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10 Summer Records You Must Hear

Thee Oh Sees


(out now)

More twisted, dirty, throwback garage rock, tempered (if unabashed) Anglophilia, and psychedelic twisting from the beautifully damaged mind of San Francisco underground rock auteur John Dwyer and his band. Thee Oh Sees are so obviously in their realm, not only in terms of how to make offbeat records in terms of style and material but also in how to make records sound weird, old, and awesome. This one does not let down in any of these areas. Vinyl freaks, take note: Grab the two-LP version that’s set for playback at 45 rpm.


Beastie Boys

Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2

(out now)

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d previously stamped them with a “best before 1994” expiration date, but I’ve been proven wrong, and 30 years into their existence, the Beasties have made their best record since the early 1990s. A gripping, sharp, smart rhyme-fest buoyed by funky breaks and the kind of stylistically across-the-boards feel that made Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head legendary, Hot Sauce delivers the goods. Ad Rock, MCA, and Mike Diamond are getting older and better.


My Morning Jacket


(out this week)

Erik Roesser—Western New York-based guitar slinger, highly opinionated music fan, and manager/booker of favored local music joint Mohawk Place (where My Morning Jacket once played)—might have called out MMJ’s latest to perfection: “It’s like Radiohead plays the Band,” he said. There’s something to be said about the nature of Jim James and My Morning Jacket’s new one, which mines their own unique brand of Americana and echoes of trad soul, dispatched through a cold, vaguely electronic-feeling and penchant for jamming. The result is wholly unique and absorbing bound to satisfy long-time fans and new ears alike.


Tyler the Creator


(out now)

Out in front of the hotly feted Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, and only 20 years old, Tyler the Creator (a.k.a. Tyler Okonma) is the wild-eyed, foul-mouthed cult leader of a powerful youth revolt. His second album is a disturbing and utterly fascinating ride into the duality of fame and notoriety.


Okkervil River

I Am Very Far

(out now)

With their sixth proper album and the third record in line to The Stage Names and The Stand Ins, Will Sheff and Okkervil River have11 tracks that continue the triptych through the equally saving and destructive graces of putting all hopes in the beauty of art and song. This time around they offer enough variance in style and execution to declare it “a departure.” Okkervil River make a long overdue Western New York appearance—the band’s first in almost two years—next Thursday, June 9 at Town Ballroom.


Danger Mouse/Daniele Luppi


(out now)

This five-years-in-the-making collaboration between genre-defiant American producer/musician Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton and composer/producer Luppi is a dream-like collision of some of Italy’s greatest musicians and guests like Nora Jones and Jack White for a masterful collection that apes classic Italian soundtrack recordings from Morricone’s spaghetti westerns to Rota’s scores for Fellini.


Gillian Welch

The Harrow & The Harvest

(out June 28)

Outside of the titles of the 10 tracks and the album art, details are still relatively scarce about the first release from Gillian Welch and partner David Rawlings in eight years. It’s a fair bet that this record will be a great one and is unlikely to disappoint, as Welch’s unmistakable voice and gift for songwriting has never faltered.


Fucked Up

David Comes to Life

(due June 7)

This sprawling concept album finds the 2009 winners of Canada’s prestigious Polaris prize pitching a rock opera that takes place in late 1970s England and spans the stylistic floorboards of punk, mod, blues, glam, and rock.


Arctic Monkeys

Suck It and See

(out June 6)

There’s a lot riding on the Arctic Monkeys at this point. Not so long ago they were being called upon as the Sheffield-based saviors of English guitar rock. Now most of their fans are just looking for them to come close to equaling their unbridled, passionate 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Suck It And See should do enough to appease most fans, boasting the kind of quick-tempered lyricism that singer/guitarist and chief songwriter Alex Turner has made his trade, coupled with the maturity that can only be garnered through enough years in the spotlight and in the star-making machine, and with enough nervy, 180-degree guitar turns and sly witticisms to keep their streak intact.


Frank Turner

England Keep My Bones

(out June 6)

Another of England’s great young musical hopes—but this time, less from the defined guitar rock mold and more from the protesting proletariat legacies of Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg—Turner is a born rabblerouser as much in the punk rock tradition as he is a folk singer. As he sings in “Eulogy” the first track from the record, “Not everyone was born to be a king/Not everyone can be Freddie Mercury/Everyone can raise a glass and sing.” True that! Turner bombs the UK and Europe all through the summer to promote England Keep My Bones and will come to North America for an extensive run in the fall.

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