The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in June

Music Lists Most Anticipated
The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in June

With five album-release Fridays, June is a big month for new music. Bully and McKinley Dixon kick things off tomorrow and Lucinda Williams closes the month out with her 15th studio LP. Here are the 10 albums we’re most excited about in this month.

June 2

Bully: Lucky for You
The fourth Bully album finds Alicia Bognanno circling an ocean of grief with a powerhouse of noise rock. Its lead singles—”Lose You (feat. Soccer Mommy),” “Days Move Slow,” “Hard to Love” and “Change Your Mind”—all tap into a cycle of mourning, whether it’s a post-love shame, the fear of losing a loved one or the death of a beloved pet. Bognanno is one of our most-confessional songwriters, fearless in the face of oversharing. Every song is a piece of what the last three years have looked like for her since the release of SUGAREGG, and Lucky For You aims to not come out on the other side of grief with a philosophical or revolutionary answer, and that is the brilliance in Bognanno’s work. —Matt Mitchell

McKinley Dixon: Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!
Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? is about an entire ecosystem crafting its own optimism in the wake of surviving together. The progression is natural, earned and celebratory. But to achieve optimism, you have to first grieve through the cyncism and fatalities that come before it. Five years after the death of his homie Tyler, Dixon is still learning how to cope with that absence in his heart. On the track “Tyler Forever.” he raps: “Propelled forward by vengeance, penchant for taking yo’ pendants / Accountability process is loaded in them extensions / We done fixed on ascending, my boys might break through the roof / Y’all become killers all of a sudden when you find dusty loops.” Dixon’s songs are not figments of the past so much as they are considerations of the present and the future, depictions of how each soul around him continues to get by in the place they came from. He considers how he will continue to hold them and make their voices loud and true and generous under the sun’s, the cops’ and the system’s calamitous weight. It is not the work of a king, but the stenography of someone—born on street corners that bent inwards into gentleness at the first crack of summer sun—who has found enough language to chronicle survival. And who is the architect of a kingdom if not the tongue that dared to name the crown? —Matt Mitchell

More notable June 2 releases: Avenged Sevenfold: Life Is But a Dream…, Beach Fossils: Bunny, Ben Folds: What Matters Most, Ben Harper: WIDE OPEN LIGHT, Buckcherry: Vol. 10, Cowboy Junkies: Such Ferocious Beauty, Gal Pal: This and Other Gestures, Generationals: Heatherhead, Gringo Star: On And On, Jack Johnson: In Between Dub, Jake Shears: Last Man Dancing, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Council Skies, Protomartyr: Formal Growth in the Desert, RVG: Brain Worms, Sophie Ellis-Bextor: HANA, Tanya Tucker: Sweet Western Sound, The Aces: I’ve Loved You for So Long, The Alarm: Forwards, Tommy Stinson: Wronger

June 9

Jason Isbell: Weathervanes
Jason Isbell is back with a new album, Weathervanes, his sixth with his Muscle Shoals band the 400 Unit—Sadler Vaden, Jimbo Hart, Derry deBorja and Chad Gamble—and his ninth overall since leaving the Drive-By Truckers. The band released the first single “Death Wish” from the new album, written and produced by Isbell, back in February. “Did you ever love a woman with a death wish / Something in her eyes like switching off a light switch,” he sings to open the driving Southern rock song with beautiful strings by Morgan O’Shaughnessey. “Everybody dies but you gotta find a reason to carry on.” The song flips the script on Isbell’s own experience reaching rock bottom with alcohol and drugs in 2012 and finding support and intervention from those who loved him. The song addresses depression from the standpoint of a person who loves someone that’s struggling. “I don’t want to fight with you baby,” he sings, “but I won’t leave you alone.” Written and produced by Isbell and recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio, the album features Isbell’s wife Amanda Shires, harmonicist Mickey Raphael, Sylvia Massy, Ian Rickard and O’Shaughnessey. —Josh Jackson

Jenny Lewis: Joy’All
Beloved singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis has already released a few singles ahead of her forthcoming album, Joy’All. “Giddy Up” follows the irresistible, country-disco-toned, career benchmark “Psychos,” which landed on our Best Songs of March list and remains one of the best tracks of the year so far. In no surprising turn, Lewis reinvents herself again on “Giddy Up,” which, despite its title, is not the anthemic honky tonk tune you might be expecting. Instead, she takes a more composed approach, plugging a story of fleeting romantic energy into an airy, falsetto-driven arrangement with one of the tastiest bass lines of the year so far. “Take a chance on a little romance / We’re both adults / Take a chance / The stake is high, the whistle blows,” Lewis sings. —Matt Mitchell

Rufus Wainwright: Folkocracy
Rufus Wainwright kicks off his tour tomorrow with a one-night only gig at L.A.s Walt Disney Concert Hall, celebrating—with some very special guests—his adventurous new album, released the same day, the vintage folk-fueled covers set Folkocracy. And the title suggests the underlying truth—that the man is, in fact, folk royalty, as in the son of Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigle, and brother to Martha Wainwright and stepbrother to Lucy Wainwright Roche, as s well. And over the years, he’s amassed so many talented friends that the 15-track Folkocracy boasts a stellar cameo on almost every number, including John Legend (“Heading For Home”), Brandi Carlile (“Down in the Willow Garden”), David Byrne (“High on a Rocky Ledge”), Nicole Scherzinger (the Hawaiian ballad “Kaulan Na Pua”), and the late Van Dyke Parks (“Black Gold”). Not that he needed them. As his haunting, acrobatic solo vocal on the traditional “Shenandoah” makes clear, Wainwright can sing the hell out of this rustic songbook all by himself, sans guest stars. All he needed was keen-eared producer Mitchell Froom in the studio to capture all the magic. —Tom Lanham

Squid: O Monolith
Trying to squeeze Squid into a single genre box is an impossibility. Like so many artists of late, the U.K. quartet pull from a wide-ranging school of influences, absorbing each into a wild groupthink that drove their debut album Bright Green Field into some deep, deep creative waters. Somehow, they have found new depths for their forthcoming LP O Monolith. The material, much of it developed during freeform socially distanced pandemic-era performances and then honed in Peter Gabriel’s vaunted Real World Studios, spits and stings like hot oil with details of post-rock, psych-folk, broken beat jazz and contemporary classical bob to the surface with a nasty, but inviting sizzle. —Robert Ham

More notable June 9 releases: Andy Stack and Jay Hammond: Inter Personal, Christine and the Queens: Paranoïa, Angels, True Love, Decisive Pink: Ticket to Fame, Dream Wife: Social Lubrication, feeble little horse: Girl with Fish, King Krule: Space Heavy, Laura Cantrell: Just Like a Rose: The Anniversary Sessions, Nicolas Allbrook: Manganese, Philip Phillips: Drift Back, The Boo Radleys: Eight, The Dead Milkmen: Quaker City Quiet Pills, The High Water Marks: Your Next Wolf, This Is the Kit: Careful of Your Keepers, Youth Lagoon: Heaven Is a Junkyard

June 16

Killer Mike: Michael
With much of Killer Mike’s focus being given over to his work in Run The Jewels and his extracurricular activities on TV and on the campaign trail, it didn’t seem like he would have the time nor energy to think about another solo album. That only makes the news of Michael, the rapper’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2012 breakthrough R.A.P. Music, more exciting to contemplate. The four tracks Mike has released from this fresh full-length finds the Atlanta native at his most thoughtful, using a backdrop of Southern soul and gospel to feed his contemplative and furious lyrics. —Robert Ham

More notable June 16 releases: Ben Howard: Is It?, Bonny Doon: Let There Be Music, Deertick: Emotional Contracts, Django Django: Off Planet, Ezra Williams: Supernumeraries, Far From Saints: Far From Saints, Gov’t Mule: Peace…Like A River, Hand Habits: Sugar the Bruise, Home is Where: the whaler, Jack River: Endless Summer, Michelle Ndegeocello: The Omnichord Real Book, Queens of the Stone Age: In Times New Roman, Son Volt: Day of the Doug, Tim O’Brien: Cup of Sugar, Yusef (Cat Stevens): King of a Land

June 23

Cory Hanson: Western Cum
Hanson builds a language out of a vivid, gonzo journalist approach to beatnik storytelling on Western Cum. A song like “Ghost Ship” executes its epic, quasi-ballad mythicality through an oozing, chaotic mid-century shredding from Hanson and his band. The album is rife with guitars wafting through the air like heavy, sexy controlled burns. “Horsebait Sabotage” is a gargantuan, literary beast channeling delicious earworm descriptors and hair-raising imagery. “Soldiers trained to read by ear / The sound of scribble by the pen / Deep sea radar westerns / Submarines the size of sardines,” Hanson sings. The arrangements throughout Western Cum are cracked, as he blisters through an enormously smooth vibrato of riffs. If Steely Dan had come from the swamp, you’d have Cory Hanson, the intoxicating, absurd and enthralling spokesman of deliriously exciting rock ’n’ roll. —Matt Mitchell

Geese: 3D Country
The sophomore album from Brooklyn rock outfit Geese is a cauldron of ambitious and beautiful chaos. Conjuring relics of everything from the Stones to Squid, the quintet are undeniable in their magnitude. From the slick, sexy riffs of “Cowboy Nudes” dusting vocalist Cameron Winter’s impeccable, coiling howl to the heavy, pre-Y2k phrasing blisters of “Mysterious Love,” Geese are unstoppable, untoppable and, frankly, pure magic to witness. 3D Country is almost impossible to describe and Geese are even more impossible to pin down. But that’s what makes them and this album so rewarding: The world bends to them; not the other way around. There are many rock records on the docket this summer and beyond, but our eyes can’t help but gravitate immediately to 3D Country. —Matt Mitchell

More notable June 23 releases: Albert Hammond Jr: Melodies on Hiatus, Eliza Gilkyson: Home, Jason Mraz: Mystical Magical Rhythmical Radical Ride, Lloyd Cole: On Pain, M. Ward: supernatural thing, Maisie Peters: The Good Witch, Militarie Gun: Life Under the Gun, Pardoner: Peace Loving People, Skating Polly: Chaos County Line, Sid Simons: Beneath the Brightest Smiles, SWANS: The Beggar, The Watson Twins: Holler, The Wedding Present: 24 Songs, Wye Oak: Every Day Like the Last

June 30

Lucinda Williams: Stories From A Rock n Roll Heart
Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart is the first album from revered Americana singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams since her 20202 stroke, which has affected her ability to play her primary songwriting tool, her guitar. It’s also her first since the release of her memoir Don’t Tell Anybody The Secrets I Told You. She produced the album alongside Tom Overby and Ray Kennedy, and it features a bevy of guest backing vocalists: Jeremy Ivey, Jesse Malin, Buddy Miller, Angel Olsen, Margo Price, Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen and Tommy Stinson. After the first single with Springteen and Scialfa “New York Comeback,” the album’s second single “Where the Song Will Find Me” features a string arrangement from Lawrence Rothman and celebrates Williams’ drive to keep making beautiful music. —Josh Jackson

More notable June 30 releases: bdrmm: I Don’t Know, Hayden Pedigo: The Happiest Times I Ever Ignored, Joanna Sternberg: I’ve Got Me, Lucinda Williams: Stories From A Rock n Roll Heart, Sweeping Promises: God Living is Coming For You

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