By Erin Caine
This summer’s music scene was full of memorable hits and electrifying newcomers alike, but with all the traveling (or lazing about) people do between June and August it can be hard to keep track of all the good stuff. Here’s a list of some of the quintessential new albums of the summer:
1. Lykke Li, “So Sad So Sexy.” The Swedish singer-songwriter (and model) Lykke Li has to date released four studio albums, debuting in 2008 with “Youth Novels.” This year’s “So Sad So Sexy,” released early June, was praised by critics as a successful departure from Li’s earlier sound, blending pop and R&B. Ilana Kaplan of The Independent wrote that the album is “a brilliant display of growth” on Li’s part, “both personally and professionally.” She adds that “there’s no such thing as boring in her music.”
2. Halestorm, “Vicious.” It seems that every time American rock band Halestorm puts out a new album, it gets a little bit louder. “Vicious” is their fourth studio album and dropped at the end of July to high praise from critics. In an interview for Blabbermouth, vocalist Lzzy Hale noted that she felt this most recent album sounds the closest to the band’s live sound. That also perhaps makes this the most genuine-sounding album the band has put out to date.
3. Animal Collective, “Tangerine Reef.” These Baltimore natives have been putting out music since 2003. Their unique blend of psychedelia, indie rock, and electronic music are as present as ever in “Tangerine Reef,” their 11th album, released in August. Released alongside it was a 54-minute film which featured video of coral reefs lit up in neon colors. Impressively, the band’s experimental energy hasn’t waned in the 15 years they’ve been making music. Not to mention, the whole album was recorded live with no overdubs.
4. Mitski, “Be the Cowboy.” The fifth studio album from indie rocker Mitski, “Be the Cowboy” received widespread critical acclaim after it dropped mid-August. In a statement, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter said that for this album she wanted to experiment lyrically with narrative and fiction, and wanted — through music — to convey an atmosphere of someone singing alone on stage, “a single spotlight trained on them in an otherwise dark room.” She also noted that this album is her “waking up” and reconnecting with her feelings, especially when traveling on tour requires her to be isolated and far from her friends and family. Her music often reflects on themes of belonging, and it’s hard to listen to her music without feeling that weight.