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The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014

Must-hear records sure to soundtrack your BBQs.

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As we usher in the long-awaited summer season, there’s more to look forward to than grilling and poolside tans. In the days spent lounging and planning summer vacations, nothing is more anticipatory than figuring out the soundtrack to go along with those pastimes. And in the spirit of helping you plan the coming months, we’ve compiled a list of our most 25 most eagerly awaited summer albums for 2014.

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fucked up glass boysFucked Up – Glass Boys

Release date: June 3rd via Matador Records

Damien Abraham may have one of the more distinct guttural growls in all of music, but the band itself isn’t interested in short, 90-second bursts of Minor Threat-like fury. For instance, their most recent album, David Comes to Life, was a 77-minute rock opera with multiple movements and story arcs. Ambition is a given every time Fucked Up releases an album, and Glass Boys should be no exception. –Dean Essner

Listen:  “Sun Glass”

Buy: Amazon

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fresh & onlys - house of spiritsThe Fresh & Onlys – House of Spirits

Release date: June 10th via Mexican Summer

It’s shaping up to be a big summer for San Francisco. The Giants are in first place, and two of the city’s most integral artists in its garage-pop scene, The Fresh & Onlys and White Fence, are releasing new records. Good thing. The last Fresh & Onlys album, Long Slow Dance, was entrancingly jangly, a jauntier version of Galaxie 500’s On Fire with the occasional distorted guitar or two. The first single from House of Spirits, “Bells of Paonia”, suggests a louder, fuzzier tint to the new record, something more akin to the band’s fellow Bay City counterpart Ty Segall. Either way, it’ll sound great at the beach. Or biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. –Dean Essner

Listen:  “Bells of Paonia”

Buy:  Amazon

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fresh & onlys - house of spiritsJack White – Lazaretto

Release date: June 10th via Third Man Records

Music’s Willy Wonka returns the second week of June with Lazaretto, the follow-up to 2012’s Blunderbuss. The album has actually been in the works for nearly a year, but was delayed due to a severe case of writer’s block. Ultimately, he found inspiration from one-act plays and poems he wrote as a 19-year-old. He told NPR, “And then I thought, before I [throw these way], why don’t I pull some of these characters out, some of these names, some of these sentences, and work with them? And I did. And it became a way to collaborate with my younger self.” Musically, White has described the album as a potluck of sounds, from White Stripes-esque garage rock to rockabilly to country twang. “I don’t pick my style and then write a song,” he explained to Rolling Stone. “I just write whatever comes out of me, and whatever style it is what it is, and it becomes something later.” Also worth noting is the album’s “Ultra” vinyl edition, which comes chock full with various gimmicks, including a hologram etched right on the vinyl. –Alex Young

Listen:  “Lazaretto”

Buy:  Amazon

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lana del rey - ultraviolenceLana Del Rey – Ultraviolence

Release date:  June 17th via Interscope Records

There’s something gorgeously lethargic about Lana Del Rey’s music, the way it’s never in any rush to evolve or peak like normal pop fodder might. Instead, allowed to linger, her songs revel in a special kind of druggy haze that’s both inviting and unsettling. Take the already slow, swaying new single “West Coast” for example. Rather than explode with grandiosity at its chorus, it gets even slower, as if she’s trying to stop the onslaught of time completely. Expect producer Dan Auerbach to carry this essence across the rest of Ultraviolence, which has the potential to be game changing. –Dean Essner

Listen:  “West Coast”

Buy:  Amazon

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Cerebral Ballzy - Jaded & FadedCerebral Ballzy – Jaded & Faded

Release date: June 17th via Cult Records

In 2011, Brooklyn punk collective Cerebral Ballzy released their self-titled debut album and quickly made a name for themselves as pizza-loving, girl-crazy rogues. Since then, maturity has brandished a new outlook for the group, giving way to a darker, more cerebral sound on their sophomore follow-up, Jaded & Faded. Their gritty release track, “Lonely As America”, evokes the rawness of a skateboard-punk era and showcases a developed, more subdued sound. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Lonely As America”

Buy:  Amazon

sam smith - in the lonely hourSam Smith – In the Lonely Hour

Release date: June 17th via Capitol Records (Universal)

Claiming both the 2014 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award and the BBC’s Sound of 2014 nod during the earlier parts of 2014, as well as captivating the globe as the voice behind Disclosure’s “Latch”, the UK’s Sam Smith has lofty expectations to meet for his debut album. Dubbed In the Lonely Hour, the R&B-leaning crooner isn’t going it alone, enlisting the support of Fraser T Smith (Plan B, CeeLo Green) plus Simon Aldred and Eg White (Adele, Will Young) to add further pop credibility to the album. Not hitting US shelves until mid-June, the album is already available in the UK. –Derek Staples

Listen:  “Money on My Mind”

Buy:  Amazon

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alex g - dsuAlex G – DSU

Release date: June 17th via Orchid Tapes

For someone barely 20 years old, Alex G’s bandcamp page – full of warm, homespun rock songs with a ’90s aesthetic a la Built to Spill and Beulah – is frighteningly robust. But more importantly, Alex G’s music is complex and knotty in a way that allows it to transcend both his age and the bedroom pop paradigm. In a few weeks, he’ll release DSU on Orchid Tapes (his first official label release), and then maybe later in the year he’ll run for Congress and land on the moon, too. –Dean Essner

Listen:  “Harvey”

Buy:  Big Cartel

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the antlers - familiarsThe Antlers – Familiars

Release date:  June 17th via ANTI Records

Brooklyn trio The Antlers have long been characterized by their atmospheric and down-tempo melodies, and if “Hotel”, the first track off their fourth album, Familiars, is any indication, that trademark sound appears to uphold. Amid lazy horns and drawn-out synths, vocalist Peter Silberman croons desolately in the haunting ballad. The slow, churning sadness drips from the melody, giving listeners a glimpse into the heavy atmosphere sure to surround the record. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Hotel”

Buy:  Amazon

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how to dress well - what is this heartHow to Dress Well – What Is This Heart

Release date: June 24th via Weird World

“Words I Don’t Remember”, one of the singles pulled from What Is This Heart, finds Tom Krell (aka How to Dress Well) at one of his bleakest moments. At the forefront of the left-field R&B movement, lead singles from the LP hint at a more vocally focused direction; however, Krell maintains his wonky charm with plenty of reverb, delay, overdubs, and nape-tingling emotive echoes. –Derek Staples

Listen:  “Words I Don’t Remember”

Buy:  Amazon

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deadmau5 whileMastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun

Release date: June 24th via Reprise Records

Metal warlords Mastodon are back with their first album in four years. Once More ‘Round the Sun was recorded in Tenesse alongside super producer Nick Raskulinecz (Deftones, Rush, Alice in Chains). In an interview with Paste, frontman Troy Sanders described the end result as 60-or-so minutes of “pure, authentic Mastodon.” He continued, “A lot of people ask us if it kicks off where [2011’s] The Hunter left off. And to a large degree, I suppose yes. We recorded it and took it on the road with us, and then we headed back to our rehearsal space and started working out ideas. I’ve had a lot of time to ingest this record, and it’s solid. It’s a large slab of granite. I’m once again completely proud of these guys.” –Alex Young

Listen:  “High Road”

Buy:  Amazon

810ZKSuOG+L._SL1500_ Phish – Fuego

Release date: June 24th via JEMP Records

On June 24, Phish return with their new album, Fuego, via JEMP Records. The 10-track effort serves as their 12th LP to date and was produced by veteran studio genius Bob Ezrin (Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Pink Floyd). According to drummer Jon Fishman, it captures the legendary jam band’s live spirit better than any other release. –Michelle Geslani

Listen:  “The Line”

Buy:  Amazon
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sia - 1000 forms of fearSia – 1000 Forms of Fear

Release date: July 8th via RCA

Australian songwriter Sia is getting her own chance in front of the mic. Her newest album, 1000 Forms of Fear, features the mega hit “Chandelier”, which has become somewhat of an internet phenomenon in recent months. Premiering last month, the power ballad has racked up almost 13 million views on YouTube and features a mind-blowing performance from 11-year-old dance artist Maddie Ziegler. While Sia remains largely hidden from public eye (evident by her noticeable absence in the viral hit video), she outwardly employs this seclusion as the latest concept for the album. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Chandelier”

Buy:  Amazon

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la roux - trouble in paradiseLa Roux – Trouble in Paradise

Release date: July 15th via Interscope Records

Elly Jackson, the vocal force behind La Roux, let the world know she was “Bulletproof” back in 2009, but that skill didn’t make her immune to the struggles of stardom and the touring life. Now over the burnout and vocal fatigue of promoting her debut for two straight years, the songstress is looking toward the retro-futurism of the 1970’s for long-awaited sophomore full-length Trouble in Paradise. Just as many of these scientific ideals have failed to launch, so too do our own personal goals, as Jackson reflects on lead single “Let Me Down Gently”. –Derek Staples

Listen:  “Let Me Down Gently”

Buy:  Amazon

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antemasque The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Antemasque – Antemasque

Release date: July 15th (self-released)

Antemasque, the rock project featuring former Mars Volta bandleader Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Red Hot Chili Peppers bass god Flea, have already released three singles from their upcoming self-titled release. As the result of widespread fan support, the supergroup will release their album based on download popularity, with fans being able to purchase the album two weeks before its July 15th release. The snippets showcase the recognizably haunting vocals from Cedric Bixler-Zavala, as he wails over Flea’s low bass lines. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “4AM”

Buy:  Bandcamp

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03f7a1f1 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Morrissey – World Peace Is None of Your Business

Release date: July 15th via Harvest

Just because world peace is none of your business doesn’t mean it isn’t Morrissey’s. The former Smiths frontman is, perhaps, as well known for his outspoken, unfiltered persona as he is his solo material, but that still doesn’t devalue the importance of a new release by him. If he wanted to, Morrissey could retire at any moment and lead a fitfully busy life of philanthropy, diplomacy, and public kvetching. But thankfully he’s still making music. World peace can wait. –Dean Essner

Listen:  “World Peace Is None of Your Business”

Buy:  Amazon

woman's hour - conversationsWoman’s Hour – Conversations

Release date: July 15th via Secretly Canadian

Woman’s Hour have been building steady buzz with the release of dreamy synth tracks “Thunder” and “Darkest Place”, and now the London-based quartet is set to assuage fans’ anticipation with their debut album, Conversations. Steeped in alluring, ’80s-tinged riffs accompanied by the sugary vocals of Sarah Versprille, the track releases have rightfully garnered a mystic anticipation of the album. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Conversations”

Buy:  Amazon
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large_DC603White Fence – For Those Recently Found Innocent

Release date: July 22nd via Drag City

White Fence’s Tim Presley and Ty Segall are kindred spirits: they both hail from California, and they both make hazy, psychedelic rock with a noisy, from-the-garage touch. They’ll combine their talents for Presley’s upcoming album, To the Recently Found Innocent, which was produced by Segall, and will hopefully end up sounding, in some way, like their deliciously retro collaboration record, Hair, from 2012. –Dean Essner

Listen:  No tracks released yet

Buy:  Drag City

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jenny lewis the voyager1 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

Release date: July 29th via Warner Bros.

Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis has weathered a tumultuous year. After the breakup of her long-standing band and the death of her estranged father, the indie darling took to songwriting to pacify the grief. From that comes her third solo album, The Voyager, due out in July. As a long-anticipated follow-up to 2008’s Acid Tongue, the album features the production work of Ryan Adams and his collaborator Mike Viola, as well as Beck. Lewis explains, “This record was the hardest one I ever made. The Voyager tells that story: the longest night of my life and the journey to finally getting some rest.” –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Completely Not Me”

Buy:  Amazon

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shabazzpalaces lesemajesty 600px The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

Release date: July 29th via Sub Pop

It has been three years since Shabazz Palaces dropped their experimental hip-hop debut, Black Up. More than enough time for the duo to totally re-think their sound and approach. “I don’t know. I doubt that it will sound much like [Black Up],” stated Ishmael Butler about the recording of sophomore LP Lese Majesty. “We’ve left that. That [last album] is kind of far behind us now. There will be some similarities, I guess, because we are who we are. Other than that, it’s not gonna sound much like it at all.” That new aesthetic is obvious immediately from checking out the tracklist, which is broken into seven suites. Having already premiered the album in the live setting, reviews have been highly favorable — some even calling the album “the future of hip hop.” –Derek Staples

Listen:  “They Come in Gold”

Buy:  Amazon

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tompetty The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye

Release date: July 29th via Reprise Records

When you are pushing retirement age and are already a legend across rock music, you do what you want. For his 13th studio release, Tom Petty is doing just that: “I knew I wanted to do a rock & roll record,” Petty told Rolling Stone in April. “We hadn’t made a straight hard-rockin’ record, from beginning to end, in a long time.” Call it a possible midlife crisis, or just tag it as awesome, but Hypnotic Eye is promised to be a return to the band’s first two albums, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and You’re Gonna Get It! And the album can be seen live when Petty and co. hit the road this summer behind the new release. –Derek Staples

Listen:  Album teaser

Buy:  TBA

10 404 404 521 spiderbags 900px The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Spider Bags – Frozen Letter

Release date: August 5th via Merge Records

Now signed to Merge Records, North Carolina garage rock collective Spider Bags have also solidified their lineup around Frozen Letter. Dan McGee remains the frontman, but his cathartic vocal releases will now strike atop Steve Oliva (bass) and Rock Forbes (drums). Both pulled from the Shake My Head album and subsequent tour, the recording process of Frozen Letter was a continuation of the communal vibes they were feeling on the road. The result is set to be a psychedelic endeavor unlike the trio have ever released. –Derek Staples

Listen:  “Back with You Again in the World”

Buy:  TBA
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twin peaks wild onion The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014Twin Peaks – Wild Onion

Release date:  August 5th via Grand Jury Music

Chicago outfit Twin Peaks proved themselves to be more than just another skateboard punk assembly with the release of 2013’s Sunken, their impressive debut album. Built on hazy guitar binges and garage rock tremors, the album solidified the quartet in the ranks of Ty Segall and Black Lips. Luckily for fans, Twin Peaks carries forth their fuzzed-out sound with “Flavor”, a track off their sophomore effort, Wild Onion. Retaining much of the edginess and classic proto-punk sounds they championed, the group reveal a sunnier, more pop-tinged side that may potentially shape their upcoming release. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Flavor”

Buy:  Amazon
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jj1 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2014JJ – V

Release date: August 19th via Secretly Canadian/Sincerely Yours

Having released a number of singles over the past few months—including the darkly mysterious “VI”—Swedish pop duo JJ are ready to follow up their 2012 High Summer EP with V, out August via Secretly Canadian. Based on the tracks released so far (including the ambient ballad “Fagelsangen” and the mystical “Beautiful Life”), the pair look to champion their ominous and cryptic sensibility with their summer follow-up. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Fagelsangen”

Buy:  Secretly Canadian
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JuntoBasement Jaxx – Junto

Release date: August 25th via XL Recordings

In the nearly five years since Zephyr, Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe (the duo behind Bassment Jaxx) remained busy scoring films and producing an orchestral album in collaboration with the Metropole Orkest, but they never lost their love for the dance floor. Light, whimsical, and including a formidable cast of vocalists, the 13-track Junto is prime for summertime clubland and pool-side chaos. –Derek Staples

Listen:  “Unicorn”

Buy:  iTunes
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758aa8b26a19fe0d852d30086b8a2324.1000x1000x1Banks – Goddess

Release date: September 9th via Harvest

If what we’ve heard so far from L.A. songstress Banks is any indication, her debut album, Goddess, is set to be charged with darkly seductive undertones and propelled by her shadowy vocals. Already having released a string of tracks, including “Waiting Game”, Shlohmo-produced “Brain” and “Drowning”, the sultry R&B artist has affirmed her much talked-about sophomore effort will be dripping in digitized beats and ominous synths. It’s already been christened “Hottest Record in the World” by BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, heightening the fervent anticipation Goddess has already garnered. –Christina Salgado

Listen:  “Waiting Game”

Buy:  iTunes

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