June brings heat, humidity, the end of the school year, and a tsunami of new records designed to keep us occupied over the summer. How many of these releases will you hear blaring from car stereos in the coming weeks?
1. Boy Golden, Mountain Road (Six Shooter Records)
Winnipeg’s Boy Golden (the “founder of The Church of Better Daze”) had a sizeable radio hit last year with KD and Luncheon Meat. He’s now back with a twangy, psych-y roadhouse song that could have been written by Beck if he and the crew from Letterkenny had also driven down Mountain Road from Highway 5 out of Waterdown, Ontario. (It’s scenic!) Watch for a new album entitled For Jimmy next month.
2. Fever 333, $wing (333 Wreckords Crew/Century Media Records)
If Rage Against the Machine is too light for you, then this may be the band you’re looking for. Fever 333 has been AWOL for three years, largely because the lineup has been completely overhauled. Only frontman Aalon Butler remains from all past incarnations. And socially conscious? You bet. An album should be here later this year.
3. Queens of the Stone Age, Carnavoyeur (Matador)
This is the second advance track from the new album, In Times New Roman… (due June 16), and features the band’s trademark chunk-rock groove. Come for the riff and stay for the string section. The whole
4. Pip Blom, Is This Love? (Heavenly Recordings)
I know it’s only June, but we must already begin to discuss albums due in October. The cute-as-a-button Amsterdam power-pop outfit has started to reveal their third album (called Bobbie and due October 20) which began with a single entitled Tiger and continues with a song that features Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand.
1. Foo Fighters, But Here We Are (Sony/RCA/Roswell Records)
With so many new albums on the schedule this week, where to begin? That’s easy, actually. At the top of the pile is the new Foo Fighters, the first album since the death of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins. Cutting to the chase, it’s an excellent record as Dave Grohl and the band learn to walk again after the grief of 2022 (In addition to the lost of Taylor, Dave’s beloved mom Virginia died last summer.) If you can, try to consume all ten songs in a single sitting while paying close attention to the lyrics. There’s a lot of pain here but also happiness and hope. The most recent single–the fourth so far–is a ten-minute epic entitled The Teacher, perhaps a nod to Mrs. Grohl who was a schoolteacher. Read my in-depth track-by-track review of the album here.
2. Bob Dylan, Shadow Kingdom (Columbia)
How long has Zimmy been with us? Put it this way: When he released his first album, Canada was still flying the Union Jack, JFK was president, and The Beatles were still two years away from appearing on Ed Sullivan. By my count, this is his 40th studio album–and it’s not really new. Dylan recorded new versions of old songs from his back catalogue for a 2021 documentary entitled Shadow Kingdom: The Early Songs of Bob Dylan. There’s just the one new track, an instrumental entitled Sierra’s Theme. The official single is a brand new recording of a 1971 song called Watch the River Flow.
3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Council Skies (Sour Mash)
In the midst of more Oasis reunion chatter–they seem to pop up every six months or so–Noel’s non-Oasis band he formed about a year after Oasis imploded in 2009– has moved back into making albums from EPs with this fourth full-length effort. The Smiths’ Johnny Marr appears on three tracks for that added Manchester spice. Two versions are available: a ten-track regular edition and then another one with an additional 15 tracks, which are a mix of instrumentals, remixes, radio sessions (including a rendition of Live Forever) and a cover of John Lennon’s Mind Games.
4. Jack Johnson, In Between Dub (Brushfire/Republic)
Most of Johnson’s material evokes images of a barefoot dude on a beach strumming an electric guitar. This one is different. Back in 2020, legendary Jamaican eccentric producer Lee “Scratch” Perry produced a remix album featuring new versions of some of Jack’s older songs. This was a dream come true for Jack who was immersed in reggae while growing up in Hawaii. When Perry died in 2021, his band, Subatronic Sound System, completed the album. Expect to hear this album around campfires this summer.
5. Avenged Sevenfold, Life Is But a Dream… (Warner)
If Jack is too mellow after a while, you may want to cut it with the eighth studio album from Avenged Sevenfold, their first record of new music since 2016. Why the delay? A long fight with their record label. But everything seems to have been patched up and the band and Warner are back in business. The whole thing was preceded by an online scavenger hunt that involved clues generated by a Reddit user named “Libad5343” and online postings generated by ChatGPT.
6. Kasador,I (Independent)
This is about as Kingston, Ontario, as it gets. That’s the band’s hometown. The lineup includes the son of The Tragically Hip’s Rob Baker. It was produced by Brett Emmons of The Glorious Sons (another Kingston band), and recorded at The Hip’s Bathhouse Studios just outside of town. Intrigued?