What are the best albums being released over summer 2021?
Updated: May 8, 2021
Everything you need to know about the best 15 albums being released this summer. Featuring The Black Keys, The Lathums, Wolf Alice, Easy Life, The Vaccines and more!
With the weather getting warmer and the nights getting longer, there's also a host of new albums to soundtrack the summer. Here's a look at 15 albums we're most looking forward to.
The Black Keys - Delta Kream (14 May)
One album we can't wait to delve into is The Black Keys' tenth studio album, Delta Kream. The new covers project sees the duo reconnect back to their blues-rock roots, featuring 11 songs that pay homage to some of their heroes which include John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough.
Said to be recorded in less than 10 hours over two afternoon sessions, lead singer Dan Auerback admitted that "we made this record to honor the Mississippi hill country blues tradition that influenced us starting out".
The new record follows 2019's Let's Rock, a fantastic return to form after a five-year hiatus. Many fans worried that the duo hated each other so much the band were done, but here we are with another album due for release!
Whilst Let's Rock had its explosive hooks, Delta Kream appears to follow a different vibe altogether. A lower-key, Delta-blues inspired record, the boys playing the music they want to play, not caring about hits or radio play. And if the videos for 'Going Down South' and 'Crawling Kingsnake' are anything to go by, Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach had a lot of fun putting this album together!
Lord Huron - Long Lost (21 May)
Lord Huron are a far bigger band than they're given credit for. The Michigan band struck gold in 2016 when their song 'The Night We Met' was featured on the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. The song quickly grew arms and legs and now has over 700 million Spotify plays to date. They've picked up plenty of new fans along the way.
Their growing fanbase was delighted to hear the announcement of their fourth album on 21 May. It's their first since 2018's Vide Noir and the early signs aren't too shabby.
This year they've previewed songs like 'Not Dead Yet' and 'Mine Forever', both of which are sounding epic. They may not be the hippest band, but there's just something about their nostalgic western indie-folk sound that will mean this will be another success for them.
Twenty One Pilots - Scaled and Icy (21 May)
You can argue all you want about whether or not they're a pop act, but Twenty One Pilots are considered to many to be one of the biggest alternative bands around at the moment. Their sixth studio album Scaled and Icy is just around the corner.
The Grammy Award-winning Ohio duo were definitely late bloomers to the pop world, exploding in 2015 with their fourth album Blurryface. It was a record that spawned massive hits in 'Stressed Out', 'Ride' and 'Lane Boy' and led them to become a global phenomenon.
Now a festival headlining band with millions of fans around the world, they released their first preview single 'Shy Away' on 7 April. And it's safe to say that the new synth-rock sound has gone down a treat with old fans and new.
easy life - Life's A Beach (4 June)
Easy life bring much needed groove and plenty of coolness to this list. In case you didn't know, the Leicester band produce a unique brand of smooth, hook-filled, alternative r&b and they're a pretty darn enjoyable artist to listen to. They release Life's A Beach on 4 June.
Last year they were being hit with accolades left, right and centre. They finished second in BBC's Sound of 2020 list and won Best New British Act at the NME Awards 2020 following the release of their junk food EP (10 January 2020).
Recent single 'Skeletons' is a delicious indie-pop summer banger full of funk, swagger and groove. Just a cool, summer track and I've also been vibing with new song 'nightmares' too. Check them out if you're looking for something a little different.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Back the Way We Came Vol. 1, 2011-2021 (11 June)
I'm not going to lie, it was definitely a surprise to hear that Noel Gallagher's band were releasing a greatest hits album this summer. With all the wishful talk of an Oasis reunion (mostly from the Liam camp in fairness...) they still feel like a new band to me! So it was definitely a surprise to hear they've been on the go for 10 years now.
Alright, so you can argue the merits of such an album from an outfit who've only released three albums (though The Libertines and The Stone Roses released greatest hits with fewer albums...), but they've been really well-received records and you could argue Noel has produced some of the best music of his career over the past decade.
Most importantly, the album will feature two new songs in 'We're On Our Way Now' and 'Flying On the Ground', the former of which is a stunning return. It's proof that Noel hasn't lost his knack for songwriting ten years into this band's lifespan.
Back the Way We Came Vol. 1 is bound to be a brilliant reminder of why Noel's decision to split Oasis might not necessarily have been a bad one (sorry Oasis fans).
Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend (11 June)
When Wolf Alice released 'The Last Man on Earth' in February, I described it as "a stunning vocal performance from Ellie Rowsell on a beautiful track which is a gigantic departure from them!". I'll be honest to admit that I was pretty underwhelmed when I first heard it and was close to writing it off as a weak ballad (poor on my part, I know). Thankfully I kept an open mind, listened on and the track quickly became one of my favourites of the year.
What a long four years it's been since 2017's Mercury Prize winning Visions of a Life, a record which followed their stunning 2015 debut My Love Is Cool. Thankfully their comeback album is imminent and it's difficult not to get excited about what is around the corner from one of the UK's most exciting bands.
The best thing about the London-based alternative band is their diversity, able to move between delicate love songs and hard-hitting rock songs at ease. Ellie can move between cute and vicious, sometimes even in the same song. Second preview single 'Smile' has them spitting out venom and we absolutely love it.
Beach Riot - Subatomic (11 June)
Bands like Royal Blood, Black Honey and Dream Wife have been flying the flag for Brighton of late, and Beach Riot continue where they left off.
They describe themselves as a "Brighton fuzz pop, girl/guy fronted 4-piece with the sole aim to play as many sweaty, moshy gigs as possible". Just the kind of vibe to soundtrack our summer as we get out of lockdown (touch wood, of course...)
Singles like 'Tune In, Drop Out', 'Sofa Surfer' and 'Blush' are hooky, noisy, explosive rock songs with plenty of attitude. And what's not to love about that? They drop their debut album Subatomic on 11 June.
Modest Mouse - The Golden Casket (25 June)
Back in the 2000s I used to absolutely love Modest Mouse so imagine my delight on 5 May when the legendary American indie band announced the release of their seventh album. With the announcement they also previewed a new preview single 'We Are Between' and wow, how nice it was to have them back.
In an official release, the band revealed the new album would contain a mixture of "raw punk power and experimental studio science". Sounds encouraging, right?
Such a return has definitely been welcomed. It's been six years since 2015's divisive Strangers To Ourselves, an album which was their first in eight years (2007's We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank). To me, the Oregon-based band were one of the most unique indie bands of the 1990s and 2000s. Albums from them don't come about too often these days, so the excitement is off the scale for this one!
Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisers (4 July)
In April, I described Lana Del Rey's latest album Chemtrails Over the Country Club as her best record yet. It was a stripped-down collection of songs in a more folky, Americana style that we hadn't seen before from the New York singer. I'll admit that I wasn't a massive fan before, but this year I finally got on board the Lana train.
Having just released one of the albums of the year, Lana wasn't content at leaving it at that. Rivalling Taylor Swift's productive 2020, she quickly announced that Rock Candy Sweet would be ready for us by June.
As time went on, the details suddenly did too. The title was changed to Blue Banisters, with a release date set for 4 July; Independence Day in America (coincidence?). Chemtrails Over The Country Club furthered Lana's status as a singer at the top of their game. Why not strike again while the iron is hot?
Inhaler - It Won't Always Be Like This (16 July)
If ever a lead singer had pressure to live up to the success of their dad, it's Inhaler frontman, Elijah Hewson. His father is none other than Bono himself!
While such detail overwhelmed the early coverage of the band and threatened to overshadow their early career, they were able to back up the attention with plenty of banging indie tunes. There's been buzz about the Dublin four-piece for the past couple of years, culminating in early 2020 when they finished fifth on the BBC Sound of 2020 poll.
The Irish band produce a brand of catchy, anthemic indie rock, pounding basslines and big soundscapes. Upon revealing the news of their debut record, the band released 'Cheer Up Baby', a track given plenty of exposure on Radio 1.
It Won't Always Be Like This is expected to feature many of their old singles like 'My Honest Face' and 'When It Breaks'. It should be a big release this summer, just don't go expecting U2-style stadium tours just yet.
Wavves - Hideaway (16 July)
On 4 May, San Diego band Wavves announced their new album would be released on 16 July via Fat Possum. I used to be a big fan, but I'd lying if I didn't admit I'd kinda lost interest in them many years ago.
Upon seeing they had a new album out soon I jumped back in and was delighted at how good new singles 'Help is on the Way' and 'Sinking Feeling' were. I instantly fell in love with their punky, West Coast indie rock sound again.
The alternative King of the Beach band, who were formed in 2008 by Nathan Williams, are now on their seventh record. Hideaway will be their first record since 2017's You're Welcome and has been produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek.
Jake Bugg - Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (20 August)
Jake Bugg will release his fifth album (I bet you feel old now, eh?) in August, his first since 2017's Dan Auerbach produced Hearts That Strain.
After the release of tracks like 'Saviours of the City', 'Rabbit Hole' and 'All I Need' in 2020, the latter of which saw a more pop-focused approach, Jake announced Saturday Night, Sunday Morning was due for release in August.
It's the Nottingham singer-songwriter's first full-length release through RCA Records and he revealed it to be "the most fun I've ever had making a record". We can't wait to hear it.
Vistas - What Were You Hoping To Find? (20 August)
Edinburgh band Vistas have their second album arriving in August, waiting less than a year after their debut Everything Changes in the End to announce the release of What Were You Hoping To Find?.
Over the past couple of years, they've been championed by Radio 1 DJ's Jack Saunders, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens. They've also had over 30 million plays on Spotify alone, which isn't bad going for a new band still in their infancy.
New songs 'Stuck in Your Head' and 'Start Again' are incredibly catchy indie-pop tracks that have been getting us excited for their upcoming second album!
The Lathums (to be announced)
Having played to 5,000 fans at Liverpool's Sefton Park during a pilot event in May, The Lathums are expected to have a big summer. Earlier in the year, the BBC Sound of 2021 shortlisters announced an upgraded 21-date UK headline show in the autumn, and by then we should have an album to sing along to, right?
Whilst no release date for the Wigan band's debut has been revealed, sources close to the band have told me that the record should emerge "late-summer/early autumn". Don't let us down now lads.
In April, they released their first single of 2021, 'Oh My Love'. The song was a delightful indie jangle-pop banger with deeply personal lyrics from singer Alex Moore. Mark my words, The Lathums will deliver one of the records of the year.
The Vaccines (to be announced)
Earlier in the year, I took a look at bands that were rumoured to be releasing new music in 2021 and the evidence was strong for The Vaccines. It's 10 years since the West London band released their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? and the band have been hinting for some time that the follow up to 2018's Combat Sports is nearing completion. Thankfully it's not just wishful thinking on my part.
In December, the band tweeted the word "mixed" with a picture indicating the new record would be 13 songs over 47 minutes. Singer Justin Young then told San Francisco Rock Neto radio station in January that "it's the best record we've ever made...heavier in places, but it's poppier in others".
Earlier in the year (5 March), The Vaccines released Cosy Karaoke, Vol. 1, a low-key and (occasionally) slick collection of covers of songs by the likes of Waxahatchee, Queens of the Stone Age and Kacey Musgraves. With them finding the time to publish such a side-project, you can only assume a new album is due for imminent release. Well, we can only assume that to be the case.
Let me know what album you're looking forward to the most on Twitter @BFloodlights.
You can find the best of the above on our Blinded by the Floodlights indie recommendations playlist. It's updated every week with the latest releases and songs we have on repeat.