This summer, make a change to your soundtrack. The next few months have got some incredible, and some questionable, albums coming out that are either too good or too interesting to miss out. Instead of listening to the albeit phenomenal ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk or ‘Blurred Lines’ by prat-meister Robin Thicke on repeat till October, set some time aside to listen to some of the new music coming out before Michaelmas. Don’t let the whims of fashion dictate your playlist, and take a look at some of the nuggets on offer over summer this year.
Jay Z – Magna Carter Holy Grail, July 4th.
Jay Z’s new album is currently remarkable in how little is actually known about it aside from the track listing, the confirmed producers (Rick Rubin, Timberland, Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beats) and a cryptic description from Jay- Z himself; “The album is about, like this duality of how do you navigate through this whole thing, through success, through failures, through all this and remain yourself.” As meaningless as that is, this bonus track features dark beats and a sound reminiscent of ‘‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials, this album is definitely one to watch out for.
Pet Shop Boys – Electric, July 16th.
Long reigning kinds of synthpop, the Pet Shop Boys’ new album comes with a clear aim of creating a stomping dance record. Featuring a cover of the Bruce Springsteen track “The Last to Die” and the great tracks ‘Axis’ and ‘Vocal’, you can look forward to hearing this album pop up again and again over the summer months.
Chris Brown – X, July 16th.
Brown has stated in promotion of this album that ‘X’ as an album title has a great number of meanings to him, including in its use as a metaphor, for ‘ex-girlfriend’, signifying a progression from an old way of life and not being bound or defined by your past actions. But for many however, Chris ‘She Ran into My Fist’ Brown stands as a lasting reminder that being able to do a front flip in a music video (see ‘Yeah 3x’) resolves one of all wrongdoing without needing to be so pretentious. X looks to be a nostalgic album however, with “Fine China” having a video reminiscent of an early Michael Jackson offering. It is definitely one to look out for.
Gogol Bordello – Pura Vida Conspiracy, July 23rd.
Gogol Bordello’s musical blend of gypsy folk traditions and the spirit of punk rock has drawn then a devoted global following. Their live shows are an absolute delight, theatrical and accomplished with no moment left dull or uninspired. If you get a chance, do yourself a favour and witness their live show if you can this summer. In the meantime, here is their single ‘Malandrino’ from their new album:
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Made Up Mind, August 20th.
The blues powerhouse couple Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks combine soulful, gospel singing with equally lyrical and virtuosic slide guitar playing. Trucks’ slide guitar sounds like a mix between John Coltrane on tenor sax and Etta James at her emotional best, and the sheer power of Tedeschi and Trucks is what makes this band truly special. Like Gogol Bordello, they are a band best heard live, but make sure to check out their new album this August.
Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, August 27th.
For a slice of funky indie-rock this summer, you have to devote some time to the forthcoming offering from Franz Ferdinand. While they have yet to reach the mountainous heights of their self-titled debut, they remain in the hearts of many as creators of some defining indie tracks, such as ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Matinee’. The teaser for their upcoming album sounds great, so a definite one to watch.
Arctic Monkeys – AM, September 9th.
A new Arctic Monkeys record is always worthy of a listen. Although they may have alienated some early fans with their darker, more mature and less pop-focussed material on Humbug and Suck it and See, they have shown a remarkable creative output and a complete refusal to repeat themselves. The early single ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ shows clear influence from the southern garage-blues of The Black Keys, with a trippy music video that Pink Floyd would be proud of.