Summer is less than a month away, but around this time of year a month can feel like a year. Students return to their summer jobs, non-students are still at their jobs, and the weather in Toronto feels more like Seattle in November. Where are the blue skies, the food trucks and the patio-goers? Just like you and I, they’re most likely indoors (looking at a screen), waiting…oh, so patiently waiting…plotting, even, how to make their summer top notch (cue the overstatement “this is going to be the greatest summer of our lives”). As anticipation rises, citizens prepare beach bodies by crowding gyms, and while everyone struggles to make an Instagram post look half-decent in this grey-sky weather (use the “Sierra” filter), music-lovers have something else on their mind: concert season.
And with every great concert comes the responsibility of the fans – doing their homework and knowing the music (after all, no one likes being the person at the show who doesn’t know any of the lyrics). Behold, a short list of some anticipated albums set to release this summer, and the festivals and concerts where the bands will be performing.
Alt-J: Relaxer (June 2nd)
English Indie band and Mercury Prize winners Alt-J broke out with their debut album An Awesome Wave almost 6 years ago and in the meantime have slightly fell from favour with critics and fans alike. Their new album Relaxer however, with four tracks released, has already got the ears of Metacritic and Pitchfork media perked. Their third studio album is set for release on June 2nd from Atlantic records. Catch them at Osheaga and listen to their crooning new track “Adeline” here.
In light of the album’s upcoming release, the band released a free, short video game for fans to play while they impatiently wait. Have a go at it here.
Benjamin Booker: Witness (June 2nd)
Bringing a unique take on blue’s rock, soul, and modern funk music, American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Booker will release his second full-length studio album Witness next month. This comes three years after his eponymously titled debut from 2014. With a whiskey-soaked voice and warm guitar sound for all ages, Benjamin Booker is the artist your parents might end up liking more than you. You’ve been warned.
Listen to his new track “Believe” here.
Dan Auerbach: Waiting on a Song (June 2nd)
The frontman who rose to fame as lead vocalist and guitarist of the indie-rock favourites The Black Keys, and who in recent years collaborated with Lana Del Rey to offer guitar to her album Ultraviolence, Dan Auerbach has been a busy boy. With his first solo studio album since 2009 expected June 2nd, fans of The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, and “dad-rock” music, Waiting On A Song has something for everyone.
Listen to the hazy first single from the album here.
Beach Fossils: Somersault (June 2nd)
Brooklyn-based indie band Beach Fossils have been writing music that is accessible to any mood for years. Whether you’re heartbroken or overjoyed, Beach Fossils are able to cater to any audience by creating lush and pleasant soundscapes with ease.
Listen to their brand new single “This Year” here, released by the band’s own record label Bayonet Records, founded by lead singer Dustin Payseur.
Phoenix: Ti Amo (June 9th)
The French electro-indie titans return. The four person electro-pop group Phoenix has been making ecstatic music and filled festival grounds for more than ten years. Their record “J-Boy” has been named “Best New Track” by Pitchfork (so you know it’s good stuff).
Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up (June 16th)
Despite only having released two studio albums throughout their career, Seattle based indie group Fleet Foxes have made a huge impact on modern folk music. They return this summer with their first album since 2011’s Helplessness Blues that was nominated for the 2012 Grammy for Best Folk Album.
Listen and watch a preview for the album Crack-Up set to release June 16th here. The album marks the band’s first music since their departure from Sub Pop Records.
Lorde: Melodrama (June 16th)
Highly anticipated after her international best selling debut album Pure Heroine, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, best known by her stage name Lorde, will release her second studio length album this summer on June 16th, supported by her performances at the Gov Ball in NYC and Bonnaroo in Tennessee.
Listen to the piping hot new single “Perfect Places” here as Lorde reminds us “I’m 19 and I’m on fire.”
Calvin Harris: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 (June 30th)
Called “EDM’s cash king” by Forbes, Calvin Harris has consistently been one of the worlds highest paid and ranking DJ’s for the past five years (he made $66 million last year), with a handful of number one hits and collaborations galore. His new album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1 has already produced three songs stock full of features from Frank Ocean, Migos, Young Thug, Ariana Grande, Khalid, and Future, setting the album to be a number one contender for everyones unofficial summer soundtrack.
Listen to part of the track “Slide”here.
Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder (July 7th)
The Canadian rock-indie legends Broken Social Scene, with whom Feist rose to prominence, are set to release their first album since 2010 this July. The band, known for having anywhere from six to as many as twenty members at a time, stopped by Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 program to premier “Halfway Home”, and have posted the title track “Hug of Thunder” online, voiced by none other than Leslie Feist herself. BSS is back… and it sounds so good.
Lana Del Rey: Lust For Life (July 21st)
Pop heavyweight and festival favourite Lana Del Rey has announced and detailed the release and features for her fifth studio album Lust For Life including vocals from Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Knicks and Sean Ono Lennon (yes, John Lennon’s son). Set to release July 21st, Del Rey has already released a video for the title track featuring The Weeknd.
Watch Lana jump off the Hollywood sign in her “Lust For Life” music video here.
Arcade Fire: Everything Now (July 28th)
Sounding bigger and better than ever, Montreal-based rockers Arcade Fire can do no wrong on their new track “Everything Now”. After a surprise announcement that the band would be releasing their new album titled Everything Now this summer, fans and critics are on the edge of their seats. The first single, titled after the album, is as chaotic as it is grand.
Listen and watch the music video here. Supporting their album, the band has also announced their “Infinite Content Tour” playing shows in Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto.
Check the full schedule here.
AUGUST & ALBUMS ON THE HORIZON:
Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins (August 18th)
Brooklyn Rock band Grizzly Bear return after a long-awaited absence of almost 5 years. You’ve been patient. Listen to their single “Mourning Sound” from their upcoming album here.
LCD Soundsystem: TBD (TBD)
LCD Soundsytstem frontman James Murphy recently announced that the new album was so close to being released, it was literally being pressed on vinyl as he spoke. Listen to one of the two tracks released so far, “Call The Police”, a 7-minute long synthscape, here.