Best Upcoming New Music: Summer-Album Release Schedule

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos: Getty

So much great music has come out in 2023 that it’s hard to believe we’re only five months through the year. Paramore’s This Is Why arrived back in February, when the country was still all lathered up about Chinese spy balloons. Since then, we’ve had boygenius, Lana, Frank at Coachella, Metallica, Smokey’s Gasms, and so much more. The relentless pace of new releases will continue as the weather warms up and the festivals rage on. Beginning with an abundance of high-profile drops arriving in the first fortnight of June, this looks to be a season of welcome returns and (fingers crossed) some pleasant surprises. Here are just a handful of the many upcoming LPs that’ll be soundtracking our summer of ’23, and a few we hope to hear by the time Labor Day rolls around.

Following their TikTok rise and well-received 2021 mixtape, Demidevil, genre-smashing rapper/singer/otherworldly polymath Ashnikko is finally here with their proper debut album. So far they’ve released the bombastic title track, the in-your-face “You Make Me Sick,” and the reggae-tinged “Worms,” which are three parts of the concept album’s larger narrative Ashnikko describes as “the story of a fae civilization occupied and destroyed by machines that feed on organic matter where the faerie protagonist seeks revenge by becoming part machine.”

Back in 2021, Bob Dylan emerged from lockdown for Shadow Kingdom, a one-night-only streaming concert on the service Veeps. If you somehow missed that, he’s got you covered with the album version. Backed by a band that included Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek, the bard put new spins on classics such as “Pledging My Time,” which he hadn’t performed since the ’90s and very well might never again.

In another era, the latest cuts from Nashville’s Bully are the kind of hooky, slick-but-not-overly-so songs that should cross over from the alternative charts to mainstream pop radio. On tracks like “Days Move Slow” and the Soccer Mommy duet “Lose You,” Alicia Bognanno blends a summer-fun veneer with deeply personal lyrics.

Even for a band that was born in the wake of tragedy, it’s almost astonishing that Foo Fighters are back with a new album this soon after drummer Taylor Hawkins’s shocking 2022 death. But it’s also not surprising that Dave Grohl & Co. would immerse themselves in music as a means to grieve, heal, and honor their friend. Thanks to the lead single “Rescued,” it’s clear that But Here We Are will be an emotional, joyful walloping.

“Brothers come and go, but the ability to write a hook never dies” is a phrase nobody says, but it’s one that surely applies to Noel Gallagher. On his fourth solo album, the former Oasis mastermind is mining his Mancunian youth for inspiration, with ex-Smith Johnny Marr appearing on three tracks. The extended version of Council Skies also features Lennon and Dylan covers, remixes by Robert Smith and Pet Shop Boys, demos, and live cuts.

Based on the title track and the 58-second ripper “Don’t Make Me Do It,” it appears that Rancid have fountain-of-youthed themselves back to the hungry, not-so-young punks who wrote 1994’s Let’s Go. With 16 tracks lasting just over 28 minutes, the Bay Area quartet’s tenth album is its shortest to date and promises to be a breakneck banger that’s perfect for those of us who have a little frustration to vent.

After getting her rightful recognition as a country all-timer with her 2019 comeback LP While I’m Livin’, Tanya Tucker isn’t slowing down. For her 26th studio album, Sweet Western Sound, she’s reteamed with producers Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings for a ten-song set that also features Bernie Taupin and the late Billy Joe Shaver. Now in her fifth decade in the industry, Tucker has a voice that’s as honeyed-tough as ever, as evident on the lead single, “Kindness.”

Taking inspiration from Tony Kushner’s landmark play Angels in America, Christine and the Queens’ latest is a continuation of last year’s mostly French-language Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue). This time around, Chris’s gorgeous synth-pop, co-produced by Mike Dean, serves as “a key towards heart-opening transformation, a prayer towards the self,” an ambitious goal that’s aided by guest spots from Madonna and rapper 070 Shake.

Niall’s last album, Heartbreak Weather, had the unfortunate release date of March 13, 2020, forcing him to cancel his supporting tour and leaving him in lockdown like the rest of us. With no other outlet, the former 1Der started writing new material, which he says is much more profound thanks to his time spent in seclusion. The single “Meltdown” reflects that at-home insanity while “Heaven” is all about finding happiness in spite of the world around us.

That Isbell, man — he’ll break your heart and do it with brevity. Take, for example, “Cast Iron Skillet,” which weaves a novel’s worth of drama and heartache into 300 or so words. Of course, he and the band — featuring his wife, Amanda Shires, on fiddle and vocals — can always kick it up a notch, as heard on “Death Wish” and its cyclone of a crescendo. You know an album’s good when its first singles sound like they’ll be in the setlist for years to come.

For most people, commuting means getting from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible. For Archy Marshall, a.k.a. British singer-songwriter King Krule, the time spent traveling back and forth between London and Liverpool inspired him to craft an album about the physical and emotional spaces between us all. Check out the languid “Seaforth,” on which he shares writing credits with his baby daughter, for the existential vibe.

During the pandemic, we all tried to find some activity to keep us sane, with varying results. And while many people busied themselves with breadmaking and puzzle solving, Jenny Lewis joined a songwriting group led by Beck and ended up honing part of her fifth solo record. The end result, Joy’All, is produced by Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile) and features contributions from Jon Brion and Lucius’s Jess Wolfe.

Well, we certainly can’t complain that Janelle took five years to release the follow-up to her third LP, Dirty Computer, given her dual-role star turn in Glass Onion. This generation’s successor to Prince returns with The Age of Pleasure, which includes the sultry, reggae-tinged single “Lipstick Lover,” a song she described in a statement as “rooted in self acceptance, throbbing in self discovery.” If you’re wondering what that means, the accompanying NSFW video will clue you in.

Following a pair of self-titled albums in 2017, Providence’s Deer Tick are back with a ten-song set that features contributions from Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin, singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews, and front man John McCauley’s wife, the venerable Vanessa Carlton. It seems the time off has paid dividends — the nine-minute album closer “The Real Thing” already ranks among their best yet.

2012’s R.A.P. Music was a game changer for Killer Mike, bringing widespread acclaim and leading to his Run the Jewels partnership with the album’s producer, El-P. His first solo album since then, Michael, promises to be his “origin story,” blending all the cultural influences that make him such a force. Single “DON’T LET THE DEVIL” features EL-P and thankugoodsir with a bass-heavy soul sample that’s meant to be blasted from a car stereo, windows down.

Following up 2017’s Mark Ronson–produced Villains, Queens of the Stone Age regrouped and decided to handle the boards for their font-named eighth album. Recorded at frontman Josh Homme’s now-shuttered Pink Duck studio and Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La, In Times New Roman… is led by “Emotion Sickness,” which finds them at their sinister, bar-band-on-acid best.

Being kind, generous, and accepting are simple concepts. Yusuf, a.k.a. Cat Stevens, seems to recognize that not everybody sees it that way, though, and rather than lament or rail against our divides and cruelties, he’s here to teach us. On King of a Land, Yusuf blends his usual gorgeous folk stylings with children’s music that simplifies these complexities for all to hear, learn, and hopefully put into practice.

One of the dangers of marrying a musician is that if you get divorced, there’s a good chance they’re going to write a song — or worse, an album — about what went wrong. That appears to be the situation Kelly Clarkson’s ex finds himself in after their acrimonious divorce and its ranch-related drama. On chemistry, her first album of originals since 2017’s Meaning of Life, Clarkson navigates all the highs and lows of love with assists from an eclectic group of guests including Gayle, Sheila E., and, comedy/banjo maestro Steve Martin.

Though Portugal. The Man’s latest album is dedicated to Chris Black, a friend and honorary band member who died in 2019, that grief hasn’t made front man John Baldwin Gourley morose. Just check out their hypnotic first single, “Dummy,” an ode to the Cure that’s meant “for all those hopeless doomers out there waxing poetic on the end times while dancing to ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’” It’s produced by “Uptown Funk” Grammy winner Jeff Bhasker, one reason to expect plenty of curveballs from the Alaska psych-poppers.

Written in the aftermath of a 2020 stroke that left her unable to play guitar, the esteemed singer-songwriter’s 15th record is a testament to both her grit and the respect she’s earned from her peers. She proves as much on the lead single “New York Comeback,” which features some vocal help from a guy named Bruce Springsteen. Elsewhere on this powerhouse release, you’ll hear Angel Olsen, Margo Price, Buddy Miller, and former Replacement Tommy Stinson.

With Rid of Me turning 30 this May, one might assume that PJ Harvey would be drawn back to that landmark album’s raw ferocity. Instead, her new full-length, I Inside the Old Year Dying, is heavily improvisational, with lyrics inspired by her 2022 epic poem, Orlam. The lead single, “A Child’s Question, August” tells a bit of that fantastical narrative using traditional Dorset dialect — a far cry from “50ft Queenie” and still fascinating.

As if she weren’t already poised to dominate the summer with the Eras Tour, Taylor decided to go ahead and give us something we can get without dealing with a monopolistic, morally bankrupt corporate behemoth that’s ruining the live-music experience. (That’s Ticketmaster. We’re talking about Ticketmaster.) As she announced during a recent show, she’s rerecorded 2010’s Speak Now and expanded it with the addition of six from-the-vault tunes, a gift that’ll maybe help heal some broken hearts.

Rita Ora (or is it Waititi-Ora?) is back with her follow-up to 2018’s Phoenix, recently hyping things up with the Fatboy Slim–featuring “Praising You,” a reimagining of his 1999 smash “Praise You.” Apparently, the autobiographical collection is very focused on her recent years, though we don’t suppose it’ll have another track explaining what’s going on in the video for “You Only Love Me.”

We all know Greta Van Fleet’s deal by now, and if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. If it is, you’ll be happy with the band’s new track, “Meeting the Master,” and all its sparkly, 12-string glory. That’s the first taste of their Dave Cobb–produced third album, which will reportedly feature characters that’ll make up a larger GVF universe. Unfortunately, we don’t know if that means there’ll be a tie-in line of action figures.

After a decade of albums with Best Coast, Bethany Cosentino has gone solo, shedding both her “front woman” label and the duo’s distorted, lo-fi sound. Produced by Butch Walker, Natural Disaster takes its cues from the likes of Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt, and you can hear those influences in her breezy, catchy-as-hell single “It’s Fine.”

After a tumultuous few years in which she canceled her second album, Factory Baby; pondered quitting music; and drew both raves and condemnation for her very valid criticisms of fellow artists, the Chicago rapper and activist says she’s back. So far, all we know about her follow-up to 2018’s Room 25 comes from her Instagram post that simply announced that Sundial will be out in July. No matter when it arrives, we’ll be glad to have her incisive commentary to help make sense of this increasingly screwed-up world.

Not too much is known about the Buffalo rapper’s fourth album, other than it’s his first for Def Jam and is produced entirely by Hit-Boy. The two previously teamed up on 2020’s Burden of Proof, which represented a more polished sound than much of his other work, a move that helped Benny earn a much-deserved wider audience. Oh, and he’s also apparently got an auto-racing company debuting soon!

Our long international nightmare is over — after 11 years without a Hives album, the sartorially smart Swedes are back in all their absurd glory. Now they’re gracing us with The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, an album they say shows no signs of maturity or anything else that would dull their hard-strutting edge. The lead single, “Bogus Operandi,” and its ridiculous cabin-horror video are proof they haven’t lost a single step since we last saw them.

The Brazilian singer reached new heights in 2022 with her star-studded set at Coachella and second multilingual LP Versions of Me. In March, she described her supposedly now-finished album as “very cultural” and “very Brazilian,” but since then, she’s switched labels — often a sign that any new releases will get pushed back. Still, we are hoping for a mid-to-late summer surprise.

Fans have come to expect the unexpected from Bey, who’s made surprise music drops, visual albums, and accompanying behind-the-scenes documentaries practically the industry standard for today’s pop stars. So when the singer announced that Renaissance was just the first installment in a trilogy, it wasn’t a matter of how Beyoncé would follow up her first act, but when. Since dropping Act I in 2022, Bey has gone (album) silent, leaving us to wonder what exactly she has in store for the new year — you know, other than a world tour. Some fans have combed through Ivy Park footage for clues, while others have leaned into the idea that Act II might be a return to Beyoncé’s Houston roots. Whatever she has in store for us, let’s hope Bey pulls back the curtain soon. —Cat Cardenas

Front man Tom DeLonge is back in the fold after leaving the group in 2015. (More recently, drummer Travis Barker has collaborated with a number of artists, including Avril Lavigne and Willow, and spent at least half of last year making out with his wife, Kourtney Kardashian, while bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus has been working on a book about the band and his recent battle with cancer.) And though a massive world tour is happening now, we still don’t know much else about the newly reunited trio’s ninth album other than what DeLonge has teased as the “most progressive and elevated music” they’ve ever written.

Would we have liked it sooner? Definitely. But Cardi has kept us fed with the kind of massive, multiplatinum singles that most artists would kill for, from “Please Me” with Bruno Mars to the unforgettable “WAP” with Megan Thee Stallion. Plus, with a string of spotlight-stealing features on “Taki Taki,” “Rumors,” and GloRilla’s “Tomorrow 2,” Cardi has made sure her name is always on our lips. Still, it’s been five whole years since the release of her massively successful debut, Invasion of Privacy. Thankfully, the rapper has assured us that her sophomore album will finally arrive in 2023. “I have no choice,” she said on The Breakfast Club. “I need to just make up my mind and put it out. I’m too much in my head about it.”

We’ll give Robert Smith a bit of leeway when it comes to releasing this long-awaited record — the man’s been busy, admirably battling Ticketmaster over ticket pricing and sales for the Cure’s summer tour. The band has teased this latest collection since 2022, first promising they’d get it out before touring Europe, but it has yet to materialize, despite several of the songs finding their way into the Cure’s setlists.

Over the past year, Doja has had fun keeping her fans guessing, first teasing a rap album, then a “’90s German rave”–inspired album, then joking that it would be experimental jazz before tweeting that it would be a rock-emo album. You can never be 100 percent sure what Doja will serve up next, but in interviews last year, she mentioned a new record that will be “quite consistent.” —CC

Dua Lipa’s disco-heavy 2020 album Future Nostalgia kept us dancing while the world shut down. Since jetting off on a nonstop world tour in 2022, she hasn’t looked back, single-handedly keeping the glittering-catsuit industry afloat and reminding everyone just how far her choreo skills have come. The singer has been slowly teasing out details of her upcoming third album, though she’s also told The Wall Street Journal that she’s “in no rush” to release anything. Thanks to some dedicated internet sleuths, many fans are now convinced that Dua will be headed in a psychedelic-pop direction after matching the banisters in a photo dump to ones at Kevin Parker of Tame Impala’s home studio. —CC

It’s been a long, long seven years since Frank Ocean dropped Blonde. The singer’s critically acclaimed sophomore release cemented him as one of music’s most inventive and introspective artists, but as fans eagerly awaited a follow-up, the ensuing years have been marked by more than a few false starts and fakeouts. Past the handful of singles he’s put out over the years, there have been several recent reasons not to give up hope. We know thanks to Rosalía and Ocean’s Apple Music 1 show that he has been in the studio, and he was believed to be “shopping” an upcoming record with different record labels last year. But after his messy Coachella performance in April, who knows when we’ll get it. —CC

In case you needed a refresher, 2022 was a wild year for Grimes: We found out about her breakup with Elon Musk, the existence of her second child, and her relationship with Chelsea Manning all in the span of 48 hours. She also allegedly got “elf ear” surgery. This year, she’s dipping into the AI game — and (possibly?) her once-teased albums Book 1 and Book 2, both of which would be part of a “space opera” about a robot and her lesbian lover. —CC

Since rekindling her relationship with Dunkin Donuts enthusiast Ben Affleck, J.Lo has gotten a bit … sentimental. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that the newlywed is coming full circle to her 2002 album This Is Me … Then (famously dedicated to Affleck) by releasing a sequel with 2023’s This Is Me … Now. The 13-track album also has Lopez singing a follow-up to her 2002 song “Dear Ben.” “This album is a philosophy, a reflection, a Zeitgeist moment. It’s about hope, faith, and true love never dying,” she said in a statement. Let’s hope it also gives us another “Jenny From the Block.”

The R&B singer-songwriter announced his third album back in 2021 and has since said he’s being very, very particular about its sound, hence the delay. Then, earlier this spring, he dropped the sexy-smooth “Softest Touch,” which he says is for the “summer days into the summer nights” when you’re hanging with the people you love. Hopefully Everything arrives before the season ends.

The upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee hasn’t put out a full-length since 2005’s The Cookbook, nor has she given us an album of any duration since 2019’s Iconology EP. But according to her longtime pal Timbaland, she’s got new tunes in the works, some of which have a Latin, “underground Brazilian funk” sound. “We’ve got a lot of songs we’re gonna start recording soon, and my dream is to have it out around her birthday in July,” he said back in April.

A quick recap of things that have come and gone since we first learned about Normani’s “upcoming” debut: six of Pete Davidson’s girlfriends, Aunt Becky’s Varsity Blues trial, Megxit, Tiger King, and the “Let’s Get Loud” heard round the world. With her sultry, acrobatic vocals and impressive choreography, Normani’s star power isn’t in doubt. Her singles, from “Motivation” in 2019 to “Fair” in 2022, have each showcased her versatility. But will this finally be the year she graces us with an album? Only time will tell. —CC

2021 belonged to Olivia Rodrigo. Her debut album allowed her to pull off the often attempted, rarely landed jump from Disney star to serious artist with the release of Sour. It’s unclear whether Rodrigo will stay in the pop-punk lane that earned her 11 Billboard Top-30 hits, but in addition to revealing that she’s already titled the project, she also told Elle that she was excited to “explore more colors and textures and feelings” with her next record. The singer hasn’t officially confirmed a 2023 release date but did seem to hint at the possibility of new music in a video to her top fans on Spotify. —CC

Whether you’d completely given up on the idea or continued to hold out hope over the last seven years, the announcement that Rihanna would be headlining the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show seemed like a guaranteed reason to celebrate the singer’s elusive ninth album. Not so fast, though. “Super Bowl is one thing,” she told the Associated Press in November. “New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?” Between managing her billion-dollar empire and adjusting to motherhood, Rihanna did at least release “Lift Me Up,” a slow R&B ballad for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.

It’s easy to forget that Saweetie has yet to officially make her debut. For years in a row, the “My Type” rapper has pushed back the release of her first album, Pretty Bitch Music, to “reconstruct some songs.” Saweetie has continued to build anticipation with strong singles like “Tap In”; her relentlessly catchy collaboration with Doja Cat, “Best Friend”; and her disco-infused bop “Closer,” featuring H.E.R. —CC

Among all the artists on this list, Sky Ferreira holds the record for the longest break between major releases. To be fair, it’s not entirely her fault. The singer’s issues with her label are infamous and date back to her 2013 debut, Night Time, My Time. Despite her struggles, Ferreira still released one of the strongest albums of the 2010s — one that rejected traditional pop sounds and opted for a grunge and New Wave–influenced landscape that was all her own. Last year’s “Don’t Forget,” her first single in three years and the latest hint at her sophomore album, Masochist, is big — an anthemic reminder that Ferreira can still write a song that hooks its way into you. “A lot of it’s is written,” the singer told Vulture in May about her album. “It took me a long time to get back here, but I’m back. I’m not gonna back down that easily. I’ve done all the groundwork, and it’s ready, and I’m ready.” —CC

We’re not ones to rush a new mom into doing anything; it’s understandable Victoria would want to take things a little more slowly since welcoming her first child in 2021. But she has said Jaguar II, the follow-up to her standout 2020 EP, is on its way, and she put out the Lucky Daye duet “Smoke” back in March to tide us over. Let’s hope our patience pays off with more tunes like that.