June Music Guide: 15 Albums To Watch For

Smashing Pumpkins, Fiona Apple, The Hives, Metric, Flaming Lips and so much more...

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud


The Summer music rush is now in full gear, with a barrage of new releases from band's we've been highly looking forward to – including Smashing Pumpkins, Fiona Apple, The Hives, Neil Young and more. We've got more new music than we know what to do with this month!

Check out the 15 most anticipated album releases for June 2012 below!


Beach Boys: That's Why God Made The Radio

Release Date: June 5

After hitting the 50 year milestone in their career, most bands would do a victory lap and then climb into their luxurious nests and enjoy the rest of their days wallowing in the fruits of their labors. The Beach Boys, however, have other plans. Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks have reunited for an extended tour and the release of a new studio album, That’s Why God Made The Radio.

Brian Wilson's leadership in the studio as producer and songwriter shines through, as he co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks. With straightforward melodies, signature harmonies and ever-catchy constructs, it's a celebrated offering from the aging surfer boys. Grab it here.


Hives: Lex Hives

Release Date: June 5

Top hats and tails flying, the high velocity Swedish quintet's fifth album marks a continuance of the band's signature bombast – but with a leaning towards a more love-centered lyricism. Don't mistake that for a slower pace, however – the music is as over-the-top and explosive as ever. Also: the deluxe edition comes with two kickass collaboration tracks with Joshua Homme of Queens of The Stone Age. You're going to want to pick this one up.


Melvins: Freak Puke

Release Date: June 5

Those who get what the Melvins are about will dig Freak Puke, and those who don’t will hate it. This doesn’t have groove jam classics like the albums Houdini or Revolver. It’s also not classic Melvins slow-grind work like Ozma or Gluey Porch Treatments. Freak Puke is Melvins writing whatever they want to and putting it out. Rock this.


Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Big Moon Ritual

Release Date: June 5

Taking off in a new direction from The Black Crowes, frontman Chris Robinson is prepping the debut album of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood – something new, a fresh rock mythology, a breathing kaleidoscopic thing birthed in intimate clubs and amongst the tall trees of the Golden State and eventually taken nationwide.

What began as an experiment without expectations turned into a 118-show journey for Robinson (lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums) and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals) that surprised even these seasoned pros, a New Cosmic California sound with tendrils reaching to the original Fillmore West, Topanga Canyon and outwards towards far horizons.

“This music is unashamedly what we’re into,” says Robinson.  “It’s not a psych band because you have a Prince Valiant haircut and wear Beatle boots. It’s psych because that’s where our heads are. We want to make music that blossoms. We want to make music that sounds cosmic.” Get it here.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Americana

Release Date: June 5

Neil Young has reunited with Crazy Horse for their first album together in nearly nine years, in which the band puts its own spin on 11 songs drawn from the American folk music tradition. Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” Stephen Foster’s “Oh Susannah,” the British national anthem “God Save the Queen,” and folk songs from the 19th century and earlier including “Tom Dooley,” “Clementine,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” (under the title "Jesus Chariot") and “Wayfarin’ Stranger” are all part of the procession.

In his notes with the album, Young says he and longtime collaborators Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot and Poncho Sampedro have tapped the notion of “the folk process” in which traditional songs were sometimes modified to make them more digestible by rock music fans in the early days of what came to be known as folk-rock. Some of these jams are truly inspired – if you're a Neil fan at all, you'll be happy you picked this one up.


Constellations: Do It For Free

Release Date: June 12

Far off the mainstream radar, The Constellations, champions of Atlanta's rock/soul core, have signed with 429 Records and are gearing up for the release of "Do It For Free," the follow up to their acclaimed debut "Southern Gothic."

Led by Elijah Jones, and featuring Wes Hoffman (bass), Travis Phillips (guitar), James Gordon (keyboards) and Shane Hoffman (drums), the band lean hard into soulful melodicism and raucous grooves. It's definitely worth a listen. Get it here.


Metric: Synthetica

Release Date: June 12

As Metric's Emily Haines wrote in a letter to fans in late February, the band's June 12 album Synthetica, "is about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. Synthetica is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It's about what is real vs what is artificial."

The band's fifth full-length studio release is a challenging work, and the art included reflects it. "We wanted the artwork for Synthetica to be thought provoking and a little disorienting, an optical illusion which asks you to stop for a moment and consider what you are looking at," Haines said in a statement, noting the band was inspired by the '60s Radical architecture movement. Order here.


Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man In The Universe

Release Date: June 12

The late-’60s/early-’70s soul legend’s new LP, his first album of new material since 1994, was produced by XL’s Richard Russell and Gorillaz centerpiece Damon Albarn. Soulful, mourning and laced with modern instrumental influence, the record is at once a stroke of the heartstrings and a leap into another dimension of soul-sonics. Get it at Bobby's official site.


Grace Potter: The Lion The Beast The Beat

Release Date: June 12

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals’ fourth studio album for Hollywood Records was produced by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco, the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s 2012 Grammy winner Revelator) and Potter at Scott’s studio PLYRZ in Santa Clarita, CA, with the exception of “Loneliest Soul,” which was produced by Dan Auerbach.  David Campbell (Beck, My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne) arranged and conducted the strings on the album. The album was mixed by fellow Vermonter and Grammy award winner Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, TV on the Radio, Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball) and mastered by Grammy award winner Bob Ludwig (David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Foo Fighters).

All that aside, if you're looking for a girl with balls and soul you've come to the right place.


Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver…

Release Date: June 19

With an album called The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw, And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, it's fairly safe to assume that Miss Apple will return to us as a familiar voice of frail, damaged beauty on the hunt for peace, passion and true love. The tracks she previewed at various live stops in the Spring have been fantastic, particularly the songs "Anything We Want" and "Every Single Night," the latter of which you can hear below. Pick it up at her official site.


Glen Hansard: Rhythm & Repose

Release Date: June 19

Over 20 years in the making and the result of having spent the past 18 months living in New York City, The Frames and The Swell Season singer/songwriter Glen Hansard will release his first-ever solo album, Rhythm and Repose, on Anti- Records. After winning an Academy Award for his song and performance in the movie Once, Rhythm and Repose is Glen's step into the world as an artist on his own terms. The 11-track effort was produced by Doveman (aka Thomas Bartlett), and features contributions from Swell Season cohort Marketa Irglova, composer Nico Muly, and half of Bruce Springsteen’s current horn section. Head to the official Swell Season site for more.


Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania

Release Date: June 19

The Smashing Pumpkins are finally returning, with only their frontman a recognizable face amidst years upon years of lineup changes and member strife. The album, which was originally due last September, will now be released on June 19 and has been described as an "album within an album" as it is part of their 44-song cycle Teargarden By Kaleidyscope.

Asked how the recording of the record differed from the band's previous efforts, Corgan said: "We worked for a time in an empty movie theatre in Sedona during the winter months of early 2011, sketching out some primary versions of the songs. We worked hard to create space in the music, but not lose any of the emotive power that I like to have behind my songs."

The singer also insisted that he wanted to make an album "where every song was just as valuable as any other" and that he had avoided "the typical claptrap about needing a single. I was dead set on making an album where every song was just as valuable as any other, ignoring the typical claptrap you hear about needing a single. The only way to make the case that every song on 'Oceania' is worth hearing is to put your heart into the sequence as a cohesive whole. Once we felt we'd achieved that balance, only then did we let anyone outside our world hear the record we'd made."

Smashing Pumpkins official site


The Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends

Release Date: June 26

This Record Store Day round-up of various collaborations conducted over the past year sports a guest list that leaps from Ke$ha and Coldplay's Chris Martin to noise-rockers Lightning Bolt, to staples of the anarchic weirdo universe Nick Cave and Yoko Ono, to even the most hipsteriffic artists like Bon Iver and Neon Indian. It's a patchwork of extreme weirdness, and somehow comes across with surprising cohesion. As a proper follow-up to Embryonic, the last Lips record, it wouldn't be too strange a fit. After all, strangeness is what these guys do best.

Flaming Lips official site


Linkin Park: Living Things

Release Date: June 26

Co-produced by Rick Rubin and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, Living Things is a 37-minute blast of dense, dark, layered tracks with explosively soaring choruses. You know what to expect from these guys – anger, marketable revolution and genre-swirling hits that will be inescapable on the radio for the next ten months. Welcome back, boys. Pre-order your cellophane revolution here.