Beyonce's Renaissance and 14 other albums you should listen to in July

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Bottom left: Black Midi, top left: Interpol, middle: Maggie Rogers, top right: beabadoobee, bottom right: Superorganism
Bottom left: Black Midi, top left: Interpol, middle: Maggie Rogers, top right: beabadoobee, bottom right: Superorganism

We’re officially entering the dog days of summer, which brings both blistering heat waves and a steady stream of new albums to help you beat said heat. That includes the return of Beyonce—nearly eight years after the release of her previous solo album Lemonade. Some old rock staples, such as Interpol and Metric, also have new sounds on the way, as do workhorses Ty Segall and Neil Young. For those tapped into the new wave of rock groups, bands such as Florist and Momma have their own releases scheduled. And we’re also in line for some glitzy pop in the form of Maggie Rogers, beabadoobee, and Superorganism, who’ve come to rescue us from thinking about the relentless sun.

Guided By Voices, Tremblers and Goggles by Rank [July 1]

Guided By Voices - Unproductive Funk

In our era of digital inundation approaching saturation, established acts are typically encouraged by their labels to take their time between releases, so as to not wear out their welcome with fan bases that seemingly grow more capricious by the day. Robert Pollard is the exception to this rule–or better said, the rules don’t apply to a man whose prodigious songwriting output is as remarkable as any the rock world has seen since the The Stones’ Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed went head to head with The Beatles’ White Album and Abbey Road. The stakes are smaller for Pollard and his band Guided By Voices, but his ambitions are no less crashing. On Tremblers, the band’s second LP of 2020, he emulates the buoyancy of Pink Floyd’s prog-psych bliss circa The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and the ornate haze of The Kinks’ The Village Green Preservation Society, yielding yet another solid gold deposit in his astounding discography. [John Everhart]

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Momma, Household Name [July 1]

Momma - Speeding 72 (Music Video)

The three-piece outfit Momma comes to us from sunny Los Angeles, with a slate of easy breezy rock tracks on their forthcoming album Household Name. The offerings given to us thus far have the levity and cheekiness of a group like Wet Leg, but with the static grit of a band such as Horsegirl. The lead singers’ voices are hushed and mellow, weaving in and out of one another. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

Metric, Formentera [July 8]

Metric - What Feels Like Eternity (Official Video)

After a nearly four-year hiatus, Canadian rock band Metric’s new album Formentera is finally on the horizon. The group that cemented Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as a jukebox movie shared three new singles from the album on June 8, led by the acerbic “What Feels Like Eternity.” Known for glittery synths and sinister bass lines, Metric’s return has a lighter touch, with lead singer Emily Haines’ whispery alto the clear centerpiece to every production decision. The guitar licks are sharper, the drums are snappier, the breathless synths are harder: Everything about the new Metric era leaves us eager to say hello again. [Hattie Lindert]

Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Toast [July 8]

Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Standing in the Light of Love (Official Audio from Toast)

Neil Young continues to plumb his archives with the release Toast, recorded in 2001 but shelved because Young felt it was “so sad I couldn’t put it out.” Young goes on to explain that, “The music of Toast is about a relationship. There is a time in many relationships that go bad, a time long before the break up, where it dawns on one of the people, maybe both, that it’s over. This was that time.” Curiously, the album was originally recorded after 2000’s Silver & Gold, a collection of songs which were something of a testament to the longevity of a romantic relationship. But Young went from the relatively sanguine Harvest to the downright sepulchral Time Fades Away within a year in the ’70s, so hey, life for Neil is rarely static. And if Toast is really Crazy Horse at their “pinnacle” as Young suggests, fans can expect another great one from the artist who truly is rock music personified. [John Everhart]

Queen Kwong, Couples Only [July 12]

Queen Kwong - I Know Who You Are (Official Video)

With her ethereal vocals, provocative lyrics, distorted guitars, and industrial-infused soundscapes, it’s easy to see why Queen Kwong singer/songwriter Carré Kwong Callaway caught the attention of Trent Reznor back in 2005. After becoming his protege and touring with Nine Inch Nails for three different tours, she went on to release two well-received albums and two EPs between 2015 and 2019. Now, after a tumultuous hiatus that included the life-changing one-two punch of a cystic fibrosis diagnosis and the bitter end of a marriage (her husband left her high and dry following her grim prognosis), the indie dream-pop songstress delivering her third LP, Couples Only. And if the brooding first single “I Know Who You Are” is any indication (Check out the disturbing video above, inspired by Andrzej Żuławski’s 1981 horror classic Possession), Callaway is clearly channeling her recent physical and mental traumas, resulting in what sounds (and looks to be) her most visceral work yet. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Surprisingly, there are luminous moments of levity, such as the shimmery and upbeat synth-pop single that is “Without You, Whatever.” [Gil Macias]

Beabadoobee, Beatopia [July 15]

Beabadoobee - 10:36 (Official Live Video)

Something about the sticky summer air on the sidewalk begs for a reformed riot girl like myself to pin a pink streak in my hair and turn on my best snarl. And frankly, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect soundtrack than the new album from Beabadoobee, whose Avril Lavigne-meets-Pavement grunge anthems wear their heart on their sleeve. Beabadoobee hasn’t released a full-length project since 2020’s Fake It Flowers, and Beatopia will finally be here on July 15. The British singer released her most recent single, “10:36 AM,” last week. The atmospheric track finds Beabadoobee contemplating her relationship with a lover. “You don’t need me / As much as I need you,” she laments before shaking off the vulnerability: “You’re just a warm body to hold / At night when I’m feeling all alone.” [Hattie Lindert]

Black MIDI, Hellfire [July 15]

black midi - Eat Men Eat

Eat, men, eat! The British rock group Black Midi returns with Hellfire, the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2021 album Calvacade. The band has already released two songs from the upcoming 10-track album, the raucous “Eat Men Eat’’ and the crescendoing manifesto “Welcome to Hell.” If the new singles offer any hint into the Geordie Greep-led trio, Black Midi’s new album will expand on their layered, orchestral sound, shooting for even higher highs while still artfully crafting instrumental lulls. Plus, Black Midi has confirmed it will embark on a world tour with dozens of U.S. dates to accompany the album. Moshing is back. [Hattie Lindert]

Interpol, The Other Side of Make-Believe [July 15]

Interpol - “Something Changed” (Official Music Video)

The central crisis for Interpol right now involves nostalgia–the problem of how a band ages gracefully in an art form that is typically predicated upon doing absolutely nothing gracefully. Groups like the Rolling Stones and U2 have, despite their own protestations, long made new music as an excuse to tour and play old hits for paying crowds, while their new albums are relegated to souvenirs. So nearly 20 years since their epochal debut LP Turn On The Bright Lights, how does Interpol go about making an album that challenges themselves and their audience? The band answers that question with their seventh LP, The Other Side Of Make-Believe. The collection continues their impressive Mach II (i.e., post-Carlos D) run, which began with with 2014’s El Pintor and 2018’s Marauder. Now, with production help from Flood and Moulder, and the former’s edict to “hyperbolize all of your good qualities,” they’ve captured the sound of Interpol comfortable being Interpol. They stride confidently here while tugging at their trademark sound gently with subtle accouterments–pastoral flourishes of piano and coruscating guitar figures. [John Everhart]

Superorganism, World Wide Pop [July 15]

Superorganism - On & On (Official Video)

Experimental pop group Superorganism has a knack for the glitzy and kitschy, with a degree of self-assuredness and charm which bolsters their music. The eight-piece group has shared a group of singles that utilize elements of big pop sounds mixed with hyperpop and 8-bit PC pop. Each single shows off a new facet of their World Wide Pop sound, tied together by the bittersweetness which comes with crushes, touring, and growing up. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

Ty Segall, “Hello, Hi” [July 22]

Saturday Pt. 2

The (nearly) non-stop music machine’s 14th (!) studio album was recorded “mostly by himself” in his home studio in L.A. We’ve gotten two tastes of Ty Segall’s latest LP so far: The driving title track boasts some disciplined fuzzed-out riffs, particularly good drumming, and the singer’s floating-above-the-action falsetto. “Saturday Pt. 2,” meanwhile, finds him settling into mellower territory—that is, before dropping in a weird and loose double-sax solo. [Tim Lowery]

Jack White, Entering Heaven Alive [July 22]

Jack White – If I Die Tomorrow (Official Video)

The bookend to the earlier 2022 release Fear Of The Dawn, Jack White’s Entering Heaven Alive, his fifth proper solo LP, is White at his loosest and most experimental. Levity is found on the woozy jazz slow dazzle of “Queen Of The Bees” and “Taking Me Back (Gently).” The latter closes the album while circling back to Fear Of The Dawn’s opener “Taking Me Back”—White’s nod to the age old conceit of the concept album. It’s indicative of his purist ethos, with punctilious reverence to the album as art trope. From the artwork to the live show to the lyrics, White’s obsessive singularity of vision recalls that of Stanley Kubrick, and Entering Heaven Alive is like the second half of Full Metal Jacket—it may not get as much attention as the unimpeachable first half, but those who make the investment will be rewarded with a minor masterpiece. [John Everhart]

Beyonce, Renaissance [July 29]

Beyoncé - BREAK MY SOUL (Official Lyric Video)

Although we’ve gotten projects like the Carters’ Everything Is Love, the Beychella live album Homecoming, and the Lion King soundtrack The Gift, the upcoming Renaissance is Beyoncé’s first official solo album since she dropped the iconic Lemonade way back in 2016. We still don’t actually know too much about Renaissance, beyond the fact that it’s a new Beyoncé album, but a new Beyoncé album is always an event in and of itself. Renaissance will reportedly feature dance music inspired by the ’90s club scene—see the Robin S- and Big Freedia-sampling lead single “Break My Soul”—in addition to country-influenced songs. It’s being billed as Act I, so ... maybe start getting ready for Act II while you’re at it? [Peter Helman]

Florist, Florist [July 29]

Florist - “Sci-fi Silence” (Official Music Video)

The offerings from Florist’s self-titled fourth studio album fall lightly on the ears, washing over the listener with a sense of peace. The singles each present the band’s longest songs yet, with no sense of urgency to be found, as each part of the songs take their sweet time. Ambient sounds and a saxophone bubble beneath “Spring in Hours,” an earnest, tender song which celebrates the nature that envelops us. Spacey synths effuse the gentle “Sci-fi Silence,” a “love song about the mystical forces that attract us to one another and the spaces in-between words that can hold profound communications.” [Gabrielle Sanchez]

Of Montreal, Freewave Lucifer [July 29]

of Montreal - Marijuana’s A Working Woman [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Of Montreal has practically cornered the market on cheeky psychedelic rock and even cheekier track titles (“Beware Our Nubile Miscreants” and “Kcrrraanggaanngg!!” are among our favorites). Case in point: Typing out the full title of their new album, Freewave Lucifer, would screw with this website’s code. The Georgia-based indie group’s 2021 album I Feel Safe With You, Trash brought their spirit of experimentation into the era of pandemic anxiety, using nonsense to help listeners make sense of our world. Does anything feel more tailor-made for these chaotic times than frontperson Kevin Barnes’ knack for combining upbeat melodies with the bleakest of lyrics? Let the ethereal synth and electro-funk of new lead single “Marijuana’s A Working Woman” wash over you for a sense of what’s to come. [Jack Smart]

Maggie Rogers, Surrender [July 29]

Maggie Rogers - Want Want

Maggie Rogers’ recent performance at Coachella counted toward her master’s degree at Harvard Divinity School. Now, she comes forth with her first post-grad album, Surrender. In “Want Want,” and “That’s Where I Am,” Rogers weaves bold synth pop bops, filling her usual light and sparse production with edgy electronic work, static guitar riffs and more present drum work. She’s also been gracious about sharing a release day with Beyonce, despite facing some pretty steep competition. [Gabrielle Sanchez]