Beyoncé’s Formation tour
Currently wowing North America, Beyoncé’s Formation tour is a maximalist spectacle sparing no expense. Set designer de jour Es Devlin is behind the luxe visuals and coups de theatre featuring 20 dancers and a 60ft tall box of screens dubbed “the monolith”.
Tour continues London 2/3 Julycorrect, Manchester 5 July, Glasgow 7 July
Bat for Lashes
It’s fourth album time for Natasha Khan, who has long combined her aerated, otherworldly voice with ambitious and diverse backdrops. Previewed by a recent short film, I Do, the concept this time around is The Bride – a tragic figure around whom romance, hope and disappointment swirl.
The Bride is out 1 July on Parlophone
Kendrick Lamar and Carole King
The British Summer Time festival boasts two very different exclusives. On 2 July, Kendrick Lamar will support Florence + the Machine, the superlative rapper’s only UK date this summer. The next night, Carole King, now 74, will play her celebrated 1971 album Tapestry in its entirety – the first time she has performed in London for nearly 30 years.
Hyde Park, London, 2/3 July
The Julie Ruin
Last year, Kathleen Hanna – reluctant feminist-in-chief to a generation of music fans – announced her recovery from Lyme disease. Since then, her latterday five-piece (featuring Kathi Wilcox from Bikini Kill) have been working on the followup to 2013’s Run Fast, promising shake-outs and intimacy.
Hit Reset is out 8 July on Hardly Art
The return of the Avalanches
Reactions to the first new music in 16 years from Australia’s plunder-phonics crew have been mixed – Sinatra mixes calypso, smutty verses and oompah music. Their second album has a mind-blowing array of guest spots however (Father John Misty, Jennifer Herrema), and you have to trust XL not to have bankrolled a dud.
Wildflower is out 8 July on XL
The return of LCD Soundsystem
There was some static when James Murphy announced his much-loved LCD Soundsystem were reuniting, having disbanded with considerable fanfare in 2011 with a farewell gig, an album of the farewell gig, and a film about the runup to the end. We’ve no such qualms. If you miss them at Glastonbury, here are two more chances to dance.
T in the Park 10 July and Lovebox Festival 15 July
Hip-hop in heat
Most big releases drop in the autumn. This summer sees an uncommonly large wave of rappers releasing new albums (or being strongly rumoured to do so) – Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Pusha T, Pitbull, French Montana, Schoolboy Q, DJ Shadow. Slightly left-of-field is the debut album by producer Clams Casino (aka Michael Volpe), who’s worked on tracks for A-listers (Lil B, A$AP Rocky) and put out a series of woozy, emotive mix tapes. 32 Levels promises to consolidate Volpe’s vision.
32 Levels is out 15 July on Columbia
Last year, Walker released Primrose Green, a contemporary folk-rock record tinged with jazz that garnered almost universal kudos. The Chicago singer-songwriter toured extensively – sometimes in the company of veteran double-bassist Danny Thompson – then headed home to record with Wilco collaborator LeRoy Bach. Accordingly, everything good about Walker steps up a gear on Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, which now boasts clarinets and a tinge of Red House Painters.
Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is out 19 August on Dead Oceans
The grime revival shows no sign of slowing. After Kano’s Made In The Manor and Skepta’s Konnichiwa added cohesive long-players to the genre’s track-dominated rise, all eyes are on Stormzy, who’s been readying his debut for an age. Distractions have included speaking at the Oxford Union, a Beats 1 radio show and suggesting new burgers to Nando’s. No release has been set, but the vibe is summer 2016.
The return of De La Soul
MTV recently turned a young person loose on De La Soul’s classic 3 Feet High And Rising, with snarky millennial results. In the opposite corner are the many fans who Kickstarted this first De La Soul studio album in over 11 years. Featuring guests like Snoop Dogg (on the funky, catchy Pain), Damon Albarn, David Byrne and sampled live instrumentation, Nas has apparently called it “some avant-garde shit”.
And The Anonymous Nobody is out on 26 August on AOI/Kobalt Label Services