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June Music Preview: 12 albums you need to hear this month

Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Every month, we look ahead at the albums coming out from across the country that we think you should hear. This month is a big one, with new albums by the Tragically Hip, Hot Hot Heat, Hannah Georgas, Tegan and Sara, Neil Young, River Tiber, Ria Mae, Case/Lang/Veirs, Peaches and Weaves.

Scroll down to listen and learn more about the albums.

Who: Jadea Kelly
Album: Love & Lust 
When: June 3

Why you need to listen: It's been a long three years without new music from Jadea Kelly, but thankfully it will be here so soon — and what an album to jump right back into. Beautifully crafted songs that range from sadness to desire and ultimately forgiveness. With that, Kelly brings us 11 tracks that range from folk ("Make it Easy") to more pop-oriented tracks ("Good Girl"). This is a perfect summer album, so don't wait to check it out. — Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

Who: Tegan and Sara
What: Love You to Death
When: June 3

Why you need to listen: On 2013’s Heartthrob, Canadian sister duo Tegan and Sara staked their claim on the mainstream pop charts, transforming their alternative folk/punk-rock melodies into unabashed synth-pop anthems. On their eighth studio album, Love You to Death, they double down on that glossy sound, turning the dial up on the infectious hooks while expanding the scope of their songwriting to talk about the complexities of love, anxiety and, on some of the most intimate and vulnerable tracks they’ve ever penned, their relationship with each other as siblings.

The songs on this album sound huge, fit for the stadium audiences that Tegan and Sara hope to reach in the coming months. One listen to a song like “Boyfriend” or “Stop Desire” and it’s easy to picture thousands of people singing and dancing along. — Melody Lau (@MelodyLamb)

Who: Ria Mae
What: Ria Mae
When: June 3

Why you need to listen: We’ve been listening to “Clothes Off” for almost two years now, and it’s finally time to get a full 12 songs from Ria Mae’s first album on a major label. The Halifax songwriter went from spending nearly all her money (“I think I had $14 left in my bank account,” she said) getting that song on the radio to signing with Sony in a single year — wrapping it all up with a 2016 Juno nomination. While Mae’s jams on this self-titled album are red hot, it’s the slow burns that hook your heart. From the rolling rhythm of a wilfully ignorant lover (“I Don’t Wanna Know”) to the looped call for someone else’s partner (“Girlfriend”) to her spiral of doubt on “Crazy” (“I think she’s crazy/ I think I love her/ I think she’s sleeping with someone else/ lying to me”), Mae’s new album will slowly break you apart. Hitting the acoustic version of the second-last track — “You and Me,” a song from Mae’s 2011 album, Under Your Skin — will not put you back together. — Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

Who: The Highest Order
What: Still Holding
When: June 10

Why you need to listen: The Toronto-based psychedelic country band returns with its second album, Still Holding, on June 10, and the first single, "Hurry Down," is as warm as a campfire under a dark, starry sky. The rest of the record is equal parts twangy, rambling, jam band and homespun folk rock, all perfect for the long, lazy days ahead. — Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Listen to "Hurry Down" 

Who: the Tragically Hip
Man Machine Poem 
June 17

Why you need to listen: “Everything is quiet, a little super dangerous./ Quiet enough to hear God rustlin' around in the bushes,” Gord Downie sings on “A World Possessed by the Human Mind,” the lead single from the Tragically Hip’s 14th album. It’s impossible not to read into the poignancy of lyrics like that given the recent news of the frontman’s incurable brain cancer diagnosis, even if he didn’t know about it at the time of writing. The new album, which is about “memory, transformation and truth,” according to producer Kevin Drew in a press release, is full of such pensive moments that will have fans looking back on memories of the Hip, looking inward to what they love about the band and looking forward to seeing them on the road one last time. — Jesse Kinos-Goodin (@JesseKG)

Who: case/lang/veirs
What: Self-titled 
When: June 17

Why you should listen: k.d. lang was one of the keynote speakers at the POP Conference at EMP this year. She talked briefly about her new supergroup with Neko Case and Laura Veirs. "Man," she said, shaking her head with a smile, "there was some brutal shedding of egos." Judging by the singles that case/lang/veirs have released thus far, their masters' clash was worth it. Any fears that their unique and singular gifts wouldn't coalesce can be put away. There are plenty of individual showcases within the album, such as "Honey and Smoke," where Case and Veirs are essentially Lang's backup singers, but when all three come together, it's a real thrill. Their harmonies are distinct but memorable and the songs are wise and lush, a garden growing wild, notes like blooms falling from their lips. — AW

Who: Peaches
What: Rub Remixed 
When: June 17

Why you should listen: Rub was one of the best albums of 2015, and this remix of Peaches' remarkable record is as thought-provoking and thrilling as its origin material. Featuring remixes from the likes of Toronto-based artist Maya Postepski (Princess Century, Austra), Maya Jane Coles and Paula Temple, the release is all kinds of hot and perfect for summer lovin'. Check out the JD Samson remix above, featuring Feist, which amps up the energy of the original track, deepening its urgency and dance-ability. — AW

Who: Weaves
What: S/T
When: June 17

Why you need to listen: Are you feeling the heat? That’s the fire coming off the buzziest band to come out of Toronto in a minute. Weaves create frantic, genre-spanning, angular dance-rock that’ll blow your mind while you’re breaking the lit dance floor. If lead single “One More” is any indication, this hype train is not stopping any time soon, so you better hop on quick. — Jon Dekel (@jondekel)

Who: Neil Young
What: Earth 
When: June 17

Why you need to listen: This live album has everything: over an hour-and-a-half of Young classics, new jams, Willie Nelson’s son’s band and overdubs from animals, insects, birds and mammals that “actually take over the performances of the songs at times,” according to a press release. You’re probably wondering: will that include bee breakdowns? You’re goddamn right it includes bee breakdowns! It’s the kind of hippie high art that only someone of Young’s stature can pull off, but when the calibre of playing is this good, who cares how many insect sounds interject? — JD

Listen to Vampire Blues via Tidal

Who: Hot Hot Heat
June 24

Why you need to listen: Hot Hot Heat has released four albums since its 2002 breakthrough debut, Make Up the Breakdown, but has remained pretty quiet this decade, with frontman Steve Bays spending more time with his rock trio Mounties and producing for other bands. Hot Hot Heat's new self-titled album, the band's first since 2010’s experimental Future Breeds, will also be its last. Fittingly, it looks back on what made the group so successful in the first place: sharp songwriting, memorable hooks, jangly guitars and those signature synths. The perfect soundtrack to a hot summer. — JKG

Watch "Kid Who Stays in the Picture"

Who: Hannah Georgas
Album: For Evelyn 
When: June 24

Why you need to listen: The very first sound you hear from Hannah Georgas’s new album is a saxophone. And while a lot of artists use the sax to punctuate a song with a blast of joy (think Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away with Me”), Georgas does something quite different here. This is the most forlorn-sounding sax you’ve ever heard, which leads to lyrics that feed into every inch of self-doubt you’ve ever had: “I wake up in the middle of the night,/ thinking oh my God,/ who the hell am I?”

Georgas has always written fairly dark lyrics, masking them with production that can best be described as pop (“Millions,” for example). It’s a formula that’s worked brilliantly for her, and her sound and stature have grown with each release (“Millions” even earned a coveted placement on the hit HBO show Girls in 2014.) You’d be forgiven if you were expecting an even more upbeat, pop-focused album for her next project, but instead, Georgas defies expectations with the gorgeously haunting and heartbreaking For Evelyn. Fittingly named for her 98-year-old grandmother, it’s her most personal, ambitious and satisfying album to date. — JKG


Who: River Tiber
What: Indigo
When: June 24

Why you should listen: After a couple of EPs and a series of high-profile collaborations, classically trained musician Tommy Paxton-Beesley assumes centre stage on this impressive full-length debut. Fusing electronic, R&B and jazzy elements into hazily contemplative and melodically insistent soundscapes on the addictive “Acid Test,” the dusty, soulful lilt of “Barcelona” or the Radiohead-tinged coda of “Motives,” Indigo is the work of a genre-eschewing musical omnivore. A mathematical attention to instrumental intricacy, shrewdly balanced by Paxton-Beesley's undeniably raw and emotive voice earmarks Indigo as a standout exercise in musical versatility. — Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)