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Run The Jewels, HAIM, and 15 more albums we can’t wait to hear in June

From left: El-P and Killer Mike of Run The Jewels (Photo: Simone Joyner/Getty Images); Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim of HAIM (Photos: Tim Mosenfelder and Jason Koerner/Getty Images), Neil Young (Photo: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
From left: El-P and Killer Mike of Run The Jewels (Photo: Simone Joyner/Getty Images); Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim of HAIM (Photos: Tim Mosenfelder and Jason Koerner/Getty Images), Neil Young (Photo: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
Graphic: Natalie Peeples
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Now that it’s June, that makes it summer according to our calendar, and with the changing of the season comes a veritable explosion of new music. To help you enjoy the hot weather (or take your mind off of it, depending on your feelings about sweltering temperatures), here are some of The A.V. Club’s most anticipated records set to be released this month. (As always, keep in mind that COVID-19 continues to create delays in scheduled release dates.) From the latest new sounds by HAIM to some old-school Neil Young tunes finally seeing the light of day, there’s something here for all tastes and seasons.

June 3

Run The Jewels, RTJ4

Seven years in, we know what to expect from a Run The Jewels album: righteous anger, witty punchlines, exuberant verses, all on top of El-P’s industrial, sci-fi beats. With their much-anticipated fourth studio album—predictably titled RTJ4—Killer Mike and El-P’s hip-hop superduo show little signs of deviating from that formula, but that’s not really a bad thing. The album’s first single, the hard-hitting “Yankee And The Brave (ep. 4),” showcases that consistency with aplomb. [Baraka Kaseko]

June 5

Hinds, The Prettiest Curse

Spanish garage-rock queens Hinds get a little hi-fi on The Prettiest Curse, their third album following up 2018’s I Don’t Run. The term is relative, of course; there’s still a deeply satisfying guitar squall behind the bratty, Breeders-esque taunting of “Just Like Kids (Miau)” and the shiny psychedelic sheen on “Good Bad Times.” But the more polished production does undoubtedly bring the pop hooks to the surface, for a listening experience that shows off the group’s songwriting chops as well as their rock ’n’ roll attitude. [Katie Rife]

Momma, Two Of Me

L.A.’s Momma is often described as “grunge-pop,” but that’s misleading; distorted guitars don’t equal grunge, any more than a slow tempo equals doom metal. No, the band—led by co-singer/guitarists Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten—sounds more akin to old-school midtempo alt-rock, fused to the ambient fuzz of ’90s acts like Helium. The mood is often somber, the vocals quiet but passionate, and the concept (the record is about a fictional purgatory world called the Bug House) heady. It’s a potent mix that should net Momma plenty of attention. [Alex McLevy]

Muzz, Muzz

Ever-restless Interpol frontman Paul Banks embarks on a new side project with Muzz, which pairs Banks with The Walkmen drummer Matt Barrick and Josh Kaufman of folk group Bonny Light Horseman, whose self-titled debut album was released back in February. Each group’s sound weaves in and out of Muzz’s various singles: “Knuckleduster” swirls together post-punk guitar with crisp, precise drumming, while “Bad Feeling” offers up a looser indie-rock tempo and “Red Western Sky” filters an upbeat folk-rock tune through the fuzzy atmospherics that are a signature of Banks’ main gig. [Katie Rife]

June 12

Norah Jones, Pick Me Up Off The Floor

The first song from Norah Jones’ latest album bodes well for the release: “I’m Alive” is a collaboration between Jones and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who adds a much welcome twang to Jones’ silky vocals and delicate piano playing. Repetitive, minimalist insular tracks like “Were You Watching” and “Tryin’ To Keep It Together” could have used some of that grit, but in these claustrophobic times, Jones fans may just be happy enough to have her familiar soothing lyricism envelop them for an album’s worth. [Gwen Ihnat]

Paul Weller, On Sunset

Paul Weller’s latest, only two years after his previous release True Meanings and back at his old home Polydor, displays an artist with a decades-long career still looking toward new musical horizons. The former angry young man of The Jam and The Style Council is now delving into the orchestral sounds that synthesizers and multiple tracks can bring, his familiar voice sounding as strong as ever on trippy, poppy space-age cuts like “Village” and “Earth Beat.” The 62-year-old plans a U.K. tour this fall. [Gwen Ihnat]

June 19

Bob Dylan, Rough And Rowdy Ways

The first collection of new Bob Dylan compositions since 2012’s The Tempest announced itself in suitably Bob Dylan fashion: Nearly 17 minutes of free associative Americana running through the lens of Abraham Zapruder’s Zoomatic called “Murder Most Foul.” With that requiem for JFK (and so much more) on the tracklist, Rough And Rowdy Ways could only be a double album, one that pairs “Murder Most Foul” with another alternately sly-and-meditative bookend, “I Contain Multitudes,” and finds the Nobel laureate rooting a bluesy chug in an old Billy “The Kid” Emerson side for “False Prophet.” [Erik Adams]

Neil Young, Homegrown

The appeal is self-explanatory: A famously unreleased record shelved by Neil Young back in 1974 (It’s a breakup album, which is why Young says he couldn’t bear to listen to it, instead locking it away all this time), Homegrown is of a piece with Harvest and Comes A Time, a document of an artist at the height of his powers. In addition to subsequently released (albeit in different versions) songs like “Love Is A Rose” and “Little Wing,” seven of the tracks have never seen the light of day, and are powerfully intimate. It’s a mid-’70s Neil Young record. ’Nuff said. [Alex McLevy]

Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher 

Phoebe Bridgers’ music sounds sad, yes, and much of it is sad, but dig deeper into the rising songwriter’s lyrics and you’ll smile at her clever wordplay, tender observations, and self-aware humor. Her Stranger In The Alps follow-up features a number of notable guests, from Conor Oberst and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner to her boygenius comrades Julian Baker and Lucy Dacus. And, as gauzy as much of these new songs are, pre-release single “Kyoto” represents a bold step forward for Bridgers’ songwriting, its storm of horns and driving percussion revealing a new dynamism to the singer’s subtle vocal work. [Randall Colburn]

Jessie Ware, What’s Your Pleasure?

With powerhouse vocals and an aversion to obvious pop music trends, Jessie Ware has become something of a chameleonic chanteuse. Her fourth album, What’s Your Pleasure?, showcases the artist in full disco diva mode, a new groove well-suited to her soulful sound. This is showcased in the glamorous “Spotlight,” which finds her silky voice gliding over strings and a funky bass line zapped here straight from the early days of Studio 54. What’s Your Pleasure? feels destined to finally wake up non-fans and get them on the dance floor. [Cameron Scheetz]

June 20

Mac DeMarco, Here Comes The Cowboy Demos and Other Here Comes The Cowboy Demos  

While countless artists have “gone country,” finding influence in the quintessential sounds of traditional American folk and blues music, indie crooner Mac DeMarco sees “country” as more of a mindset than an overt aesthetic. Now, he’s inviting fans into the home on the range of his mind, letting them listen in on the recording process of his laidback, laconic 2019 LP. Here Comes The Cowboy Demos dusts off the early versions of each song, while Other Here Comes The Cowboy Demos celebrates this year’s COVID-19-delayed Record Store Day with a new collection of alternate and unreleased tracks. [Cameron Scheetz]

June 26

Arca, KiCk i

The Venezuelan avant-pop artist reaches a new stage of creativity with KiCk i, an ambitious stew of wildly disparate styles embracing everything from trance to noise to sweetly engineered melody. (Fittingly, Bjork is one of the guest artists on the release.) Not just a document of her struggle to reconcile her Latinx trans identity with her heritage, the release also reconciles the various experimental musical avenues she’s traveled down in recent years, turning her “Nonbinary” statement into a declaration of both personal and musical intent. [Alex McLevy]

Bell Witch And Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1

Mirror Reaper, from Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, was one of the great metal albums of the last decade—a gorgeously depressive eulogy for co-founding bandmate Adrian Guerra, who died in 2016. For the follow-up to that crushingly sad 80-minute dirge, bassist Dylan Desmond and drummer Jesse Shreibman team with Portland dark folk artist Erik Moggridge (a.k.a. Aerial Ruin) for some comparably slim downers. (The longest track runs a brisk 19-and-a-half minutes.) Moggridge, who’s guested on all three of the band’s previous records, supplies his signature haunting croon and delicate acoustic plucking, but this remains very much a Bell Witch album: deafeningly melancholic, crumbling every headstone in the cemetery. [A.A. Dowd]

HAIM, Women In Music Pt. III

Fire up “The Steps,” “I Know Alone,” and “Summer Girl” and the first thing you’re likely to notice is how loose HAIM sounds. The trio’s vivid harmonies and pop hooks are still there, but the squeaky clean production of 2017’s Something To Tell You is absent from the majority of these tracks, a suitable shift considering the weightiness of the lyrics. Danielle Haim recently revealed to the BBC that a handful of the LP’s songs were born from her own struggles with depression, and that the band sought not to overthink these tracks before releasing them. “We were trying to break down the barrier of sounding like we were in the studio,” she says. The result is moving and invigorating, a sonic nod to their roots that still represents their growth as songwriters. [Randall Colburn]

Khruangbin, Mordechai

The Houston-based purveyor of dreamy soul-funk has evolved yet again on its new record. Instead of merely incorporating the sounds of its international influences—East Asian surf-rock, Jamaican dub, and more—Mordechai finds bassist Laura Lee Ochoa and her bandmates layering vocals over the previously largely instrumental grooves, creating a more forthright and emotional thread to the world-music psychedelica vibe. From the French New Wave sounds to ’70s get-down grooves like “So We Won’t Forget,” it looks to be further evidence of the group’s restless creative muse paying off. [Alex McLevy]

Becca Mancari, The Greatest Part

Whereas her debut album, 2017’s Good Woman, hewed pretty closely to the Southern roots-rock jangle of contemporaries like Hiss Golden Messenger or fellow Bermuda Triangle bandmate Brittany Howard, Becca Mancari looks to be expanding her sonic palette on The Greatest Part. The Nashville musician dives into a jagged, hypnotic groove on new single “Hunter,” suggesting elements of St. Vincent-like eruptions into her soulful, low-key crooning. But it’s not all new: “First Time” is a classic country ramble. One thing consistent throughout it all? Mancari’s raw, lacerating lyrics. [Alex McLevy]

Pyrrhon, Abscess Time 

If you could somehow make real a hysterical parent’s abstract impression of heavy metal—you know, that unholy noise sending kids down the road to damnation—it might sound something like the ferocious shit-fits of Pyrrhon. This New York outfit plays a particularly chaotic, alienating, and—to the right listener—thrilling variety of technical death metal. “Another Day In Paradise,” the lead single off upcoming fourth LP Abscess Time, commences with a sample of dialogue from Sidney Lumet’s Network—a sign that there’s some political motive underpinning the band’s typically fearsome cacophony. Mostly, though, it will just rip your damn face off. [A.A. Dowd]