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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has, with rare and dangerous exceptions, eliminated the existence of live music in the United States, musicians have continued to release new music throughout the crisis. That said, the pandemic may have led to a slight decrease in the number of new releases coming out soon – and even in non-pandemic years, July is a notoriously slow month for new music. As with every July, though, there are nevertheless still great albums to be heard – below, learn about the best albums of July 2020.
1. My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall II
(July 10, ATO Records)
Popular alt-country band My Morning Jacket’s The Waterfall II comes as a surprise. It was announced just four days before its July 10th arrival, and it contains songs written during the sessions that resulted in 2015’s The Waterfall – which, until now, was My Morning Jacket’s most recent album.
2. Margo Price: That’s How Rumors Get Started
(July 10, Loma Vista)
Though initially scheduled for a May release, leading country music figure Margo Price’s third album was postponed to this month due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Fellow country music luminary Sturgill Simpson produced the album, and Price’s husband Jeremy Ivey co-wrote many of its songs.
3. Ellie Goulding: Brightest Blue
(July 17, Polydor)
Pop star Ellie Goulding, best known for her hit single “Lights,” will release her fourth album this Friday. It features co-writing credit from serpentwithfeet and Tobias Jesso Jr., two artists popular among indie music listeners but not yet well known among Goulding’s mainstream audience.
4. Lianne La Havas: Lianne La Havas
(July 17, Warner Music)
British indie-folk artist Lianne La Havas will release her third album this Friday. It includes a cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes (Arpeggi),” on which La Havas infuses the original song’s jazzy acoustics and melancholic outro with choral gospel elements.
5. The Chicks: Gaslighter
(July 17, Columbia)
Gaslighter is The Chicks’ first album in 14 years, and its title track was received to immense excitement in early March. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. shortly thereafter, and the Chicks pushed their album back from May 1 to July 17. Additionally, following the George Floyd protests, the band changed its name after some people pointed out its references to American slavery. The band’s comeback has been rocky, but the music is worth the wait.
6. Jessy Lanza: All the Time
(July 24, Hyperdub)
All the Time follows Jessy Lanza’s 2016 album Oh No, which transformed her into a cult sensation among fans of electronic and indie pop music. The video for second single “Face” is notable for being created entirely in quarantine, whereas the video for first single “Lick in Heaven” would be all but impossible to create during the pandemic.
7. Madeline Kenney: Sucker’s Lunch
(July 31, Carpark)
Sucker’s Lunch is Madeline Kenney’s third album in three years. Her shoegaze-inflected debut album Night Night at the First Landing arrived in September 2017, and she released her sophomore LP Perfect Shapes in October 2018. Whereas Perfect Shapes was a left-turn from Night Night, Sucker’s Lunch refines the sound of Perfect Shapes with clearer, more open arrangements and Kenney’s most ebullient songwriting to date.
What albums are you excited about this month? Sound off in the comments!