In the heat of summer, we are in need of music to jam out to. Be it for your barbecues, or just road trips to the beach, this is the time of year when the music is blasting to create the atmosphere of a good time. Let’s see who’s adding to our playlists this month!
We The Kings – Six
Release date: 7/6
Funding can be tough to come by these days, especially as the income in the music industry shifts to new streams where artists are having to get more creative with their methods. We the Kings took to their fanbase for this one, offering vinyl pressings and packages to those that helped fund the album. In return, aside from the materials, you get your picture included on the jacket, yearbook style. Not a bad way to make people feel involved, huh?
Between the last album and this (which, yes, is their sixth studio release – creative name, I know), the band did a cover of the song “The Story of Tonight” from Hamilton, which I’d highly recommend checking out. But then they brought out their own originals again to gear up. “Planes, Trains & Cars” pumps up the energy big time, with a modern pop punk sound that uses just a little more in-studio tools than you might want to hear. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song, but with bands like this I’d always prefer to feel like I’m at their live show instead of listening to a mix. Heck, I’d rather just be at their live show.
“On My Love” brings these guys around to full-on modern pop (and me to a reminder that this is not the pop punk genre of the early 2000’s). It’s full of echoes and light sounds of love, making it the perfect driving music and fitting for the summer months we’re in. And then, as though they’re hearing the cry for summer feelings, “Festival Music” comes on. This is the single and the recognizable track by far – it’s the one to get lost in, with or without the rest of the crowd around you.
The last single up is “Even If It Kills Me,” and it gives the last impression before the full album release. If it’s any indication of the full release, we’re in for high energy and what’s generally feeling to be a great mood of an album. There’s still elements of the harder punk influences, but this band has their own up-beat sound and staying power.
Other 7/6 releases:
Future – Beastmode 2
Cowboy Junkies – All That Reckoning
Release date: 7/13
The band is claiming that their first album in over five years will be deeper – more so than anything we’ve ever experienced from them prior.
If the first single, Part 1 of the title track, is any indication, they are not exaggerating.
We’re welcomed in with a very slow, steady track that is simply methodical. This isn’t something you can get away with just casually listening to this song (and I’m imagining the album overall). This is a completely submersive music experience. The only other track I have to go off of on this assumption is “The Things We Do to Each Other,” which does seem to pick up the pace and instrumentation levels a bit, but still – it’s like this music can’t be ignored. It demands your attention and belief and understanding.
Other 7/13 releases:
All Saints – Testament
Punch Brothers – All Ashore
Release date: 7/20
I challenge everyone out there reading this to really listen to Bluegrass, especially that of the Punch Brothers. You could be incredibly impressed by string work across these songs. I mean, the things players can manage to do with a banjo are actually astounding.
“Three Dots and a Dash” is proof of that, as well as this unbelievable layering of different stringed instruments. Movement, dynamics, feeling – it’s all actually there, without a single word spoken.
The only other hint we get into this upcoming release so far is “It’s All Part of the Plan,” which does bring in vocals this time. The album is supposed to actually be a political climate statement, which I try not to dwell in, but to place that song on such a down-home musical sound is going to be jaunting to some people. All nine tracks are meant to line up into a single statement, so come mid-July, we’ll know what the band is going for in their message.
Other 7/20 releases:
Lori McKenna – The Tree
Daughtry – Cage to Rattle
Release date: 7/27
Let just be honest, I love Daughtry, and the idea of them coming out with new music is so exciting to me. The rock and soul voice of Chris that permeates the music, with just an amazing grasp of lyrics and conveying meaning on various levels and reason has kept me a fan of this band since the beginning.
So when “Backbone” came out on my release radar a few weeks ago, I rushed to my phone to confirm what I already knew was true – Daughtry was back. And wow, what a start to the tease of the album. “Backbone” is tough and encouraging and so powerful.
They followed that up a few weeks later with “Deep End.” It begins with a haunting vocal that has a feeling of being under water, and then Chris Daughtry launches into this strong verse to just takes fear out of life. This is one song that is so beautiful in so many ways.
This week they gave us one more preview taste with “White Flag.” It’s slower to move into your heart, and got that old haunting feeling I think early Daughtry music had. Let’s face it – he never truly fit in with the typical American Idol landscape, but thank goodness he got the platform to make music. This song solidifies the strength that this entire album seems to be gearing up to have, and quite frankly that’s a theme I think we’ll all be glad to be presented with this year.
Other 7/27 releases:
Halestorm – Vicious
Kenny Chesney – Songs for the Saints