The first week of June is now over, and summer is fully in swing. This week we loved new albums from Snail Mail and Neko Case, and the latest singles from Interpol and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. In the studio, we hosted a bluegrass legend and young singer-songwriters, and on the features side, we released the latest installment of our Guilty Non-Pleasures series. Check out everything you might have missed below.
Snail Mail: Lush
Lush is a collection of 10 lucid guitar-pop songs that show off Lindsey Jordan’s classically-trained guitar skills, structural know-how, plus an ability to express the inquisitiveness and confident insecurity of youth with a surprising sophistication. “They don’t love you, do they?” she asks during the magic-hour-esque “Intro,” her clear and comfortingly relatable voice singing the first of many questions she poses throughout the album.—Madison Desler
Neko Case: Hell-On
Hell-On is well-stocked with catchy tunes and simmering rage. On the title track, Neko Case spends three sparse verses comparing God to a “lusty tire fire” and her own voice to a garotting wire before the song suddenly blossoms into a sprightly interlude. Right at the transition point, she warns: “Don’t you tell me I didn’t warn you that that’s some gravity you ought not to play with.” —Ben Salmon
Gruff Rhys: Babelsberg
Babelsberg is a rich, nuanced pop album that feels like something French from the late ’60s. There are moments of madcap yé-yé guitar, some rumbly talk-singing, a sardonic duet and a blend of sincerity and deadpan wit, amplified by strings, brass and woodwinds that fill in the outlines of the songs with texture and color. For all the vintage-style musical forms, Rhys’ lyrics are startlingly up-to-date. Though he wrote these songs more than two years ago, he might as well be describing current events when he sings obliquely, and with grave faux-chivalry, about crossing borders on “Frontier Man,” or offers an arch take on the effects of the gig economy on “Oh Dear!” as busy string parts swirl around taut guitars.—Eric R. Danton
Interpol: ‘The Rover’
“The Rover” is a shattering first look at the Interpol’s forthcoming record. The song’s title leans into the album’s name—the roaming air of a marauder directly links to roving and wandering, which are captured in the song’s lyrics. The brash line, “You can stick to the highways and suicide,” is wrapped in the lawlessness of a marauder. —Anna Haas
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: ‘The Hammer’
With only single-digit days left before the June 15 release of their much-anticipated album Hope Downs, Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have shared one last single and announced their biggest headlining tour yet, including over a dozen new North American dates. The Aussie indie-rock quintet’s album-closing cut “The Hammer” comes on the heels of three previous singles, “Mainland,” “Talking Straight” and “An Air Conditioned Man.”.—Scott Russell
On their new single, “Dunkirk,” Dublin art-punks Silverbacks combat marital strife and boredom via tense, methodical beats and prickly guitar riffs. “My soul was hurt on a private beach in Dunkirk,” intones frontman Daniel O’Kelly, imagining a post-apocalyptic society made up of “frustrated commuters,” “sunken castles and Advil.” According to the band, the track’s hero “struggles to find a unique way to rebel.” —Loren DiBlasi
The Del McCoury Band
The legendary Del McCoury and his band stopped by the studio this week to perform songs from their most recent album, Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass. Read our recent feature on Del McCoury right here.
Rick Maguire of veteran Boston rock band Pile performed new and old favorites live in the studio, including a brand new Pile song, “Hair.”
Pianist and producer Kiefer played three songs from his new album Happysad. We included the record in our list of June’s most anticipated albums.
The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in June
June is already underway, so there’s no time to waste. The first month of summer will bring some truly exciting releases, including long-awaited debuts and the latest from go-to favorite artists. Let’s get it started with a list of the 10 albums we’re most excited about (and revisit our best albums of May right here.) —Paste Staff
Guilty Non-Pleasures: The National’s High Violet
In May 2010, The National released High Violet, their fifth album, to critical acclaim. We at Paste gave it an 8.1, and our friendly rivals at Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound gave it an 8.7 and A-, respectively. Now, eight years later, I’d give it a 5.2, though I think even that’s generous. Perhaps if my ranking was based on how likely this album would put me to sleep, I would rate it more in line with its aforementioned scores. High Violet is exhausting— an exuberant A+ on the sleep scale. The National could easily be prescribed instead of Ambien. —Annie Black