Consequence of Sound’s Summer Music Guide contains a comprehensive breakdown of the season’s biggest albums, complete with artwork and audio preview when available. These are the albums that you won’t be able to quit. They’re worthy of deluxe pre-orders, long email chains discussing their place in music today, and soundtracks to balmy summer nights. We hope you find it useful, and please share your most anticipated albums in the comments below.
Artwork by David Stanley.
Beach House – Bloom
Fortune surrounds Beach House’s fourth studio offering. Teen Dream producer Chris Coady is back at the helm, the album was mixed at New York City’s legendary Electric Lady Studios, and the already-revealed cuts (“Myth”, “Lazuli”) could be described as no less than divine. It’s far too early to write any year-end lists just yet, but here’s a hypothesis: It’s doubtful we’ll shake off Victoria Legrand’s balmy, dreamy vocals by winter. -Michael Roffman
Due Out: May 15th via Sub Pop
Best Coast – The Only Place
With Jon Brion (Kanye West, Fiona Apple, of Montreal) on board as producer, some might be expecting a departure from the endlessly endearing surf pop that earned Best Coast’s 2010 debut our Top Star recognition. Fear not, because while Brion’s more polished and refined touch can certainly be felt on The Only Place (a string quartet actually makes an appearance on a couple of tracks), Bethany Cosentino still keeps her feet firmly planted in her signature fuzzy lo-fi punk sound. -Bryant Kitching
Due Out: May 15th via Mexican Summer
Garbage – Not Your Kind of People
Nineties alt-pop darlings Garbage go for a surrealist escape in the lead single off their first album in eight years, Not Your Kind of People. The video for the song, “Blood for Poppies”, shot by L.A. cinematographer Matt Irwin, is a shaky, black-and-white montage of space-age black magic and sunny So-Cal scenes. Musically, it’s classic sneer-and-wink Garbage: chainsaw guitars, wonka-wonka bass, and a pop-delicious hook that rushes into the chorus like a gust of wind, and that can only bode well for the rest of the album. -Katjusa Cisar
Due Out: May 15th via STUNVOLUME
Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
Some of the first words shot out by Killer Mike on R.A.P. Music reference KRS ONE’s “9mm Goes Bang”. He shouts, “Wa da da dang, wa da da da da dang/listen to my Kimber .45 go bang.” These lyrics could serve as a summary for the whole album: old-school nods that pack more fire power. Killer Mike’s flow keeps it anachronistic like Slick Rick meets Chuck D, but El-P’s production–as always–keeps the whole record avant. It will tear as big a hole in the space-time continuum as it will in your speakers. -Jeremy D. Larson
Due Out: May 15th via William Street Records
Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix
After the commercial nonsuccess of 2006’s Pick of Destiny, the greatest rock band in the world is set for the biggest resurgence in music history! In the works since at least 2007, Rize of the Fenix once again sees “Hollywood” Jack Black and Kyle “Rage Kage” Gass teaming up with ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, and despite the sentiments of album track “Rock Is Dead”, the metal is still righteous. The album is replete with the raunchy humor and outrageously spun stories of sex, rock-n-roll, and friendship The D is known for. Hell, Val Kilmer took a bullet for this record. -Ben Kaye
Due Out: May 15th via Columbia
El-P – Cancer for Cure
No lie: After pressing play on my promo download of Cancer for Cure, El-P’s first album since 2007’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, I stared at my computer screen, practically slack-jawed, for almost 10 minutes. But what does the greatest and most epic left-field rap full-length of the year so far actually sound like? In essence, it’s a full-on assault of sprawling, 22nd-century boom-bap juxtaposed with justly garrulous and truly cerebral 16s that never cease to impress. El Producto es el genio. -Mike Madden
Due Out: May 22nd via Fat Possum
Mount Eerie – Clear Moon
Phil Elverum’s haunting brand of black metal proved intriguing on 2009’s Wind’s Poem, and since then he’s kept rather quiet, save for an archival collection and a couple of singles. This year he returns with two albums: Clear Moon and Ocean Roar. Based on the hazy, driving “House Shape”, the former’s first single, Elverum remains in the darkness, but there’s just enough light to keep us moving. -Michael Roffman
Due Out: May 22nd via P.W. Elverum and Sun, Ltd.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Here
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros exploded onto the scene in 2009 with their shakable brand of hippie-soaked indie folk. Three years later, they’re ready to return with a vengeance. Here is actually the first of two albums due this year, birthed from exploring “a wide variety of subject and sound” upon their return to the studio. The lead single, “Man on Fire”, burns slow and warm, the kind of comforting, uplifting stuff that made their Up From Below debut so welcoming. -Ben Kaye
Due Out: May 29th via Community Music/Vagrant
Lemonade – Diver
After sashaying onto the scene with 2009’s self-titled debut, Lemonade return with their long-awaited sophomore effort, Diver. Constructed from “sounds of the past synthesized with contemporary dance music buoyed by the most immediate matters of the heart,” the album arrives just in time for summer. If you’ve already got your toes in the sand, label True Panther Sounds has gone ahead and released first single “Neptune” along with remixes by various artists. -Harley Brown
Due Out: May 29th via True Panther Sounds
Regina Spektor – What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
Currently embarking on a tour through the U.S. with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Regina Spektor has already revealed to us nearly one-quarter of her upcoming album What We Saw From The Cheap Seats. The cute, earnest “Small Town Moon” and reworked, jumpy “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” showcase Spektor in her most accessible, but the cryptic (and a tad awkward) video for “All The Rowboats” may make you wonder why it was chosen to be the lead single. We can expect a solid sixth record from Regina, and we’ll be looking for those gems undoubtedly buried within the songs yet unheard. -David Dililo
Due Out: May 29th via Sire/Warner Bros.