June 2017 Alt Col Picks

A lot of great albums were released in June, so here are our favorite records of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • Lorde – Melodrama

Four years after her groundbreaking debut album, Lorde returns more lyrically mature and musically expansive than ever. Youthful yet mellow, Melodrama doesn’t hold back its emotions. Between songs of break-ups, struggles in the industry, and friendly endeavors, Lorde has certainly grown, and this record was well worth the wait. Standout tracks include “Green Light,” “Liability,” and “Perfect Places.” Melodrama will appeal to fans of Broods, Alessia Cara, and CHVRCHES.

  • Broadside – Paradise

Upbeat cadences and gritty guitar riffs outline Broadside’s sophomore effort titled Paradise, and it’s paradise indeed. This album is chocked full of pop punk songs ready for a sunny summertime drive with the windows down, but it has its softer, more cultivated moments as well. Standout tracks include “Hidden Colors,” “Paradise,” and “Laps Around a Picture Frame.” Paradise is sure to attract followers of Seaway, State Champs, and Waterparks.

  • All Time Low – Last Young Renegade

Pop rock veterans All Time Low transition to a more electropop rock vibe for their seventh studio album Last Young Renegade. The band clutches on to their organic instrumentation for a number of tunes, but many are dazzled by synth-driven melodies and artificial beats. Standout tracks include “Last Young Renegade,” “Nice2KnoU,” and “Dark Side of Your Room.” Last Young Renegade will capture listeners of We Are the In Crowd, Against the Current, and Set It Off.

  • Bleachers – Gone Now

The ’80s-inspired pop rock of Gone Now is thunderous, charming, and undoubtedly entertaining. Jack Antonoff, former member of the hit band Fun., takes on his second full-length project with impassioned gusto and a love for the past. After working with artists like Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Taylor Swift, Antonoff delivers his own pop sensibility. Standout tracks include “Don’t Take the Money,” “Hate That You Know Me,” and “I Miss Those Days.” Gone Now is sure to interest fans of Passion Pit, Smallpools, and Fun.

  • Rise Against – Wolves

With revived political apprehension, Rise Against lives up to their name through diligent angst and exasperation on their eighth long-player. Fiery guitar melodies and resentful libretto characterize Wolves, solidifying it as another coterminous release in the band’s catalog. Standout tracks include “The Violence,” “Welcome to the Breakdown,” “House on Fire,” and “Mourning in Amerika.” Wolves will appeal to listeners of AFI, The Menzingers, and Sum 41.

  • Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

Granular distortion and crisp percussion grant this two-piece some fervor and ferocity, which is impressively pulled off with only a bass guitar and drum set. Royal Blood cemented themselves as a dark, sabulous duo on their 2014 debut album, but How Did We Get So Dark? elevates that charisma to new heights. Standout tracks include “Lights Out,” “I Only Lie When I Love You,” and “Hook, Line, & Sinker.” How Did We Get So Dark? is sure to satisfy followers of Highly Suspect, Wolf Alice, and Nothing But Thieves.

  • Phoenix – Ti Amo

The spellbinding dreaminess of Ti Amo attests to Phoenix’s dynamic musicianship and stylistic charm. Four years after 2013’s cool and glamorous Bankrupt!, Phoenix expands upon that glimmering and irresistible timbre on their sixth studio album. The synth-pop and relaxed appeal causes this release to be undeniably alluring. Standout tracks include “J-Boy,” “Ti Amo,” “Goodbye Soleil,” and “Fleur de Lys.” Ti Amo is bound to attract listeners of Atlas Genius, Passion Pit, and Foster the People.

  • LANY – LANY

Indie electropop band LANY unleashes their debut long-player detailed by glittery synth inflections and catchy, savory choruses. Through liquidy vocals and youthful lyrics, this self-titled project is colorful, vibrant, and lively, each song bringing a new spectacular attitude to the table. Standout tracks include “ILYSB,” “Super Far,” “Pancakes,” and “The Breakup.” LANY will capture fans of The 1975, Heart of Gold, and The Japanese House.

  • Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas – Telephone

Impish and beguiling, this bilingual frontwoman delivers a scorching sophomore full-length that is bound to bring you coming back for more. Telephone is spirited and jaunty between its buoyant, energetic anthems and rollicking choruses, but the more leisurely moments provide this album its devilish bite. Standout tracks include “Oh No,” “Bad At Loving You,” “Hot Damn,” and “Break Your Heart.” Telephone will appeal to followers of Catey Shaw, Elle King, and Lake Street Dive.

  • Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex

The mellow, daydreamy intonation of Cigarettes After Sex’s self-titled debut is entrancing and emotional. The heartfelt lyrics of this LP are captivating and compelling, which is complemented by the mesmerizing smoothness of the instrumentation. Standout tracks include “Apocalypse,” “Each Time You Fall in Love,” “Young & Dumb,” and “K.” Cigarettes After Sex will satisfy listeners of Bombay Bicycle Club, Lana Del Rey, and London Grammar.


Honorable Mentions
  • Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up

Mellow folk alternative bliss. Standout tracks include “Third of May/Ōdaigahara,” “Fool’s Errand,” and “Cassius.” For fans of The Oh Hellos, Julie Byrne, and Sea Wolf.

  • The White Noise – AM/PM

Piercing rock with impassioned vocals and a lot to offer. Standout tracks include “Bite Marks,” “Picture Day,” and “I Lost My Mind (In California).” For fans of A Day to Remember, Issues, and I Prevail.

  • Noah Guthrie – The Valley

Calming singer/songwriter folk beatitude. Standout tracks include “Pardon Me,” “I Would Die 4 U,” and “Leaving California.” For fans of Chris Dupont, Little Chief, and Trent Dabbs.

  • Hey Violet – From the Outside

Groovy, captivating pop rock. Standout tracks include “Brand New Moves,” “Break My Heart,” and “O.D.D.” For fans of DNCE, Before You Exit, and Masketta Fall.

  • Imagine Dragons – Evolve

Energetic pop rock with an electronic tinge. Standout tracks include “Walking the Wire,” “I Don’t Know Why,” and “Believer.” For fans of AWOLNATION, X Ambassadors, and Coldplay.

  • Volumes – Different Animals

Solid rock with a hip-hop verve. Standout tracks include “Finite,” “Feels Good,” and “On Her Mind (ft. Pouya).” For fans of Issues, Slaves, and Palisades.

  • Rancid – Trouble Maker

Gravelly punk rock with a convivial attitude. Standout tracks include “Where I’m Going,” “Ghost of a Chance,” and “Farewell Lola Blue.” For fans of NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, and The Bouncing Souls.

  • alt-J – Relaxer

Expressive, experimental indie alternative. Standout tracks include “In Cold Blood,” “Adeline,” and “3WW.” For fans of Bon Iver, Future Islands, and Arcade Fire.

  • London Grammar – Truth Is a Beautiful Thing

Minimalistic indie alt-pop. Standout tracks include “Oh Woman, Oh Man,” “Truth Is a Beautiful Thing,” and “Big Picture.” For fans of Banks, Elbow, and Foals.

  • Color Film – Living Arrangements

Fun, sprightly alt-rock. Standout tracks include “Even If It Did Exist,” “52 Minds,” and “Small Town.” For fans of Don Broco, Divine Fits, and The Social Animals.

  • Currents – The Place I Feel Safest

Exhilarating metal with a bite. Standout tracks include “Apnea,” “Night Terrors,” and “Silence.” For fans of Novelists, The Healing, and Delusions of Grandeur.

  • Portugal. The Man – Woodstock

Jovial indie alternative vibes. Standout tracks include “Feel It Still,” “Rich Friends,” and “So Young.” For fans of Atlas Genius, Cage the Elephant, and The Districts.


Let us know what you think of June’s releases down in the comments below!

What Can We Expect on 5SOS’s New Album?

Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer is fueling up for their third full-length album, the follow-up to 2015’s stellar Sounds Good, Feels Good. (Click here to read our full review of Sounds Good, Feels Good.) The boys have been teasing the process on social media for months now, claiming to be writing from time to time, but lately, the results are starting to seem more tangible. So what can we expect on this new long-player?

5SOS have cemented themselves as an upbeat pop rock band with some darker moments as well. The monumental hit “She Looks So Perfect” undoubtedly put the four-piece on the map with its international success and summertime charm, and the heartfelt “Amnesia” proved their more emotional side. Before that worldwide fame, 5SOS originally started out uploading humble covers to YouTube, everything from Mike Posner and Ed Sheeran to All Time Low and A Day to Remember. The unit had a rock edge to them but a pop sensibility and boy band image that made them easily accessible to a large mainstream audience, capturing fans on both ends of the spectrum. Due to their mainly female fanbase and energetic, poppy songwriting, 5SOS was faced with the issue of breaking out of that boy band label. They play their own instruments, write their own songs, and their work is dominated by distorted guitars and crisp drumming, all things that set them apart from the typical boy band mold.

Their self-titled debut album was unleashed in 2014 on the cusp of the boys transitioning from their teenage years into early adulthood, so 2015’s Sounds Good, Feels Good exhibited remarkable growth and maturation in both lyrical content and musicianship, even if releasing just one year after its predecessor. However, many critics judged the band for relying too heavily on their influences, like Green Day, blink-182, and All Time Low, among others. A number of their songs have actually been co-written with their icons, like Alex Gaskarth, Deryck Whibley, Roy Stride, and the Madden brothers, and John Feldmann has produced all of their projects to date. In their entire discography of ~70 songs, only 2 have no credited input from the boys: “Amnesia” and “Girls Talk Boys.” After releasing the latter for the 2016 Ghostbusters movie, their listeners were curious to see what direction the group would be heading in for their third LP. “Girls Talk Boys” was groovy, funky, and irresistibly catchy, but it didn’t exactly sound like a 5SOS song. It was not a bad track by any means, but it certainly put the band at a crossroads for where they could carry their upcoming style. Of course, “Girls Talk Boys” could have just been a departure from their usual timbre to fit the bill of the movie soundtrack considering the Ghostbusters theme song is known for its funky groove.

Yesterday, we finally got a hint at what may be to come. Michael Clifford posted this photo on Instagram which views the band with Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub. The caption reads: “creating magic with these dudes has been an incredible experience. so grateful to them for taking us on and helping us create something amazing ❤️.” So what can we infer from this interaction? 5SOS has worked with outside writers before, but never to this caliber. Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub are the songwriters to thank for some of the biggest hits of the 2010s, like One Direction’s colossal singles “What Makes You Beautiful,” “One Thing,” “Kiss You,” and “Live While We’re Young,” Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm” and “Starships,” and also songs from massive acts like Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Avicii, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, Tiesto, The Vamps, and Madonna. Rami Yacoub has also worked with Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, P!nk, *NSYNC, Enrique Iglesias, DNCE, Cher Lloyd, The Wanted, and Bon Jovi, and co-produced the landmark “… Baby One More Time” for Britney Spears. What does this mean for 5SOS?

From such an impressive catalog, Carl Falk and Rami could have just helped 5SOS write the biggest song(s) of their career for all we know. 5SOS could be moving in a more pop direction from the looks of it, but Falk claims his favorite instrument is the guitar and he tries to “always have guitar on [his] songs, almost like a trademark.” Maybe 5SOS and Falk are a match made in heaven. 5SOS will more than likely not give up their instruments any time soon, and with a guitar-savvy songwriter, this next album could have some of their best and most successful material to date. (Sounds Good, Feels Good did not warrant the mainstream attention that its antecedent received, so the record label may possibly be compensating for that by pairing the boys with Falk and Rami.) From all this information, fans can probably expect some songs similar to their debut and numerous cuts from their sophomore effort: buoyant pop rock with catchy melodies and radio-ready hooks. The boys will more than likely stick to their strings, so there’s not much to fret. (No pun intended.) We can trust 5SOS to deliver another outstanding album, possibly even their best to date. For those of us who appreciate the band’s rockier side, it may seem like the end of the world to see them working with such pop-oriented songwriters, but I’m fairly positive we won’t see them giving up their rock vantage at this point in their career, if ever. Of course, we have not seen what other songwriters have contributed to the project and the destined style the band has in mind, so much of this is quite early to call. Nonetheless, the future looks extremely bright for the Australian four-piece and we can assuredly remain optimistic and excited for this upcoming full-length, and keep in mind that this is all plainly speculation.

What are your thoughts and contemplation on the approaching release? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet at us on Twitter @AltColumnist!