In no particular order, here are some artists and albums that will make waves in the music ocean this summer. There’s a plethora of fantastic music fresh out of the oven, so here’s a baker’s dozen to feast your ears on.
1. Alabama Shakes – “Sound and Color”
Brittany Howard, singer and guitarist, has one of the best voices in music right now. R&B, soulful and bluesy, this album presents a darker side than its debut album, “Boys and Girls” from three years ago.
2. Courtney Barnett – “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit”
Barnett, an Australian native, has a stream-of-consciousness style of songwriting that’s infectious, quirky and sarcastic. Enjoy responsibly with Vegemite.
3. Guantanamo Baywatch – “Darling… It’s Too Late”
Featuring my favorite band name of 2015, this album will make you shake like a fool. Twangy doo-woppy style instrumental jams are mixed with party surf-rock anthems. If this album were a child, it would be a son of a beach.
4. Avid Dancer – “1st Bath”
This is Jacob Summers’ first release. He is a once-sheltered fundamentalist Christian kid turned world-champion drum-line drummer, ex-marine and Alaskan reckloose. All of this culminates and somehow gives his album a truly ’60s/’70s vibe.
5. My Morning Jacket – “Waterfall”
My Morning Jacket is the quintessential rock band of our generation. Front-man Jim James’ songwriting is as ripe as a summer berry and the band is tighter than a small coat on John Goodman.
6. Wand – “Golem”
Get ready to have your brain blown out your coccyx region. Wand is loud, abrasive and raunchy. You could tell the band, but they would probably tell you to suck an egg.
7. Mikal Cronin – “MC III”
Even though this is West coast rocker Mikal Cronin’s third solo album, after touring with Ty Segall on his “Manipulator” release, he is at the top of his game with exceptional self-composed orchestration. This album is guaranteed to touch all of your soft spots.
8. Lower Dens – “Escape From Evil”
This album sounds like how it would have felt to lose your virginity in the ’80s or at least what I imagine it would have been like.
9. Sam Cohen – “Cool It”
Folk songs meet spacey-synth in this futuristic epic. The songs within this album evolve and converge in larger-than-life grand crescendos ,which anybody fond of Pink Floyd would be familiar with.
10. Blur – “The Magic Whip”
This is the ’90s powerhouse’s first album in a dozen years. Since the band’s last release, front-man Damon Albarn has put out solo albums and produced a little known project called “Gorillaz.” This album, however, was conceived over five days in Hong Kong after a canceled Japan tour in 2013.
11. Modest Mouse – “Strangers To Ourselves”
Well, we’ll all float on and eventually find us as “Strangers to Ourselves.” After replacing everybody in his band, “Good News For People Who Love Bad News,” Isaac Brock is pretty much left to his own devices, which includes quite the potty mouth.
12. Vetiver – “Complete Stranger”
If you’re down to chill, all of Vetiver’s albums are refreshing. “Complete Strangers” is no exception; think The Shins meets Devendra Bonhart.
13. Staves – “If I Was”
Wisconsin native, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, Gayngz), produced this album. Featuring three fantastic UK vocalists, Vernon invited them to his Eau Claire studio, and the rest is history.