By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Some notable releases for those out there who still buy albums
So many great new albums are slated for release this summer, spanning folk to electronic to rock to hip-hop—with many drawing from each genre. The music industry may be melting down, but these artists are nonetheless offering up bountiful harvests of music for our summer feasting.
Neil Young, Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972
Some two decades in the making, Young’s Archive is finally here, a mammoth treasure chest of songs, notes, photos and short films spanning his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—not to mention the solo work that launched his star. Available in Blu-ray, DVD and CD, it’s a veritable Rosetta Stone for Young fans, and the best part is that Young will continue to add new material, which can be accessed online.
Serengeti & Polyphonic, Terradactyl
The latest from art-rap MC Serengeti and hip-hop/ambient DJ Polyphonic, Terradactyl is the Chicago duo’s Anticon debut. Serengeti is a prolific rapper best-known for his 2006 album, Dennehy—an ode to the Windy City narrated by an O’Doul’s-swilling Bears obsessive—and Polyphonic’s sonically dense, downtempo/electronic compositions complement his partner’s esoteric raps. Terradactyl is a shimmering discourse on pain, suffering and getting beyond those things.
Sunset Rubdown, Dragonslayer
On the heels of Wolf Parade’s 2008 masterpiece, At Mount Zoomer, the band’s co-front man Spencer Krug returns with the fourth album from his main side project, Sunset Rubdown. The group have evolved from a Krug vanity project into a fully formed beast, and the prog-y Dragonslayer should be their most cohesive album yet.
Regina Spektor, Far
A Moscow native-turned-NYC anti-folk staple who hit big with her 2006 opus, Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor is back with Far, which features production from Electric Light Orchestra’s Jeff Lynne, among others. Expect more of what Spektor fans go for, which is to say haunting, ethereal piano anthems that alternately evoke laughter and jerk tears.
Lil Wayne, Rebirth
Skepticism over Wayne’s “rock” album Rebirth is understandable, considering he can’t really play that guitar he insists on carrying around. But then again, everyone doubted his decision to offer up years of free mixtapes preceding Tha Carter III. In any case, his appearance on Kevin Rudolf’s “Let It Rock” shows that his ear for hooks translates to guitar-based music, so the smart money is on cautious optimism for Rebirth.
Cage, Depart From Me
Considering his biography reads like a pulp novel (parental abuse, drug addiction, mental-hospital stay, etc.) Definitive Jux rapper/punk Cage certainly has the lyrical material to draw from, and his previous full-length, Hell’s Winter, channeled his heartache and rage to glorious effect. With production from folks including El-P, F. Sean Martin and Aesop Rock, Depart From Me promises more of the same.
Jayhawks, Music From the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology
It’s an exciting time to be a Jayhawks fan. Last year, the formerly feuding principal songwriters of this Minnesota country-pop act reunited for a collaborative album, and the group will play together again this summer. Who knows if they’ll record new music as a band, but for now, there’s Music From the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology, a two-disc retrospective containing hits and rarities, with a DVD of music videos also available.
The Donnas, The Donnas Greatest Hits, Vol 16
LA-via-Palo Alto girl group the Donnas have been making cheeky-yet-substantial rock and punk for 16 years now, which explains the title of The Donnas Greatest Hits, Vol 16, a collection of new, popular, rare and live tracks. Dropped by Atlantic Records in 2006, they’ll probably never become household names, sadly, but there’s no reason their infectious, innuendo-laced bangers shouldn’t live forever.
Kid Cudi, Man On the Moon
Cleveland MC Kid Cudi sprang into the public consciousness last year through his contributions to Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, and his hit song “Day ’N’ Nite” has bumped from clubs and convertibles all spring. Less snarky than other hipster rappers, his debut, Man On the Moon, should focus on his playful wordplay and progressive, left-field musicianship.
Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II
Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx . . . was a platinum-selling, cinematic drug narrative that became one of the most heralded hip-hop albums. Originally intended for release on Aftermath Records, its long-delayed sequel is finally due and will feature beats from Dr. Dre, J. Dilla, RZA and Pete Rock.