Billie Eilish, Prince, and 19 more albums we can’t wait to hear in July

Billie Eilish, Prince, and 19 more albums we can’t wait to hear in July

Plus, new albums from Pop Smoke, Bleachers, Descendants, and more

Clockwise from top left: The Descendants (Photo: Lorne Thomson/Getty Images), Billie Eilish (Screenshot), Prince (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images), Yola (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images), and Leon Bridges (Photo: CBS/Getty Images)
Clockwise from top left: The Descendants (Photo: Lorne Thomson/Getty Images), Billie Eilish (Screenshot), Prince (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images), Yola (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images), and Leon Bridges (Photo: CBS/Getty Images)

Hot vaxx summer is in full swing, so it’s no surprise that a lot of people are turning to celebratory music to soundtrack the sweltering days and breezy nights. (If you’ve heard some old-school Madonna or Jay-Z blasting from car speakers these days, trust us, you’re far from alone.) And there’s a bevy of new releases to keep your desire for new music satiated in the month of July: Whether you’re looking to score some bass-rattling jams from Pop Smoke, indulge in the hyper-caffeinated blast of punk rock from longtime stalwarts the Descendants, or just soak in your feelings with the indie synth pop of Half Waif, the next 30 days have got you covered. (And get those listens in while you can, because by the end of the month, Billie Eilish is coming along to stomp all over absolutely everything else on the radio and streaming services with one of the most anticipated records of the year.)

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Pop Smoke, PS2 [TBD]

Pop Smoke, PS2 [TBD]

Pop Smoke in 2019
Pop Smoke in 2019
Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP (Getty Images)

After rapper Pop Smoke’s death in February last year, it was unclear how his debut album Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon would fare, having tragically become a posthumous release. But the record was a juggernaut: It’s hit the top of the Billboard charts 17 times since its July 2020 arrival, an achievement that hasn’t happened for 30 years. That success looks to continue with a new album being assembled by the late rapper’s manager, Rico Beats—and while details are sparse, love for the artist’s prodigious talent clearly isn’t in short supply. [Alex McLevy]

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At The Gates, The Nightmare Of Being [July 2]

At The Gates, The Nightmare Of Being [July 2]

Returning in 2014 after a 20-year hiatus that many assumed would never end, Swedish death metal legends At The Gates continue making up for lost time. Leaning heavier on hardcore than the band’s seminal 1995 album Slaughter Of The Soul, new album The Nightmare Of Being promises to slow things down a little. But judging by the first single, there’s still plenty of technical death metal theatrics, pounding upbeat snare hits, and vocal growls to bang your head to. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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Laura Mvula, Pink Noise [July 2]

Laura Mvula, Pink Noise [July 2]

Laura Mvula first popped back up (after a five-year absence) earlier this year with 1/f, a four-song EP that reworked several of her own songs into a glossy, ’80s dance-fest vibe. And now, with Pink Noise, Mvula looks poised to take that sensibility and blow it out into a dreamy throwback of disco grooves and Me Decade, sugar-rush bliss. The British singer obviously just wants you to dance—and over the course of these 10 songs, her enthusiasm is infectious. [Alex McLevy]

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The Go! Team, The Get Up Sequence Part One [July 2]

The Go! Team, The Get Up Sequence Part One [July 2]

After 2018’s Semicircle found The Go! Team shifting focus from the Brill Building pop of The Scene Between to a heavier (if less inspired) emphasis on ’70s soul and R&B (with band Svengalie Ian Parton even enlisting vocal help from the Detroit Youth Choir), it looks as though The Get Up Sequence Part One is continuing that progression. Lead single “A Bee Without Its Sting” calls back to Jackson 5-style melody and groove, while still retaining the unmistakable boisterous energy and signature collage-sound aesthetics on which The Go! Team has thrived. [Alex McLevy]

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Lana Del Rey, Blue Banisters [July 4]

Lana Del Rey, Blue Banisters [July 4]

If March’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club couldn’t recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle majesty of Norman Fucking Rockwell!, it’s also fair to say following up a masterpiece is never easy. Perhaps that was the record Lana Del Rey needed to get out of her system—we’ll know soon enough with the release of Blue Banisters, the singer’s second album of 2021 and one whose early singles, like “Text Book” and “Wildflower Wildfire,” maintain a spare, dramatic tone. It’s a notable—and welcome—stylistic shift from Chemtrails. [Alex McLevy]

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Frances Forever, Paranoia Party [July 9]

Frances Forever, Paranoia Party [July 9]

Frances Garrett adopted their stage name, Frances Forever, from a Mitski song, which tells you a lot about the 21-year-old’s sensibilities. Like Mitski, Frances Forever specializes in dynamic indie pop, but their music is overlaid with a wry sensibility that is theirs alone. After rising to fame on Spotify and TikTok with their song “Space Girl,” Frances Forever returns with a second EP, Paranoia Party, whose title song explores the highly relatable scenario of feeling awkward at a party with hilarious lines like “this couch smells like loving and dying and Bud Light.” Don’t mistake them for a novelty act, however—when it comes to songwriting, Frances Forever is the real deal. [Katie Rife]

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Half Waif, Mythopoetics [July 9]

Half Waif, Mythopoetics [July 9]

Nandi Rose Plunkett has been steadily accruing an impressively lush body of work under her Half Waif moniker, culminating in the expressive, Peter Gabriel-meets-Kate-Bush grooves of last year’s The Caretaker. That sensibility has blossomed into an even more bombastic version of itself on Mythopoetics, whose singles all suggest the musician has stripped some of the more art-damaged elements in favor of an even more theatrical and grandiloquent compositional technique—an artist confidently embracing her strengths, then playing to them. [Alex McLevy]

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Inhaler, It Won’t Always Be Like This [July 9]

Inhaler, It Won’t Always Be Like This [July 9]

Those looking for an inheritor to The Cure could do worse than turn their attention to Inhaler, the Irish four-piece who are planting a flag firmly in the ’80s with a fusion of anthemic arena rock and Brit-pop melancholy. Inhaler is almost ridiculously adept at cranking out the kinds of head-nodding, volume-up pop rock that never really goes out of style. And if you’re wondering why the singer sounds so familiar, there’s a reason for that—but seriously, don’t hold it against them, though some of us wish we could. Too bad they’re so good at what they do. [Alex McLevy]

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Tkay Maidza, Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3 [July 9]

Tkay Maidza, Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3 [July 9]

Australian singer and rapper Tkay Maidza already locked up a spot on 2021’s list of great bops (and great videos) with February’s “Kim,” but with the third and final installment of her Last Year Was Weird mixtape series, the musician completes her wonderfully weird and entrancing collection of neo-soul and hip-hop. Look for the record to again alternate between silken R&B grooves (as on single “Cashmere”) and the ferocious thumps like “Syrup,” where Maidza demonstrates why she deserves all the accolades. [Alex McLevy]

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A Place To Bury Strangers, Hologram [July 16]

A Place To Bury Strangers, Hologram [July 16]

Once hailed as “the loudest band in New York,” A Place To Bury Strangers has been silent since 2018. That changes with Hologram, a new five-song EP introducing two new members, Ceremony East Coast’s John and Sandra Fedowitz, to the group. John Fedowitz and bandleader Oliver Ackermann have shared musical origins playing together in the ’90s shoegaze band Skywave; their reunion is appropriately loud, burying dreamy melodies under layers of squalling, metallic noise label Dedstrange accurately describes as “chaotically apocalyptic.” [Katie Rife]

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Clairo, Sling [July 16]

Clairo, Sling [July 16]

Clairo indicated a tender new beginning with her single “Blouse,” a more delicate, acoustic track than the singer has ever shared. She teamed up with Jack Antonoff for Sling, departing from Rostam Batmanglij, who co-produced her debut album Immunity. The album cover features her holding her pup Joanie, who she says is “the star of the show,” and since entering her life “forced [her] to face [her] own thoughts about parenthood and what it would mean… stories as lessons, regrets as remorse… thinking about something/someone before yourself.” A sweet album all about the love a puppy brings into one’s life? Absolutely. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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Rodrigo Amarante, Drama [July 16]

Rodrigo Amarante, Drama [July 16]

Drama may be the first solo album from Rodrigo Amarante since 2014’s Cavalo, but the Brazilian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist hasn’t exactly been taking it easy. Along with composing theme songs for shows like Narcos and scoring films like 7 Days In Entebbe, the former guitarist for Los Hermanos and Little Joy has been building a collection of soulful tracks, as evidenced by single “I Can’t Wait.” His rich voice and inventive, genre-crossing arrangements make for music that remains as vital as ever. [Alex McLevy]

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Chet Faker, Hotel Surrender [July 16]

Chet Faker, Hotel Surrender [July 16]

Yes, after supposedly retiring it back in the middle of the decade, Nick Murphy’s Chat Faker moniker has returned—and with it, a new album’s worth of grooves, atmospheric melodies, and supple vocals. He resuscitated the name late last year with the loping, Gorillaz-esque jam “Low,” and now Hotel Surrender promises to provide a full-length display of the musician’s knack for addictive, soulful bops, all accompanied by his silken baritone. [Alex McLevy]

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Descendents, 9th & Walnut [July 23]

Descendents, 9th & Walnut [July 23]

The missing link in the Descendents’ discography, 9th & Walnut lets fans hear the band’s formative moments, when they were just a group of teenagers and Tony Lombardo, a thirtysomething mailman. The songs, written at the band’s SoCal practice space in between 1977 and 1980 and recorded in 2002 by the band’s original lineup, is a step into the past. Scrappier than the Descendents’ post-’96 releases, the album is a must for everyone who prefers Milo Goes To College over Everything Sucks. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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Leon Bridges, Gold-Diggers Sound [July 23]

Leon Bridges, Gold-Diggers Sound [July 23]

If there’s one thing we can reliably count on from American soul singer Leon Bridges, it’s that any new release should fall squarely in the tradition of old-school rhythm and blues balladeers, the genre in which Bridges has firmly established his command of singer-songwriter poetics. Like a younger, rawer John Legend, the musician seems to effortlessly conjure the sounds of yesteryear, albeit dressed up in slick, modern production values—and Gold-Diggers Sound should be no exception. [Alex McLevy]

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Samia, Scout [July 23]

Samia, Scout [July 23]

Samia’s debut LP The Baby was one of the best, deeply underrated indie releases of 2020. She’s an excellent songwriter, and songs like “Pool” and “Is There Something In The Movies?” linger long after your first listen. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long for new music from Samia: She’s following up her debut with EP Scout, featuring songs that carry the capacity to fuck you up as much as the ones on The Baby, including an excellent cover of When In Rome’s “The Promise.” If you haven’t checked out her music yet, please don’t sleep on Samia. [Tatiana Tenreyro]

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Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever [July 30]

Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever [July 30]

Unless you’ve been deliberately avoiding all entertainment news media for the past couple of months, you’re likely already aware: Billie Eilish is releasing the follow-up to her smash critical and commercial debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and anticipation is high. She may be sporting new blond hair, but the sound of early single “Lost Cause” is unmistakably Eilish: the quietly intense vocals; the understated, jazzy arrangement; the lacerating lyrics… it’s all there. We’ll know soon enough if the rest follows suit. [Alex McLevy]

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Bleachers, Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night [July 30]

Bleachers, Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night [July 30]

It’s never not the ’80s in Jack Antonoff’s heart, it seems. Much as with previous Bleachers albums Strange Desire and Gone Now, the busy producer and musician has crafted an assortment of bouncy, retro anthems engineered to summon up visions of romantic summer nights, the open road, and a high school drama student diary’s worth of angst and longing. Antonoff’s day job may involve crafting hits for the biggest pop stars on the planet, but it’s clear his true love will forever be being onstage in a small Jersey dive bar, trying to write the perfect pop-rock song. [Alex McLevy]

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LUMP, Animal [July 30]

LUMP, Animal [July 30]

Text floats atop subtext, the familiar arrives before the uncanny on Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay’s second LP together as LUMP. As on their 2018 self-titled album, Animal combines seemingly contradictory sensibilities: Advance singles “Animal” and “Climb Every Wall” are both dark and playful, visceral while sounding utterly controlled. The first gestures toward wildness without manifesting it completely; on the second, Marling again prods clichéd turns of phrase for what else they might give up. It’s all mirrored in the pair’s vocals: While Marling sings, a barely perceptible Lindsay whispers beneath her. [Laura Adamczyk]

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Prince, Welcome 2 America [July 30]

Prince, Welcome 2 America [July 30]

If the words “new album of previously unreleased Prince music” don’t get you at least curious, we don’t know what to tell you; a posthumous album pulled from the vaults of one of the greatest (and most prolific) pop songwriters of the past 50 years is an automatic must-hear. The 12-track album was recorded by Prince in 2010, and a quote from the late artist about it is vague, at best: “The world is fraught with misin4mation. George Orwell’s vision of the future is here. We need 2 remain steadfast in faith in the trying times ahead.” The lead single is… dreadful, to be frank, but come on: It’s Prince. [Alex McLevy]

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Torres, Thirstier [July 30]

Torres, Thirstier [July 30]

How to put this simply: Torres’ new album is ready to kick some ass. As demonstrated by lead single “Don’t Go Puttin’ Wishes In My Head,” Mackenzie Scott has evolved from the more jagged and art-rock elements of previous albums into something arena-worthy. That’s not to say she’s left behind the raw, agent provocateur lyricism or the bursts of unusual instrumentation—just that ’90s-style alt-rock anthems suit her well, and Thirstier, her most accessible record yet, deserves an equally broad audience to finally discover her. [Alex McLevy]

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Yola, Stand For Myself [July 30]

Yola, Stand For Myself [July 30]

With a spirited debut and four Grammy nominations under her belt, Yola’s sophomore effort buzzes with the impassioned energy of an artist finally holding the reins to her career. Reuniting with producer Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), the signer-songwriter fuses her established country-soul palate with the vibrant grooves of ’70s rock for a nostalgic sound that nevertheless feel timely and urgent. Though she’s always delivered with dexterous vocals, Stand For Myself is proof that Yola’s now in control of her voice. [Cameron Scheetz]

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