The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in June

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

This year has been and continues to be painful for so many reasons, but music still plays, and people still dance. In June, we’re looking forward to new records by rock groups like Hinds, HAIM and Ohmme, as well as a new folk record from one of the genre’s finest and a punk record from one of the most powerful frontwomen around. Get ready for a great month of music, and don’t forget to keep protesting, donating and speaking out about the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.

June 5

Hinds: The Prettiest Curse
Mom + Pop

There should be a law requiring Hinds to release all of their future albums during the summer season in perpetuity. Grant that their latest, The Prettiest Curse, drops this week out of a sober respect for the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a reschedule from its original April 3 date. Also grant that the tone baked into every Hinds record, from 2016’s Leave Me Alone to 2018’s I Don’t Run, pairs perfectly with warm, sunny days spent driving on beachside highways with the windows rolled down, even when they’re singing about loneliness, breakups and the neverending quest for hugs and cuddles. Hinds’ usual fuzzed-up rock aesthetic bridges the gap between The Prettiest Curse and I Don’t Run nicely. The latter plays strictly in the mode of garage rock. The former reads mostly the same, but occasionally brightened with layers of pop. Effervescence is a key ingredient in all their music, but The Prettiest Curse’s bubbliness is more pronounced, the froth that shapes the band’s rising to the surface in a slightly broader coating. It’s not unusual for musicians to try updating their sound with outside influences and unexpected genres, but too often the experiment falls apart; the unfamiliar elements clang against the details that give the group character, like eating chocolate cake baked with carob. Not so with The Prettiest Curse. Hinds—Carlotta Cosials, Ana Perrote, Amber Grimbergen, and Ade Martin—have a strong grip on their musical identity, and they’re not keen on a makeover. —Andy Crump

Ohmme: Fantasize Your Ghost
Joyful Noise Recordings

Sima Cunnningham and Macie Stewart of Ohmme make average rock bands sound unimaginative and unremarkable—while most bands are happy just rolling a hoop with a stick, Ohmme are reinventing said hoops, but they have far too much humility to ever point out that discrepancy. The band’s new album Fantasize Your Ghost follows 2018’s Parts, and it shows off the Chicago duo’s strengths: writing fascinatingly experimental songs with surprising accessibility and braiding their voices to a staggering effect. Both musicians are classically trained, and their live shows prominently feature their raucous violin and guitar slinging as well as their unique artistic vision. Their forthcoming album opens with the wonderfully puzzling riff of “Flood Your Gut,” followed by the seraphic vocal harmonies and guitar bleed of “Selling Candy,” and right away, you know you’re on a sonically and artistically fruitful path. Another highlight is “3 2 4 3,” where colossal strings meet their astounding vocal might and subtle yet effective guitar lines. —Lizzie Manno

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Sideways to New Italy
Sub Pop

Then on the heels of two stellar EPs, Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever first appeared on our radar at SXSW 2017. The marvelous quintet piled on guitars unapologetically in each of their breezy pop songs with life on the world’s roads and skies laid ahead for them. Their excellent 2018 debut LP, Hope Downs, solidified their status as a touring powerhouse, but the grind eventually made the band turn inward when writing Sideways to New Italy. “We saw a lot of the world, which was such a privilege, but it was kind of like looking through the window at other people’s lives, and then also reflecting on our own,” says singer/guitarist Fran Keaney. “She’s There” opens almost unconsciously with a nasty guitar hook that threads into a song about longing and pondering someone’s absence who might be thousands of miles away. “Falling Thunder” is a more traditional pop groove that’s still heavily stacked with guitars and asks “Is it any wonder? We’re on the outside / Falling like thunder, from the sky.” And while RBCF is shifting to make sense of their place in the world, they’re still very much committed to doing so while absolutely shredding. —Adrian Spinelli

Sarah Jarosz: World On The Ground

Folk singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz recently announced that her new album World On The Ground will arrive on June 5 via Rounder Records. Lead single “Johnny” landed on our best folk songs of the year (so far) list ahead of the next single “Orange and Blue.” Co-written with producer John Leventhal, “Orange and Blue” is a balance of longing to flee one’s small hometown and wanting to stay fully nestled in the comforts of home. Delivered over slow-tempo piano, Jarosz sings, “I think I found it now / And nothing else will do / a heart that burns to true / burning orange and blue.” Per a press release, the song was written in homage to her childhood home in Wimberley, Texas. World On The Ground is Jarosz’s fourth solo album, following 2016’s Undercurrent. In 2018, she, along with fellow roots musicians Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan, released the album See You Around as the supergroup I’m With Her. —Ellen Johnson

More notable June 5 releases: Muzz: Muzz, Run The Jewels: RTJ4 (released early), Amnesia Scanner: TEARLESS, KALEO: Surface Sounds, Mt. Joy: Rearrange Us, Sondre Lerche: Patience

June 12

Jehnny Beth: To Love Is To Live
Domino Records

The debut album from Jehnny Beth is unlike anything we’ve heard from her previous band, the British-based post-punk powerhouse Savages. To Love Is To Live is her most vulnerable work as a musician thus far, as well as a mystifying genre-hopping affair. Produced by Flood, Atticus Ross and frequent collaborator Johnny Hostile, the album features dramatic textures and spans self-reflective piano ballads, sultry electro-pop numbers and industrial rock stompers. It also includes songwriting contributions from The xx’s Romy Madley Croft, a spoken-word passage read by actor Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders (“A Place Above”) and a vigorous verse from IDLES’ Joe Talbot on the glitchy, dark pop tune “How Could You.” Beth reaches into the deepest corners of her being as she ponders desire, intimacy, power structures and self-doubt, and she delves into each topic with graceful poetry and stark imagery. —Lizzie Manno

More notable June 12 releases: Norah Jones: Pick Me Up Off The Floor, The Aces: Under My Influence, Orville Peck: Show Pony EP

June 19

Gum Country: Somewhere
Kingfisher Bluez

Gum Country, the new project from vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Courtney Garvin (The Courtneys) and multi-instrumentalist Connor Mayer, embodies everything you love about your favorite indie bands. There’s a playfulness in singing good-natured songs about tennis and gardening while unloading colorful synth and guitar riffs, but make no mistake, Gum Country are also undeniably cool—their full-throttle guitar fuzz and Garvin’s off-the-cuff delivery are the epitome of cool, and they might even prompt devotional urges to cut up music magazines and plaster their pictures on your wall. They describe their music as “harsh twee,” and it’s a pretty fitting descriptor—think ’90s noise rock crossed with classic indie-pop and several subgenres in between. Their debut album, Somewhere, is a zany cloud of smoldering indie rock, and twirling in its dreamy vapor is highly encouraged. —Lizzie Manno

Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher
Dead Oceans

Phoebe Bridgers’ highly anticipated sophomore album Punisher is set to be released this month ahead of singles “Garden Song,” “I See You” and “Kyoto,” which arrived complete with a green screen music video featuring Bridgers soaring over the Japanese city’s skyline. Originally set to be filmed in Japan earlier this year, the global pandemic halted those production plans. But Bridgers opted to cheekily use a green screen in order to create a magical realism-esque video, donning a skeleton-print onesie, gliding on electric train tracks and flying over the ocean. “This song is about impostor syndrome,” Bridgers says. “About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.” Punisher is the second album from Phoebe Bridgers, but she’s been more than busy since the release of her 2017 debut Stranger in the Alps. She recorded an EP as boygenius with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker back in 2018, and released a 2019 album with Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst as Better Oblivion Community Center. —Natalia Keogan

More notable June 19 releases: The National Parks: Wildflower, Neil Young: Homegrown, Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways, Maya Hawke: Blush, Sports Team: Deep Down Happy,Wire: 10:20

June 26

Bad Moves: Untenable
Don Giovanni

Back in 2018, D.C. rockers Bad Moves, who’ve been at it since 2015, appeared on our list of the best Washington D.C. bands of the moment. Two years later, their placement on such a list remains more than worthy. They released their punchy debut album Tell No One that year on Don Giovanni, which alerted us to their appearance at 2019’s SXSW. Tell No One thrived on shreddy power-pop, and it appears there’ll be plenty more where that came from on Untenable. Bad Moves make music about begrudgingly growing up and then finally treating adulthood like a party. Their punk music may be a protest of boredom itself. —Ellen Johnson

HAIM: Women In Music Pt. III

Like so many other artists who had plans to release music in 2020, HAIM pushed back the planned release date for their new album Women In Music Pt. III from April 24 to June 26, due to coronavirus concerns. While fans may not be thrilled with the delay, the extra time has allowed the band to share a few extra singles, including “I Know Alone,” whose music video included a now fan-favorite sequence of choreography (The band even offered dance lessons on their Instagram!), and the funky “Don’t Wanna.” While their most recent album, 2017’s Something to Tell You, felt something like a foggier, toned-down version of the righteous, atmospheric pop-rock of their critically acclaimed 2013 debut Days Are Gone, these new singles (plus others released in the last year, including the Lou Reed-inspired “Summer Girl” and folksy “Hallelujah”) signal a new era of Haim excellence. With a larger fan base than ever before and a greater sense of their own sonic sensibilities as an album band—not just a band with one great album—HAIM seem poised to release another critical darling, and, if nothing else, a dynamic and honest offering that exemplifies their graceful rise to dynamite rock group. —Ellen Johnson

Khruangbin: Mordechai
Dead Oceans/Night Time Stories

Khruangbin is a different type of jam band. Across their first two LPs, the Houston trio have made largely instrumental music that feels like a journey through the worlds of Thai soul, Jamaican dub, Middle Eastern funk and more. But now on Mordechai, the group looks to distill their global fusion of sounds with lyrics woven throughout the album for the first time. Coming off of their fantastic Texas Sun collaborative EP with fellow Texan Leon Bridges earlier this year, their lyrics on Mordechai represent a spiritual awakening of sorts for singer/bassist Laura Lee Ochoa. On songs like “Time (You And I)” and “So We Won’t Forget,” Ochoa explores themes related to memories and their potentially fleeting nature. Travel and discovery through music has always been at the center of what Khruangbin creates, and Mordechai promises to be another step in the voyage. —Adrian Spinelli

More notable June 26 releases: Tenille Townes: The Lemonade Stand, Various Artists: On The Road: A Tribute To John Hartford, The Dead Tongues: Transmigration Blues, Remo Drive: A Portarit of an Ugly Man, Arca: KiCk i, Skullcrusher: Skullcrusher EP

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