I’m going to try very hard to not be completely distracted by this Preds game (go Nashville!) while I type about music. I mean, they’re from Music City, so this all ties together, right? Okay, okay, let’s focus here – time to get ready for the first summer releases!
All Time Low – Last Young Renegade
Release date: 6/2
When I open Spotify artist pages to start listening to any released tracks from these albums, I typically go for the songs released in the past six month. Turns out, All Time Low released a cover of “Longview” by Green Day for a collection Spotify did. Granted, this is not part of this album, but you bet I had to stop and listen.
Launching into the first official single of their fifth album, All Time Low started things earlier this year with “Dirty Laundry.” The big change this go-around is the new signing with Fueled By Ramen, a label famed with giving us some of the best pop punk music in recent years. Basically, this label was every Jersey Kid’s dream. Today, we’re brought a much fuller sound than I ever remember being a part of this repertoire, with much more production incorporated.
This album was all about the band soul-searching, and they give us that quality from the start, not settling for any kind of straight-forward messages. With the first single giving that depth to the band, they remind you to bop along with all of our feels in the title track, “Last Young Renegade,” chock full of nostalgia. “Life of the Party” seems to balance the two ends, and if you’re following along the path here, it seems like we’re actually moving towards a cohesive album. “Nice2KnoU” provides the dance track, while “Good Times” take that more production-heavy end of the music and lets you get lost in music. I have to admit, this slight variety, in it’s just as slight joined feels, makes me incredibly interested in hearing the album as a solid unit this month.
Other 6/2 releases:
Benjamin Booker – Witness
Flogging Molly – Life is Good
Lady Antebellum – Heart Break
Release date: 6/9
No, that title isn’t meant to be a sad sentiment, and this isn’t a breakup album. Quite the contrary. Lady A is back in business after a few years off for solo projects (love you, Charles Kelley), and they took that break to get a hold on their heart as a band. At least, that’s how I like to explain it.
Fascinating back story – the album was recorded in California and Florida. The group felt stifled in Nashville. Who knew that was possible?
“You Look Good” brought them back in strong with a fun and funky track. Yes, they’re still country, but they have a mass appeal. Their title track is second up for singles as well, and “Heart Break” is actually a surprising breath of fresh air for anyone that needs it. This is embracing not only single life, but finding yourself with yourself. Remember folks, you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.
The initial appeal of Lady Antebellum included the idea of duets without making a big thing out of two artists coming together (and thus we, as concert goers, never really getting to see them perform live together outside of special events). Hillary and Charles have mastered this as bandmates, despite never being romantically involved. “Somebody Else’s Heart” is yet another great example of this.
“This City” is the latest taste of the new album that we get, and if it’s any indication of how the record will play then we’re in for a really solid piece of work from the returning trio. They’ve managed to balance old and new country, and this collection should prove to be a fantastic comeback.
Other 6/9 releases:
Ani DiFranco – Binary
Glenn Campbell – Adios
Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
Release date: 6/16
Does anyone else feel like Fleet Foxes has been around forever? Would you be as surprised as I am to find out that this is only their third album? How about the fact that this is the first album they’ve released in six years?
Okay, so we’ll jump into the current sound, since that’s what “Third of May/Odaigahara” does without so much as an ease into the mood. Rolling Stone put this best as a “nearly nine-minute epic powered by piano and electric twelve-string guitar, string quartet, and the group’s trademark sparkling harmonies.” I could probably write about this track for the entire nine minutes, given the amount of mode changes that seem to happen throughout. But let’s just leave it as fact that this can be very good background music as you futz around on your email.
Oh. Heh. There’s a four-minute edited down version.
Moving on. “Fool’s Errand” was the second single, and is just about everything you ever liked about the band (if you ever liked them). While this isn’t the song itself, interesting fact about the first track from this new album – it will pick up on the same note that the last song of the last album left off on. While it seems like artists try to do things completely anew from album to album, it looks like the slow and steady build and growth is more this band’s aim.
Other 6/16 releases:
Nickleback – Feed The Machine
Rise Against – Wolves
Imagine Dragons – Evolve
Release date: 6/23
“Believer” hit the radio airwaves a few months ago, and it’s brought back the intense and imaginative feel of Imagine Dragons to our ears. The band took a year off before this to regroup, but it doesn’t feel like their sound has missed a beat.
Side note – “Believer” was used for “WWE 24: Finn Balor” (and the Nintendo Switch Super Bowl commercials, but, priorities).
So aside from some cool placements, the band seems to utilize the bass heavily in this run, whith crisp enunciated words in their own catchy rock ways. “Thunder” is second up for us, and if anyone’s bound to be putting on a good show based on just music alone, it’s going to be this band. The feel of this music down in your heart while listening is enough to get any crowd in an arena feeling great.
I don’t know that the group is going to give us a moment to take a breath, as “Whatever It Takes,” the third release from the upcoming album, is fast paced and, well pumps “adrenaline in my veins” (that’s a song lyric). If nothing else, I really believe this will be a supporting tour not to miss, and the album is just going to provide more fuel for the band’s already great, heart-racing experience of a show.
Other 6/23 releases:
Jeff Tweedy – Together at Last
311 – Mosaic
TLC – TLC
Release date: 6/30
This album may be the mystery of the month. Last month, there wasn’t even a title, and this month it’s self-titled and happening.
“Way Back” is the obvious “hey, miss us?” song, with Snoop Dogg (Lion?) making an appearance and just begging for your nostalgia to fully kick in. Heck, it works, it really does. While we’re feeling this way, let’s talk about why this album is happening.
First off, this is the last album the two remaining members of TLC plan on doing. Additionally, it’s going to have a deluxe version with re-mastered versions of the classics (basically bringing “No Scrubs” back because you know you miss it and just want another excuse to listen). But the real story here is that the album was funded in under 48 hours through Kickstarter. Artists like NKOTB and Katy Perry also donated to make this happen. If there was ever a doubt that this girl group was beloved, that can clearly me squashed.
This project seems to be all about embracing it all for what it is. “Haters” is a great feel good song that you should be able to blast down the road. The ladies come back at us with their great vocals, because that’s what was a base of it all. God, even I started this write-up a little hesitant, but TLC continues to win us back. This album is a welcome addition to the collection of history this girl group just manages to give us each go-around.
Other 6/30 releases:
Stone Sour – Hydrograd
The Acacia Stain – Gravebloom