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The 17 most-anticipated albums of July

Syd of The Internet (Photo: Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images), George Clarke of Deafheaven (Photo: David A. Smith/Getty Images), and Angus Andrew of Liars (Photo: Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images). Graphic: Natalie Peeples
Syd of The Internet (Photo: Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images), George Clarke of Deafheaven (Photo: David A. Smith/Getty Images), and Angus Andrew of Liars (Photo: Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images). Graphic: Natalie Peeples
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Relative to June’s torrent of music, July is a light month, at least until the surprise releases start dropping. But there’s still plenty of good stuff to get excited about: In addition to new albums from Dirty Projectors, The Internet, and Deafheaven, we’re looking forward to Liars’ final project together, a mini-LP from Laurel Halo, Lotic’s proper full-length debut, and Pram’s overdue return. Here are the 17 records we’re most looking forward to in July.

July 6

Michael Beharie and Teddy Rankin-Parker, A Heart From Your Shadow

Although they’ve known each other for more than 10 years, multi-instrumentalist Michael Beharie (Laurel Halo) and cellist Teddy Rankin-Parker (Iron & Wine, Pauline Oliveros) join forces for the first time on A Heart From Your Shadow. Drawing from the duo’s combined experience in electronic, avant-garde, pop, and film music, their unpredictable compositions occupy an affecting space between beauty and dread. In lead single “Roses,” for example, a frantic-yet-melancholy kosmische melody drops off dramatically, giving rise to soothing synth exhales then distorted chaos before returning once more. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Bodega, Endless Scroll

Since growing out of the band formerly known as Bodega Bay and polishing their sound, the Brooklyn post punks of Bodega have been building up buzz with shows alongside the likes of Protomartyr and La Luz. Now, they’ve signed with label What’s Your Rupture?, which helped Parquet Courts and Iceage break out, and on Endless Scroll, produced by Parquet Courts’ Austin Brown, they’re putting forth a debut full of danceable, pop-smooth punk with an occasional anti-consumerist bent. [Matt Gerardi]

RP Boo, I’ll Tell You What

The redevelopment of footwork into an album genre continues with the first proper LP from Kavain “RP Boo” Space, one of the founders of the Chicago-born sound. (The earlier full-lengths Legacy and Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints were compilations of previously released material.) Known for its frenetic digital percussion, dynamic repetitions, and minimalist cut-ups, footwork has evolved and expanded globally since Space began releasing singles in the 1990s. But if the preview track “Back From The Future” is any indication, the producer remains committed to the genre’s synthetic edge, and its ability to conjure an unfamiliar sonic world from unresolved samples and electronic sounds. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Bjørn Torske, Byen

Norwegian producer Bjørn Torske is one of the leading Northern lights of that breed of charmingly breezy house music dubbed “nu-disco,” a sound built on gently funky bass lines and propulsive dance-floor rhythms that’s arguably better suited for blissing out than busting a move. Torske’s new Byen, his first solo album in eight years, is another spaced-out cosmic wonder, but the airy electric piano riffs and minor-key synth melodies on lead single “Clean Air” point toward a more ambient, introspectively layered version of his usual lying-prone body-moving music. [Sean O’Neal]

July 13

Chastity, Death Lust

Chastity is Brandon Williams, a Canadian with a penchant for big, loud guitar rock that comprises punk, hardcore, and ’90s alt stalwarts like Smashing Pumpkins and Hum. The upcoming Death Lust has far less polish than the output of those bands, and it’s distinctly more politically and socially conscious. (Just check out Chastity’s Twitter feed.) The haunting video for “Children” was inspired by police brutality in Ontario, and the song, like the rest of Death Lust, aims to unsettle as much as “rock.” [Kyle Ryan]

Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Five years after Sunbather made a giant crossover splash, earning adoration from indie kids and “die hipster” scorn from purists, Deafheaven aims to put the “heaven” back into its hybrid sound. “Honeycomb” and “Canary Yellow,” the two released songs off the new album, are brighter than anything from 2015’s New Bermuda; they feature passages of upbeat noodling and post-rock melodiousness that would be right at home on the band’s revered breakthrough. Featuring guest vocals from doom-folk troubadour Chelsea Wolfe, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love could bewitch fans and infuriate detractors anew, dragging black metal once more into the shimmering California sun. [A.A. Dowd]

Dirty Projectors, Lamp Lit Prose

Just a little over a year ago, Dirty Projectors seemed done for as a band: David Longstreth was contemplating the death of indie rock on Instagram while releasing a desperate Tumblr post of a breakup album that took Dirty Projectors back to its solo-project roots (give or take some creepily repurposed samples of Amber Coffman’s voice). In 2018, the claustrophobia of Dirty Projectors has given way to Lamp Lit Prose, which brings live vocal harmonies and the Swing Lo Magellan-era rhythm section of Nat Baldwin and Mike Johnson back into the mix, along with a roster of guest performers that includes Haim, Rostam Batmanglij, and Longstreth’s partner in headline-grabbing midlife crises, Robin Pecknold. The frontman sounds positively re-energized on “Break-Thru,” the springy, fingerpicking lead single that marks Lamp Lit Prose as the dewy summer dawn following Dirty Projectors’ dark night of the soul. [Erik Adams]

Laurel Halo, Raw Silk Uncut Wood

Coming on the heels of 2017’s warped-pop deconstruction Dust, Laurel Halo’s new mini-album, Raw Silk Uncut Wood, feels like the work of another artist completely—typical of Halo, who tends to play around with genres the way other electronic artists do synth patches. This time her muse is film scores, an outgrowth of her recent compositions for the documentary Possessed, with Halo offering her own spin on purely ambient music with the help of in-demand cellist Oliver Coates (Mica Levi’s Under The Skin, Jonny Greenwood’s Phantom Thread, Radiohead’s A Moon-Shaped Pool). On the 10-minute title track, Coates’ cello sawing dips in and out of a vast star field of twinkling synths and organ drone, creating a mood that’s uncommonly stilling—the one connecting through-line of Halo’s sound. [Sean O’Neal]

Lotic, Power

On their debut full-length, Power, Houston-born, Berlin-based producer Lotic evolves past the dark difficulty of 2015 mixtape Agitations in search of light and empowerment. Though still rooted in deconstructed club music, Power looks to Texan marching bands—“Basically Beychella, that was my childhood,” Lotic recently told Dazed—and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me for inspiration. Lead single “Hunted” strikes an alluring balance between sensuality and violence, with Lotic delivering a gut punch in a disarming whisper: “Brown skin masculine frame, head’s a target / Acting real feminine, make ’em vomit.” [Kelsey J. Waite]

Tanukichan, Sundays

Hannah van Loon cut her teeth in San Francisco indie outfit Trails And Ways, then struck out on her own a couple of years back with Tanukichan. A debut EP, Radiolove, followed in 2016, but Sundays marks her first full-length. Going solo doesn’t mean van Loon is alone: Thanks to a mutual friend, she met Chaz Bear of Toro Y Moi, who ended up performing on and producing Sundays. The result is airy, bright indie pop that suits its summertime release. [Kyle Ryan]

July 20

Forma, Semblance

Electronic trio Forma began incorporating more acoustic instrumentation on 2016’s Physicalist, adding flutes and pianos to its usual mix of pulsing analog synths. Its fourth album, Semblance, heads even further in that direction, bringing in live drums, saxophone, and guitar to create music that it says will “broaden the idea of what an electronic music ensemble can sound like” (largely by making some of it on not-at-all-electronic instruments). “Three-Two” delivers on that promised directness, a bit of breathing, burbling kosmische that scatters unpredictable synth pings and soars over a propulsive beat, before a mid-song breakdown suddenly blossoms into a lovely swell of sax notes and breaking waves. [Sean O’Neal]

The Internet, Hive Mind

Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians’ The Internet was one of the most curious acts to come out of the Odd Future collective. Its 2011 debut—which coincided with Syd stepping away from her position as the group’s DJ—isn’t full of abrasive, lean hip-hop but gentle, ponderous R&B. Over its next two albums, the group grew in poise and songcraft, culminating in 2015’s Ego Death, a confident, emotional breakthrough that saw Syd coming into her own as a singer and lyricist and the band reining its sound into something sleeker and catchier. Three years, a few solo projects, and dizzyingly funky singles like “Roll (Burbank Funk)” later, Hive Mind has all the potential to be yet another huge step for the young group. [Matt Gerardi]

Liars, 1/1 OST

The core Liars duo of Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill amicably parted ways after 2014’s Mess, but before breaking up, the two of them recorded the soundtrack to the upcoming psychological drama 1/1—Liars’ first film score and, now, the final work Andrew and Hemphill made together. The music became such a profoundly important piece of the film that director Jeremy Phillips actually shaped scenes around it, an unusual accommodation that speaks to just how much of the tension and mood is captured in Liars’ sound. The score offers a slightly gentler, more spacious form of Liars’ haunted drone rock, leaving plenty of room for pensive strings and heavily sustained piano notes among the watery, staticky beats and cavernous synths, and only rarely adding Andrew’s vocals to the mix. Still, it’s a welcome farewell from one of the most adventurous and idiosyncratic duos in modern music. [Sean O’Neal]

Pram, Across The Meridian

Mining a similar love of krautrock and lounge-y exotica as its former labelmate Stereolab—but filtered through an extra layer of batshit—Pram never really rose above cult favorite across its decades-long run, the group’s free-form, childish whimsy and bizarro lyrics proving too off-putting for most. The new Across The Meridian, Pram’s first in 11 years, certainly doesn’t do away with any of that, but it does continue a refinement begun with 2007’s The Moving Frontier, again taking those alien sounds and giving them a more accessible approach. There’s still plenty of otherworldly atmosphere on lead single “Shimmer And Disappear,” an instrumental track that sounds like an entire 1960s afternoon of jazzy, genre-spanning TV themes playing in tandem, but it has an easy flow, as engrossing as anything the band has ever produced. [Sean O’Neal]

Skeletonwitch, Devouring Radiant Light

Devouring Radiant Light isn’t just the first full-length Skeletonwitch album in five years. It’s also the Ohio blackened-thrash outfit’s first LP without lead singer and founding member Chance Garnette, who was kicked out of the band a couple years ago and whose party-animal, vaguely tongue-in-cheek stage persona (“This next song is about not going to church,” is the type of thing he was prone to screeching) shaped its rollicking identity. With Wolvhammer’s Adam Clemans assuming frontman duties, Skeletonwitch appears to be leaning into the black-metal side of its sound—at least judging from the uncharacteristically melodic, downbeat, and sweeping lead single “Fen Of Shadows.” [A.A. Dowd]

Ty Segall And White Fence, Joy

Ty Segall and Tim “White Fence” Presley’s first collaborative album feels like it was a lifetime ago. Back in 2012, Segall had yet to really grow out of his wild, fuzzed-out garage rocker phase, and Hair sounded like the odd, thrilling collision that it was: Segall’s fast, ramshackle rock duking it out with Presley’s languid psychedelia. The most interesting question about their new project, Joy, is how they’ll gel after all these years, and after Segall’s solo work has softened and, occasionally, sounded a lot more like White Fence than the Ty of old. [Matt Gerardi]

July 27

Ross From Friends, Family Portrait

Let’s get this out of the way: The name is terrible, an annoying wink aimed squarely at an audience of BuzzFeed quiz-taking Tumblr addicts. But the music British producer Felix Clary Weatherall makes as Ross From Friends is anything but—a woozy concoction of nostalgic house beats and R&B samples filtered through vaporwave’s hiss and knowing cheesiness, but composed with an emotive elegance that transcends ironic memes. Flying Lotus certainly thinks so: He signed Weatherall to his Brainfeeder imprint, releasing the Aphelion EP earlier this year and now his full-length debut. Like those four Aphelion tracks, Family Portrait makes a convincing argument for taking Ross From Friends seriously, the VHS wobbles, muted techno beats, and alternately soaring and drowning synths of songs like “Project Cybersyn” overcoming any “We were on a break!” jokes. [Sean O’Neal]