Tegan and Sara — Love You to Death Release Date: June 3
Canada’s foremost twin sister indie duo Tegan and Sara have reached the upper echelons of the pop world and just keep climbing. For almost twenty years these sisters have paired tensely sweet harmonies with razor sharp lyrics and searing synths to create addictive, intelligent ‘80s-infused love songs. Their eighth studio album Love You to Death is slated for release at the beginning of June, and if the two early singles—glittery and yearning “Boyfriend” or the rubbery “U-Turn”—are any indication, it will only push them up and out further into the stars. That’s what love does.
Paul Simon — Stranger to Stranger Release Date: June 3
The quintessential New York singer-songwriter is back with a new album, his first since 2011’s excellent So Beautiful So What. Instead of tapping into the poignant songwriting of that album, Simon has returned to a more wry approach. If there’s anyone who can make a joke sound happy and sad at the same time, it’s Simon. Stranger to Stranger also incorporates plenty of the same diasporic African sounds that made Graceland so compelling, so get ready to feel familiar with the record even though it’s brand new.
William Tyler — Modern Country Release Date: June 3
A virtuosic guitarist who hails from the backwoods of Tennessee, William Tyler represents the possibility of both preserving the past and pushing back against old forms until they yield something new. His fourth full-length album is a testament to his composition skills, and reflects an understanding of the American landscape and geography that burns along his simple, glimmering guitar melodies. Tyler positions the record as “a love letter to what we are losing in America, and to what we’ve already lost,” and rarely has grief sounded so sweet.
Brandy Clark — Big Day In A Small Town Release Date: June 10
After working as the woman behind the curtain, Brandy Clark busted out onto the stage as a solo artist with 2013’s 12 Stories. That record quickly became one that critics, fans, and other artists alike pointed to as proof of the fierce spirit of country music that continues to pulse through the mainstream. No matter how many times people try to tell you that modern country just isn’t what it used to be, point them toward a Brandy Clark song. This woman is on par with the old legends, and her second solo album is about to prove it.
The Julie Ruin — Hit Reset Release Date: July 8
Kathleen Hanna’s early years as a woman on the forefront of the Riot Grrrl movement via Bikini Kill, and later Le Tigre, have given way to the Julie Ruin, her current band, which released a debut album called Run Fast in 2013. Hit Reset, then, is only the group’s second release, but it builds on such a rich foundation that it feels like the culmination of something: An iconic artist wiping the slate clean and claiming 2016 for her own purposes. Hanna’s legacy shows up here in magnificent subversion—moody, hectic, and swaggering all at once. A little history never hurt anyone, even when you’re pressing the reset button.
Nite Jewel — Liquid Cool Release Date: June 10
Nite Jewel, aka Ramona Gonzalez, is an Los Anegles-based lo-fi electronic artist who has been making music since 2008 when she was still a college student. Since then, Gonzalez self-released several demos, EPs, and even a full-length album, before Secretly Canadian scooped up One Second Of Love in 2012. Now, she’s back on her own and eager to put more sultry retro pop out into the universe. Liquid Cool will be out via Gonzalez’s own label, Gloriette, this summer.
Rae Sremmurd — Sremmlife 2 Release Date: June 24
The Brothers Sremm remain one of our era’s most playful and sporadic forces. From experiencing a period of homelessness as teens to a speedy rap-star ascension, Rae Sremmurd’s story rivals the stuff of myth. In turn, Swae Lee and Slim have crafted their own set of codes, rhythms and aphorisms to expound upon their chosen lifestyle. The Sremmlife is not something that can be learned, you must simply step into it. But for the uninitiated, Sremmlife 2 may help you unlock it.
Bat For Lashes — The Bride Release Date: July 1
Natasha Khan is a force to be reckoned with. As Bat For Lashes, she has produced three near-perfect albums of weighty gloom-pop. After a hiatus to work on other projects—it’s been four years since The Haunted Man came out in 2012—The Bride is slated to be her fourth solo album. It’s a dark, meditative exploration of a bride who loses her fiancé on the way to the ceremony, perfect for those moments of late summer melancholy.
Shura — Nothing’s Real Release Date: July 8
Last year, Shura’s moody and incandescent synth-pop crawled under the skin of anyone who encountered it. The primary force behind the project is half-British, half-Russian songwriter Alexandra Denton, who produces singular, misty songs that move the listener toward spiritual impressions of intimacy. This is dream pop stripped for parts and reimagined as R&B, a telling and clever mutation that encompasses both ends of the spectrum, and ends up somewhere in between. Their initial White Light EP, which came out last summer, is a great starting point to familiarize yourself before Shura’s mesmerizing debut album Nothing’s Real drops in July.
Yung — A Youthful Dream Release Date: June 10
Yung is by no means Mikkel Holm Silkjær’s first recording project, but it’s the one that currently has his heart—and it shows. Silkjær was raised in a musical family and has been playing and recording his own bright, hooky punk rock since the tender age of sixteen. Last year, Fat Possum Records scooped up Yung and released some of their older material in EP form. This year, they’ll put out their first album of new material, A Youthful Dream. When he’s not fronting the band, Silkjær runs his own record label in his native Denmark, putting other young punk outfits on the map.