The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in June

Featuring Kings of Convenience, Japanese Breakfast, Lucy Dacus and more

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

2021’s midpoint is approaching at high speed, and before you know it, it will be time for us to take stock of everything released this year so far. Lest we get ahead of ourselves, we’ll snap back to the task at hand … getting ahead of ourselves, but by way of the June releases we’re most excited about. This month is especially stacked, from Japanese Breakfast’s Jubilee and Rostam’s Changephobia, out tomorrow, June 4, to new albums from Kings of Convenience, Backxwash and Lucy Dacus coming later in the month. Take a look at (and a listen to) all of Paste Music’s most-anticipated albums of June below, and make sure to check out those “more notable releases” sections—there’s plenty of great music on the way, even beyond the 10 records we’re shining the spotlight on.

June 4

Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee
Dead Oceans

One of our most-anticipated albums of the year, let alone the month of June, Michelle Zauner’s third album as Japanese Breakfast finds her shedding the sadness and trauma of her past, embracing joy and celebrating Jubilee. Upon its announcement, Zauner said of her follow-up to 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet in a statement, “After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow-up to be about joy. For me, a third record should feel bombastic and so I wanted to pull out all the stops for this one.” The soaring, yet densely layered Jubilee lives up to that billing: Zauner’s palette boasts more colors than ever—the yearning strings that conclude “Kokomo, IN,” the regal horn outro on “Slide Tackle,” the noise-rock crescendo of closer “Posing For Cars,” so much more—and her new masterpiece is abundantly vivid as a result. —Scott Russell

Rostam: Changephobia
Matsor Projects

“In the last five years, something that has been on my mind is the concept of less is more, in the unit of the song and the unit of an album,” Rostam Batmanglij told W Magazine shortly after he announced his sophomore solo LP, Changephobia. Listening to the album—his first following his extensive co-production and co-writing work on Clairo’s Immunity and HAIM’s Grammy-nominated Women in Music, Pt. III—you can hear exactly what he means. Whereas his official solo debut, 2017’s Half-Light, retained much of the nomadic, mildly chaotic dynamism he brought to Vampire Weekend’s first three albums as its founding producer, Changephobia feels smaller-scale on every level. It’s 14 minutes shorter than its predecessor, and it’s light on the warbled, bursting electronics that defined Half-Light’s hazy tales of queer romance. It feels quiet and intimate even when it’s roaring. —Max Freedman

More notable June 4 releases: Chris Thile: Laysongs, cleopatrick: BUMMER, Greentea Peng: Man Made, Hildegard: Hildegard, Liz Phair: Soberish, Loraine James: Reflection, Overcoats: Used to Be Scared of the Dark EP, Raheem DeVaughn: Lovesick, We Are The Union: Ordinary Life, Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend

June 11

Notable June 11 releases: Azure Ray: Remedy, Cold Cave: Fate In Seven Lessons, Dead History: Dead History, Garbage: No Gods No Masters, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Butterfly 3000, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: A Few Stars Apart, Migos: Culture III, Quivers: Golden Doubt, Slayyyter: Troubled Paradise, Sleater-Kinney: Path Of Wellness, Social Haul: Social Haul, St. Lenox: Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for Our Tumultuous Times

June 18

Kings of Convenience: Peace or Love
EMI Records

It’s the return of the Kings: Eirik Glambeck BoE and Erlend Oye are back next month with their first new album in over a decade, Peace or Love. Since their debut declaration that Quiet Is the New Loud, the Norwegian duo have retained their lovely and understated sound—gentle vocals and acoustic guitars, intimately intertwined and powerfully melodic—but their latest outing is a reminder that, as BoE observes in the record’s press materials, “It’s very, very hard to make something sound simple.” Recorded (repeatedly!) over five years in as many cities around the world, Peace or Love absorbed bossa nova influences while BoE and Oye recorded in Chile, and added a Queen of Convenience, if you will, in (Leslie) Feist, who sings on two of its 11 tracks (one of which, “Catholic Country,” was co-written with English trio The Staves). But the album is still unmistakably Kings of Convenience, delicate and lush, but with the steady ache of hard-won, well-traveled wisdom. Like ripples in still water, the duo’s sound continues to resonate through the years not in spite of its simple beauty, but because of it. —Scott Russell

More notable June 18 releases: Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature, Joan Armatrading: Consequences, Max Bloom: Pedestrian, Mykki Blanco: Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep, Pacer: The Terror of Other People EP

June 20

Backxwash: I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses
Ugly Hag Records

Backxwash, noted for her groundbreaking 2020 album God Has Nothing to Do with This Leave Him Out of It, which won the 2020 Polaris Music Prize, can capture the ears of even the most metal-averse listener. Her forthcoming album I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses expands upon her chaotic blend of heavy metal, punk and hip-hop that pays homage to horrorcore pioneers such as Three 6 Mafia and Esham, as well as her modern-day inspirations such as clipping. (who contribute production to I Lie Here) and Danny Brown. In the midst of her lush wall of sound is an attempt to make sense of who she is, why she is here and other philosophical questions that rest within the crevices of our psyches that she dares to explore. —Jade Gomez

June 25

Cautious Clay: Deadpan Love
The Orchard

Ohio’s own Cautious Clay has gone from Midwestern secret to a worldwide indie sensation that has worked with two of the most famed Johns in music: Legend and Mayer. He was even sampled by Taylor Swift for her 2019 album Lover. After a number of notable collaborations and credits, Cautious is formally introducing himself on his debut Deadpan Love. Whether it be the immersive acoustics on “Wildfire” or the R&B-infused indie pop of “Karma & Friends,” Cautious utilizes the space he lays out for himself on Deadpan Love to showcase his versatility without it sounding hastily put together. Cautious’ radical display of vulnerability ties everything together, sharing his deepest fears and passions on a breathtaking debut. —Jade Gomez

Faye Webster: I Know I’m Funny haha
Secretly Canadian

In conversation with Paste about her 2019 standout Atlanta Millionaires Club, Southern singer/songwriter Faye Webster told us, “I think what makes it nice is that there are songs on this record that could have been on my self-titled or could’ve even been on Run And Tell, my 16-year-old album. Every album has been like the small gateway to something new, but it still all makes sense.” That holds true on the 23-year-old’s fourth album (and second for Secretly Canadian), another lovely combination of loping, lap steel-laced Americana-pop that’s as nuanced, yet charming as Webster herself. An ATL native with ample ties to the city’s sprawling hip-hop scene, the singer/songwriter reunited with frequent collaborators including producer/mixer Drew Vandenberg and pedal steel player Matt “Pistol” Stoessel to create I Know I’m Funny haha, her most thoughtful and self-assured effort yet. Webster has carved out a stylistic niche entirely her own, and it’s only a matter of time before a far wider audience catches up to her. —Scott Russell

Hiatus Kaiyote: Mood Valiant
Brainfeeder/Ninja Tune

The broad appeal of the Melbourne quartet’s soul-soaked future funk cannot be understated. Their bustling and ebullient tunes have resurfaced in songs by artists like Anderson. Paak and Kendrick Lamar, and singer Nai Palm even appeared on Drake’s track “Is There More” off 2018’s Scorpion. So by late 2018, when the band started recording Mood Valiant—their third LP and follow-up to 2015’s cultish Choose Your Weapon—the stakes were high and welcome at that. But when the band was on tour in the U.S., Palm was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately flew back to Australia to begin treatment, undergoing a successful mastectomy that saved her life. Once she recovered, the band flew to Brazil in late 2019 for sessions with legendary composer and arranger Arthur Verocai, and the vibe of the album unfolded into something bigger and even more beautiful. “Get Sun” is the first taste of their sessions with Verocai and “Red Room” is the result of the inspiration that surged from there. Hiatus Kaiyote have already been nominated for two Grammy awards, and Mood Valiant is sure to be the moment when the rest of the world takes notice. —Adrian Spinelli

Lucy Dacus: Home Video
Matador Records

There’s a reason why Lucy Dacus’ Historian was named Paste’s top album of 2018. It’s because the singer/songwriter’s genuine and kind-hearted nature comes across in every note and every word of her sweeping songs. Her third album, Home Video, has a coming-of-age narrative, where Dacus presents the formative moments of her years growing up in Richmond, Virginia, with vivid imagery and her humble honesty; like a musical version of Craig Thompson’s iconic depiction of adolescence in his graphic novel Blankets. Like Thompson’s take on his Christian upbringing, “VBS” sees Dacus recounting her own teenage experiences over a bucolic guitar. “Hot & Heavy” is a nostalgic number about growth and knowing when you’re starting to find yourself, with Dacus singing through that realization: “You used to be so sweet, now you’re a firecracker on a crowded street.” —Adrian Spinelli

Pom Pom Squad: Death of a Cheerleader
City Slang Records

Brooklyn’s Mia Berrin and her band make their full-length (and City Slang) debut with Death of a Cheerleader, produced by Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties. Singles “LUX” and “Head Cheerleader”—a riot-grrrl ripper and ultra-hooky statement of purpose, respectively—have numbered among Paste’s favorite songs of the year so far, making this record an obvious June standout. Backed by Mari Alé Figeman, Shelby Keller and Alex Mercuri, Berrin celebrates “the discomfort that comes with stepping into your new skin—your own power” on both “Head Cheerleader” and the album at large, asserting her identity in not only her music, but also the world with which she’s sharing it. The result is indie rock gaining a new voice that we’ll be hearing from for years to come. —Scott Russell

The Marías: Cinema
Nice Life Recording Company & Atlantic Records

The Marías simply understand how to capture the alluring sex appeal found in old films and pinup photographs, and that appeal runs deep. Their aptly titled debut album Cinema is a sultry exploration of empowerment, lust and desire, wrapped into a modern interpretation of old soul and R&B. Frontwoman María’s hushed vocals cradle every syllable with a care that captures your attention until the record ends, begging for one more replay. If their lead single “Hush” is anything to go by, this record is the perfect companion for hot summer nights, both alone and with company. —Jade Gomez

More notable June 25 releases: Gaspard Augé: Escapades, Hiss Golden Messenger: Quietly Blowing It, Hurry: Fake Ideas, Lightning Bug: A Color of the Sky, L’Rain: Fatigue, Maple Glider: To Enjoy is the Only Thing, Modest Mouse: The Golden Casket, Perila: How Much Time it is Between You and Me?, SPELLING: The Turning Wheel, Squirrel Flower: Planet (i), The Mountain Goats: Dark In Here

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