11 New Albums To Put On Repeat This Summer: BUST Playlist

by BUST Magazine

Need some new songs to add to your Summer 2017 playlist? Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Here’s a list of 11 recently released albums BUST is listening to this month, featuring Katie Ellen, Halsey, Waxahatchee, and more.

Arcade Fire


Everything Now
4/5 BUST rating

Can Arcade Fire live? Their fifth LP, Everything Now, is convinced that the internet – and its infinite content – is hijacking our existence. The track title is a disco diatribe against on-demand culture, while “Signs Of Life” recalls Blondie’s “Rapture,” as Win Butler raps about internet zombies. These themes feel familiar, but there’s an earnestness that was missing from 2013’s Reflektor. “Put Your Money on Me” is a love song about disconnecting in order to find real connection. It may have some rolling their eyes, but it’s reminiscent of AF’s debut Funeral, when they were just kids asking us to wake up. Once again, our eyes are open. –SHANNON CARLIN

Liana Banks by Andrew Espinal


Apt 210 EP
4/5 BUST rating

Though Apt 210 is a debut EP for Liana Bank$, the indie R&B artist has already had success in the music industry as a songwriter; she’s working with Lily Allen, and even wrote PnB Rock’s hit “Selfish.” With her independently released EP, however, she’s taking full creative control, and the result is thrilling. Bank$ transitions seamlessly from slinky, late summer pool party jams (“Ghost,” “Cold Summer”) to deeply personal lyrical poetry (“Dead Beat Dad”), to irresistible pop anthems (“Not Today”). Through it all, her soft rasp is as unique as a fingerprint. Apt 210 is a place you’ll want to return to over and over again. –LIZ GALVAO

Beach House


B-Sides & Rarities
(Sub Pop Records)
3/5 BUST rating

Beach House has perfected their sound so much over the past decade, there really is no such thing as a bad Beach House song – there are only lesser Beach House songs. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have noted that B-Sides & Rarities contains songs they like but couldn’t find a place for on their albums, yet nothing here is quite as majestic as “Master of None” or “Elegy to the Void.” Still, superfans will appreciate the inclusion of the infinitely superior single version of “Used to Be” from Teen Dream, while casual listeners will swoon for “Chariot,” a gorgeous track anchored by Legrand’s striking vocals. –ELIZA C. THOMPSON



hopeless fountain kingdom
4/5 BUST rating

The prologue to “Romeo and Juliet” appropriately opens Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom, a concept album about lovers in limbo from the self-described “tri-bi” singer (biracial, bisexual, bipolar). Halsey’s second album delivers on the pop hit promise of her unexpectedly successful debut, from the fun “100 Letters” to catchy tracks “Now or Never,” “Lie,” and “Bad at Love.” Even the unexpectedly shy “Good Mourning” lands, though it ends prematurely at one minute. A real gem, however, is “Strangers,” Halsey’s duet with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui, a love song for queer women, by queer women. Halsey breaks the mold and hits her mark. –WHITNEY DWIRE

Sarah Jaffe


Bad Baby
(Kirtland Records)
3/5 BUST rating

Sarah Jaffe’s fifth full-length album opens with “Synthetic Love,” a six-and-a-half minute track that introduces a record full of cosmic electropop, wistful vocals, and lyrics that reveal a playful heart. The indie singer/songwriter’s ability to produce heartfelt lyricism alongside pop-friendly beats is most prominent on tracks such as “No Worries” and “Doctors Orders,” while acoustic standout “Help Yourself” showcases her stripped down, vulnerable side. Jaffe loves to play with layers, and one can tell each song’s instrumentation was painstakingly crafted. Bad Baby is a sonically complex album full of the contemporary experience. –SAMMY MAINE

Chain the Gang


Best of Crime Rock
(In the Red Records)
4/5 BUST rating

Chain & the Gang is frontman Ian Svenonius’ longest-running and most prolific project; rock ‘n’ roll punctuated by derisive, anthemic lyrics. Best of Crime Rock isn’t quite a compilation album – at least, not a typical one. It’s a revisiting and re-recording of the band’s best tracks, as well as a release of a few new ones (“The Logic of Night” and “Come Over”). This time, there seems to be more humor and self-awareness behind Svenonius’ vocals, chipping away at the wall between listeners and artist. The track list is sure to please any Chain & the Gang diehard, as well as those who just dabble. –EMILIE VON UNWERTH

Katie Ellen


Cowgirl Blues
(Lauren Records)
4/5 BUST rating

Katie Ellen is the new band from Anika Pyle, former lead singer of Chumped, and their debut album brings a softer touch to moody indie punk. Even though their sound on Cowgirl Blues is quieter than Pyle’s previous band, Katie Ellen will still please plenty of Pyle’s fans. Take “Lucy Stone,” whose opening line is, “Well, I don’t want to have your children. Does that make me less of a woman?” Pyle’s move to be open throughout the record about relatable topics invites the listener to examine their own life. However, that’s just a bonus on top of already great music. –KATHRYN HENSCH

Offa Rex


The Queen of Hearts
(Nonesuch Records)
4/5 BUST rating

Start with singer/songwriter Olivia Chaney. Add the Decemberists. Layer in centuries-old British folk tunes, and filter it all through a baroque, psychedelic, ’60s-revival lens. That’s the basic formula for Offa Rex – and the resulting album rockets beyond the sum of its parts. The Queen of Hearts gives traditional songs fresh life. Though it definitely conjures the rolling moors and wood-paneled pubs you’d expect – see the trilling “Willie O’ Winsbury” – it’s unexpected counterpoints like the vaguely Brit-pop, momentarily shoegazing “Sheepcrook and Black Dog” that give it a haunted, hypnotic X factor. Offa Rex’s debut is unusual, and resolutely gorgeous. –MOLLIE WELLS

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart


The Echo of Pleasure
(Painbow Records)
3/5 BUST rating

With The Echo of Pleasure, the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have made an album packed with change. On their fourth full-length release, the New York City indie-pop group shows a more mature side than we’ve heard before, shifting their focus from playground pleasures to a mature understanding of love. Songs like “Anymore” are rich with heavy synths, the crescendo of Kip Berman’s vocals, and ’90s-era chord progressions à la Oasis. There’s a melancholy quality to the lyrics, which are nicely juxtaposed by the band’s poppy sound. Combining darkness with light, the Pains carve out a world of truth and drama with captivating melodies. –CLAIRE MCKINZE

Shabazz Palaces quazarz born on a gangster star


Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star
(Sub Pop Records)
3/5 BUST rating

When Shabazz Palaces dropped their previous project Lese Majesty in 2011, it was grouped into segments that lacked continuity. The Seattle-based hip hop duo return with Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star, one of two simultaneously released concept albums. This time, they maintain cohesiveness from the start of one to the end of the other. Born on a Gangster Star volleys between beat-driven tracks like “Eel Dreams” and “Fine Ass Hairdresser” to all-out conscious parties like “Moon Whip.” Multiple listens are required to truly receive all the messages here, which both helps and hinders this album’s impact. –KATHY IANDOLI



Out in the Storm
(Merge Records)
5/5 BUST rating

Out in the Storm finds Waxahatchee frontwoman Katie Crutchfield upping the ante to deliver her best barrage of grunge-pop yet. Opener “Never Been Wrong” is a clarion call, setting the tone for an album that goes deep into major feels, excoriating a crappy relationship and asserting newfound independence. Crutchfield’s songwriting shows shades of ’90s indie favorites like Juliana Hatfield (“A Little More”) and the Lemonheads (“Silver”), though the lyrical brashness on tracks like “Hear You” are evidence of Crutchfield’s undeniably modern perspective. Unlike past releases, Crutchfield and her band recorded most of the music live, giving Out in the Storm exhilarating, guitar-driven energy. –JULIA BEMBENEK


This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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