Every weekday, for the next 10 weeks, I’ll post a playlist of the best songs by year for the period spanning 1967-2017. I’ve limited myself to one song per album, but artists who released more than one album in a year may be listed multiple times. Happy listening!
Rock is dead. Long live rock. Greta Van Fleet is a (very) young band with an old sound, resurrecting the thunder-and-lightning aesthetic of Led Zeppelin for a modern audience. In fact, they sound so much like the legendary foursome (especially lead singer Robert Plant) that it’s almost scary. While they’ve only released a four-song album thus far, I am eager to see how this group of recent high school grads will evolve in the years to come.
Listen to their debut EP, Black Smoke Rising, on Spotify.
Shout-out to my friend Dan for tipping me off to these guys.
Relaxer by Alt-J (June 2)
“The Mercury Prize-winning English band have been relatively silent since their 2014 sophomore set This Is All Yours, save for a 2016 solo record from drummer Thom Sonny Green. Next month’s third album (which returns Charlie Andrew as producer) will be followed by a world tour.”
Waiting on a Song by Dan Auerbach (June 2)
“Described by the artist as ‘a love letter to Nashville,’ the second solo album from the Black Keys frontman/guitarist is culled from five dozen songs that Auerbach recently recorded in his Nashville studio with guests including Duane Eddy, Gene Chrisman, John Prine, and Mark Knopfler. It’s the debut release for his new label, Easy Eye Sound. A second album from Auerbach’s side project The Arcs could also be in the works, though the Black Keys themselves remain on a break.”
Crack-Up by Fleet Foxes (June 16)
“The critically acclaimed indie-folk band’s third album (and first since 2011’s Helplessness Blues) is an ambitious and experimental set (mixed by Phil Ek) that arrives next month on the band’s new label, Nonesuch. It’s the Foxes’ first LP without drummer Josh Tillman, who has since gone on to a successful solo career as Father John Misty. An expanded version of the band is touring this summer (for the first time in six years), and frontman Robin Pecknold is also working on a solo album, with a fourth FF album to follow.”
Painted Ruins by Grizzly Bear (August 18)
“Two years in the making, the Brooklyn art-rockers’ first new studio album since 2012’s Shields will be followed by a tour this fall. The band’s own bassist Chris Taylor again serves as producer.”
City Music by Kevin Morby (June 16)
“Former Woods and current The Babies member Kevin Morby returns with his fourth solo album, which he is billing as a counterpart to last year’s Singing Saw. Given the acclaim for that release, that’s only a good thing.”
Ti Amo by Phoenix (June 9)
“The French band has been relatively silent since the release of 2013’s Bankrupt!, though the coming months will see not just the arrival of summery sixth album Ti Amo and a world tour, but also the release of Sofia Coppola’s new drama The Beguiled, which features music composed for the film by Phoenix. (Frontman Thomas Mars is married to Coppola.)”