The past week has been bursting with new music — so much so that it’s hard to keep up with every new release. To keep you on track with your summer playlist making, here’s a roundup of some of the best albums and singles put out since last Friday, from a Canadian music collective to a sister rock ’n’ roll group. Happy listening!
Broken Social Scene is finally back with Hug of Thunder
Broken Social Scene, the Canadian group of musicians with 17 official members, is finally back with their first new album since 2010. With artists pulled from groups like Stars and Apostles of Hustle, as well as singer-songwriter Feist, the group has no shortage of talent — and their new album, Hug of Thunder, jumps straight back into their emblematic and layered rock/pop/orchestral/noise sound.
The album is a journey through songs about being confident in a lover (“Stay Happy”), Broken Social Scene’s version of protest music (“Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse”), breathy but urgent tracks like the titular “Hug of Thunder,” and cacophonous musical trips that are typical of the band (“Vanity Pail Kids”). Vocals are supplied by several band members, including leader Kevin Drew and newcomer Ariel Engle, the latter of whom joined after marrying another Broken Social Scener, Andrew Whiteman. The record is a welcome return to form from a band that’s been gone too long.
Rhye release two sultry July tracks
Rhye’s music is the definition of “vibey”: It’s sultry, minimal, and full of slow-jam R&B beats — even the album covers suggest sex. Last Friday, the music-making duo of Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal dropped a midsummer, two-single set of songs, “Please” and “Summer Days,” perfect for hot and sweaty July afternoons. “Please” sways through a lover’s apology while remaining sweet; “Summer Days” picks up the tempo, switching between contrasting heat and cold. These are Milosh and Hannibal’s first songs in four years — their 2013 album, Woman, is worth a listen if you want more.
Kesha breaks out a lady anthem
Last week, Kesha debuted “Praying,” the first single off her first album since 2012, after spending years locked in a legal battle with producer Dr. Luke. The single and video are emotional and intimate, revealing a painful story about betrayal and hope for the future — though, as Vox’s Caroline Framke points out, the allusions to Beyoncé’s Lemonade detract from the song’s impact.
But on Thursday, Kesha came back with another new song — and she’s taking no shit. “Woman” is happy, loud, and unflinchingly proud of her boss status. “I’m a motherfucking woman, baby, all right,” the chorus repeats, as the video shows the singer smiling and dancing in a gold suit. The song is full of energetic horns from the Dap-Kings, the former backing band for the late, great Sharon Jones, and they provide a powerful grounding sound to Kesha’s normally electronic-infused pop. It’s an excellent summer pop anthem, and it proves Kesha is back.
Toro y Moi goes full electronic on Boo Boo
Toro y Moi’s new album feels different from the band’s back catalogue — it’s packed full of more electronic sounds and computerized percussion noises than their previous efforts. But that isn’t a knock on Boo Boo — Chaz Bear, formerly known as Chaz Bundick, retains the band’s relaxed, Tame Impala-esque vibe while bringing in new elements like more extreme autotune and drum machines. The single “Girl Like You” is a standout, as is the funky “Mirage.”
The Haim sisters are back, and they’re more confident than ever
After video teases and multiple single releases, the Haim sisters’ Something to Tell You is out in full length at long last. The album is similar in sound to 2013’s Days Are Gone: It’s full of soft-ish rock songs that seem like they’re from the late 1970s. I’m not complaining — the whole thing is solid, and the trio of women sounds more confident than ever. “Ready for You” is a great example of their sound as a whole; it’s well-composed, tight, and full of vocal harmonies and snappy percussion.
Selena Gomez is summer 2017’s hitmaker
Selena Gomez has been teasing her new song “Fetish” since her last hit, “Bad Liar,” came out in May. And its name suggests its content — the song is full of steamy lust. The video is just a single close-up shot on Gomez’s glossy lips as she sings the track’s chorus: “You got a fetish for my love / I push you out and you come right back.” As Gucci Mane finishes off the song with a verse, Gomez laughs in the background, affirming her easy, hypnotic hold on the rapper, and maybe us too.
(Special synergy bonus: The aforementioned Haim covered “Bad Liar” on BBC Radio 1 last week, showing that no one can resist Gomez’s chart toppers.)
Arcade Fire’s latest single has us excited for their new album
Arcade Fire have been releasing singles steadily this year in the lead-up to their upcoming album, Everything Now, due out July 28. On “Electric Blue,” Régine Chassagne takes lead vocals for a change — the band’s past few songs have featured her husband and co-vocalist Win Butler. This track is a pop number, full of glittery synth and high, soaring vocals. The song pairs well with their first single and title track, “Everything Now” — both are upbeat and tailor-made for the middle of a dance party.