The 25 hottest new albums dropping this summer

New releases from Lana Del Rey, HAIM, Lorde, Arcade Fire, Big Boi, Jeff Tweedy and 19 other killer artists

Published June 10, 2017 5:30PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Mark Metcalfe/Sarah Kerver/Columbia Records/RCA/Republic Records)
(Getty/Mark Metcalfe/Sarah Kerver/Columbia Records/RCA/Republic Records)

Music industry release cycles are touch and go. November and December tend to be fallow months. Once January hits, though, things shift into overdrive.

This year's summer release schedule is no exception: Although plenty of artists pushed out records prior to the summer touring season, a slew of others waited until warmer months to unveil albums.

Salon combed through the big, big list of upcoming releases and collected the 25 most promising, most interesting albums headed your way this season. Chances are, you'll find your favorite song of 2017 somewhere in here.


1. Alison Moyet, "Other" (June 16)

The electro icon (see also: Yaz) checks in with an enveloping record driven by gothic synth-pop textures and luxurious, regal vocals. As for what "Other" is about, she quipped in a press release that the "subject matter covers what you might expect from a pop album: dyslexia, locked-out syndrome, diversity, Persephone, doggedness and the Internet."


2. Big Boi, "Boomiverse" (June 16)

Big Boi has an all-star list of collaborators on his latest solo record, "Boomiverse" — Killer Mike, Snoop Dogg, Jeezy and more. As usual, expect nothing less than curveball-throwing hip-hop that reflects his delightfully fractured creative worldview.


3. Fleet Foxes, "Crack-Up" (June 16)

Fans of Fleet Foxes' first record will find much to love on "Crack-Up," the act's first album in six years. Heavenly harmonies are still out in full force, of course, as are undulating indie-folk textures and gentle melodies.


4. Matthew Sweet, "Tomorrow Forever" (June 16)

The power-pop icon has been working on this Kickstarter-supported album for several years now. It was worth the wait. As songs such as "Entangled" reveal, "Tomorrow Forever" is sinfully catchy, ornate rock 'n' roll with a '60s bent.


5. Lorde, "Melodrama" (June 16)

One of the most anticipated records of the year, "Melodrama" is a brilliant sonic leap forward for Lorde, an artist whose poise and self-assurance consistently have led to DNA-rearranging pop music.


6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, "The Nashville Sound" (June 16)

In addition to being one of the funniest musicians on Twitter, Jason Isbell also has the market cornered on smart, insightful alt-country on "The Nashville Sound." Songs such as "If We Were Vampires" and "White Man's World" are vulnerable songs touching on (respectively) the fleeting nature of relationships and incisive social commentary.


7. Algiers, "The Underside of Power" (June 23)

Gospel-punk band Algiers has crafted one of the most political records of the year in "The Underside of Power." Songs reference police brutality, race and identity, dystopia and fascism. Produced by Portishead's Adrian Utley and Ali Chant, the album's eclectic music is worthy of the band's powerful lyrics.


8. Jeff Tweedy, "Together at Last" (June 23)

Jeff Tweedy's latest solo effort is an acoustic record that finds him reinventing cuts from his back pages, including (and especially) Wilco songs such as "Muzzle of Bees," "Via Chicago" and "Ashes of American Flags."


9. Vince Staples, "Big Fish Theory" (June 23)

Fresh off a collaboration with Gorillaz, the California rapper is set to release his second proper full-length, "Big Fish Theory." A sneak preview detailed by the L.A. Weekly describes a record that's a sonic progression: "With glitchy-computer garage and fast-paced industrial wobble straight out of a 4 a.m. techno warehouse party, it's hard to consider 'Big Fish Theory' a rap album at all."


10. HAIM, "Something to Tell You" (July 7)

HAIM charmed during its recent "Saturday Night Live" appearance, courtesy of Wilson Phillips-esque harmonies and intricate songs that float in the nexus of pop, rock and electro. Best of all is the new song "Want You Back," a perfect update of pristine early '90s Top-40 pop.


11. Broken Social Scene, "Hug of Thunder" (July 7)

Broken Social Scene's stoner-folk, electro-campfire indie-rock jams are in full effect on "Hug of Thunder," the band's first record in seven years. The title track boasts lead vocals from Feist, whose conspiratorial vocals add world-weariness, while "Skyline" resembles the unified front of early Arcade Fire.


12. RAC, "EGO" (July 14)

The Grammy-winning remixer and electronic artist RAC returns with yet another collection of impeccable, longing synth-pop featuring guest vocals from K.Flay, Joywave, MNDR and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo.


13. Waxahatchee, "Out in the Storm" (July 14)

The latest record from Waxahatchee (a.k.a. the band fronted and formed by Katie Crutchfield) continues in the fleshed-out, electric vein of the band's previous record. The Pixies-esque "Never Been Wrong" and gleeful, '90s rock homage "Silver" are grade-A earworms.


14. Shabazz Palaces, "Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star" and "Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines" (July 14)

Interstellar hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces is releasing two separate albums: "Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines" and its "monozygotic twin," called "Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star." Both defy genres, eras and sonic boundaries in the name of creating futuristic music steeped in social commentary.


15. Lana Del Rey, "Lust for Life" (July 21)

Lana Del Rey's aesthetic — a misty, nostalgic vibe predicated on languid hip-hop, enigmatic electronic and Wall of Sound plushness — permeates one of her newer songs, the Weeknd-featuring "Lust for Life." No doubt the forthcoming LP of the same name will possess the same vibe.


16. Arcade Fire, "Everything Now" (July 28)

The ABBA comparisons have been flying around fast and furious after Arcade Fire released "Everything Now," the title track to its forthcoming record. Futuristic disco, as well as elements of New Order's '80s output, are also evident on "Creature Comfort," a new song the band debuted at Primavera Sound Festival.


17. Alice Cooper, "Paranormal" (July 28)

Alice Cooper pulled out all the stops for this Bob Ezrin-produced LP, especially in terms of guest stars: U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover. Plus, a bonus version of the album will feature a bonus disc featuring three songs reuniting the rocker with Alice Cooper band members Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce.


18. Various Artists, "Manchester North of England" (July 28)

Cherry Red Records' recent genre-specific compilations — especially the indie-pop-centric "Scared to Get Happy" and shoegaze-oriented "Still in a Dream" — are thorough encapsulations of important musical movements. The seven-CD boxed set "Manchester North of England," meanwhile, tackles the industrial city's massive influence via bands both big (New Order, Oasis, Stone Roses) and more obscure.


19. Randy Newman, "Dark Matter" (August 4)

The erudite songwriter's first album in nine years will include "Putin" — a Broadway-esque number about the Russian leader — as well as "songs about the Kennedy brothers, legendary blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson, science and religion, love, loss and more," according to Rolling Stone.


20. Downtown Boys, "Cost of Living" (August 11)

Rhode Island's Downtown Boys are one of the most exciting bands around. The forthcoming "Cost of Living," the band's Sub Pop debut, is no exception: New single "A Wall" is urgent, rabble-rousing political-punk.


21. Rainer Maria, "Rainer Maria" (August 18)

Eleven years after its last album, the beloved Midwest emo band Rainer Maria is releasing a new, self-titled album. As its name implies, the record looks to be a defiant statement of the band's strengths: "Lower Worlds" is a heart-gouging single based on Caithlin De Marrais' urgent vocal exhortations, Kaia Fischer's grooved guitars and William Kuehn's propulsive percussion.


22. Grizzly Bear, "Painted Ruins" (August 18)

Speaking of bands releasing long-awaited records: "Painted Ruins" is Grizzly Bear's first record since 2012's "Shields." Judging by the first two songs released from it, the electro-buzzed "Mourning Sound" and the clattering, inquisitive "Three Rings," the LP will continue the band's penchant for enchantment.


23. The War on Drugs, "A Deeper Understanding" (August 25)

The War on Drugs' irresistible Bob Dylan and Dire Straits interpolations look to be even more panoramic on the band's major-label debut, "A Deeper Understanding." The keyboard-sparkled new single "Holding On" would've fit on a late '80s playlist next to the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle with Care," the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey" and Bruce Hornsby & The Range's "The Way It Is."


24. Mogwai, "Every Country's Sun" (September 1)

In a Dazed interview, Stuart Braithwaite called the Dave Fridmann-produced "Every Country's Sun" a "maximal follow-up" to 2014's "Rave Tapes." Judging by the first single, "Coolverine" — a towering, gloomy and bittersweet post-rock sprawl — expect greatness.


25. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, "The Punishment of Luxury" (September 1)

Very quietly, synth-pop pioneers OMD have released two fantastic records in the '10s that explore the intersection of technology and humanity. "The Punishment of Luxury" looks to be much of the same, judging by the politically minded "La Mitrailleuse" and the dreamy electro swoon "Isotope."


By Annie Zaleski

Annie Zaleski is a Cleveland-based journalist who writes regularly for The A.V. Club, and has also been published by Rolling Stone, Vulture, RBMA, Thrillist and Spin.

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Arcade Fire Big Boi Fleet Foxes Grizzly Bear Haim Jeff Tweedy Lorde Music Summer Music Wilco