In the increasingly fractured song-of-summer race, there’s no use fighting “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X’s irresistible country-trap sensation that has managed to stave off new singles from Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. But when it comes to albums, there are plenty of music alternatives to be excited about beyond the top 40, including critically acclaimed efforts from Vampire Weekend, The National and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Here are 10 more under-the-radar albums to look out for this summer:
Silversun Pickups, ‘Widow’s Weeds’ (June 7)
The L.A. rockers enlisted producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins) for their pulsating fifth album, which was inspired in part by personal loss and lead singer Brian Aubert’s decision to get sober.
Yeasayer, ‘Erotic Reruns’ (June 7)
The Brooklyn trio’s latest nine-song album is a heady, sardonic reflection on love in uncertain times, blending wonky funk rock and synth-y dream pop on early singles “I’ll Kiss You Tonight” and “Let Me Listen In On You.”
Bastille, ‘Doom Days’ (June 14)
After peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100 with Marshmello’s crossover dance hit “Happier,” Bastille singer Dan Smith returns with a cinematic third album, which tackles modern anxieties about climate change, “fake news” and the need for connection in a screen-addicted world.
Bruce Springsteen, ‘Western Stars’ (June 14)
New Jersey’s finest has gone country on his first album in five years, a collection of 13 character-driven songs exploring familiar themes of hope, home and community against the backdrop of the American West.
The Black Keys, ‘Let’s Rock’ (June 28)
Ohio rock duo Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach poke fun at their hiatus on their first new album in five years. The break, a result of “PTSD” from excessive touring, Carney told Rolling Stone, is explored in part on the blistering new single “Go,” which depicts them going to band therapy.
Of Monsters and Men, ‘Fever Dream’ (July 26)
The Icelandic quintet take a hard left turn from the folk pop of their 2013 hit “Little Talks,” dipping their toes into hard-driving rock on spirited new song “Alligator.”
Lana Del Rey, ‘Norman F***ing Rockwell’ (TBD)
We have a cheeky album title and promised release time frame of mid-2019. Now all we need is more music, which promises to be some of Del Rey’s most ambitious yet, if early singles such as the mournful “Mariners Apartment Complex” and nine-minute “Venice B****” are any indication of what’s to come.
Tame Impala, TBD
Australian rocker Kevin Parker has been doling out a string of reliably heady, dreamy singles this year, in addition to appearances at Coachella and on “Saturday Night Live.” With a lengthy summer tour already mapped out, it’s only a matter of time until his band releases a fourth album of danceable psych-pop to soundtrack the season.
After amassing more than 1 billion Spotify streams worldwide, the brooding L.A. songstress returned with hypnotic new single “Gimme” last month, which promises an even darker, sexier new direction on her upcoming third album. It’s set for a midsummer release.
FKA Twigs, TBD
The genre-bending British artist has once again proven herself a singular talent, making her long-awaited comeback last month with the trippy, devastating video for “Cellophane.” The single, a feat of physical and vocal acrobatics, marks her first new music since splitting from ex-fiance Robert Pattinson (“Twilight” films) in 2017. The creative powerhouse is now in the midst of a 10-date tour where she has unveiled a handful of spellbinding new songs as she inhabits polarizing figures such as Mary Magdalene.
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