drums, vocals) never really planned on making a living playing music, but after releasing their first single “Go Outside” last spring, they converted so many fans that Columbia Records is releasing their debut.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – It’s a Corporate World
The Detroit duo of Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott put out one of last year’s best EPs and got our 2011 Paste SXSW kicked off right. “Their debut includes all three of the EP’s original tracks, including ‘Vocal Chords,’ one of last summer’s defining songs, a heady brew of vocals that beam like high-noon sun during their choral peaks, the marching thump of a drum machine and plenty of dancing digital distractions. Overall, it’s an album full of songs Lloyd Dobler could have played during his window-call, boom-box confession of love. If he had, there’s a good chance that movie might have had a happy ending.”—Jeff Gonick
3. Givers – In Light
A 2009 Paste Best of What’s Next band, this five-piece from Lafayette, La., won us over with the joyful song “Up Up Up,” which they played at the Paste 2010 SXSW party, and the debut album is finally on its way. “Givers’ drove of multi-instrumentalists make delightfully breezy, lucid-dream pop, Will Henderson’s keyboard whirling away while Josh LeBlanc’s Dixieland horns rough up Kirby Campbell’s steady Afro-pop drums. Standout EP track “Ceiling of Plankton” recalls the oddball sugar of The Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips and proves the young band knows how to experiment without abandoning danceable melodies or life-affirming lyrics.”—Jeff Roedel
4. Jill Andrews – The Mirror
We were huge fans of Andrews’ band The Everybodyfields, and the Knoxville, Tenn., songwriter is back with a lovely solo debut. The former mental-health worker recorded with in North Carolina with Scott Solter and Nashville with Neilson Hubbard after raising money from her fans on Kickstarter. She’ll be touring with SoCal country-rock crooner JD Souther across the U.S. throughout June.
5. The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy
This Australian band stole the show at Paste’s SXSW party in 2010 with songs from its first EP Recordings of the Middle East before heading off to tour with Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling and playing Coachella, Bonnaroo and Glastonbury. Though they formed in 2005, the seven-member group has spent a long time honing their sound for this album and frontman Rohin Jones still says, “I know we can do better.”