12 albums you should check out in July

This month, Jay-Z gets physical, Impalers rip your face off and we await the dramatic return of Arcade Fire.

Jay-Z, 4:44 (Roc Nation). The physical version of Jay’s new one (and maybe the most flagrantly political album of his career) is in stores now. But did it go platinum? There seems to be some debate.

HAIM, “Something to Tell You” (Columbia). The second album from this trio of pop-rock-oriented Los Angeles sisters that seems to embody everything from classic Fleetwood Mac to old R&B and the sort of soft rock that feels mighty relaxing in these exhausting times. (in stores now)

Impalers, “Cellar Dwellar” (540 Records/Static Shock). This Austin hardcore outfit has been floating around since 2010 and has yet to release a duff note, but this LP is an absolute ripper. Chaotic, frantic d-beat hardcore featuring members of Power Trip, Vaaska, Mammoth Grinder, etc. Probably will end up being one of the year’s best hardcore albums. (in stores now)

Shabazz Palaces, “Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star” and “Quazarz vs. the Jealous Machines” (Sub Pop). Ishmael Butler, aka Palaceer Lazaro, aka Butterfly of Digable Planets, and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire invite guests such as Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Gamble and Huff and many more to explore abstract, gauzy hip-hop oddness over two albums. (July 14)

Waxahatchee, “Out in the Storm” (Merge). The much-anticipated fourth album overall and second album for Merge from this singer-songwriter/indie rocker. A digital deluxe version will include 10 demo versions. Waxahatchee plays Aug. 5 at Mohawk. (July 14)

Yoko Ono, “Fly,” “Approximately Infinite Universe,” “Feeling the Space” (Chimera Music/Secretly Canadian). Secretly Canadian continues its excellent Ono reissue series with these three awesomely whacked-out (and some not-quite-as-whacked-out as you might imagine) albums. Only squares and sexists dismiss her work out of hand. (July 14)

Various artists, “The Bad Batch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” (Lakeshore). I am somewhat torn on this horror-thriller, but I quite enjoyed the soundtrack, with tracks by Darkside, Pantha Du Prince, Chilled by Nature and more. (July 21)

Tyler, The Creator, “Scum [REDACTED] Flower Boy” (Columbia). A new solo album from the Odd Future frontdude. Really hoping, per the album title, there was a G.G. Allin cover in there, but no. With Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, Kali Uchis, Estelle, Roy Ayers and more. (July 21)


Arcade Fire, “Everything Now” (Columbia). The fifth studio album and first on Columbia by this Canadian rock band (fronted by one-time Texan). The first single (and title track) had a distinctly disco cast; they have been moving in this direction for some time indeed. (July 28)

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