July Music Preview: 5 albums you need to hear this month

New albums from Badbadnotgood, Heaven for Real, Billy Talent, MSTRKRFT and Weird Lines.
Billy Talent's upcoming album "Afraid of Heights" is one to watch for this month, according to CBC Music producers. (Dustin Rabin Photography)

Every month, we look ahead at the albums coming out from across the country that we think you should hear. This month: Badbadnotgood, Heaven for Real, Billy Talent, MSTRKRFT and Weird Lines.

Who: Weird Lines
What: self-titled
When: July 8

Why you should listen: Releasing their debut on new label Sappy Futures Ltd. (formerly Sappy Records), Sackville, New Brunswick's Weird Lines is made up of Julie Doiron, C.L. McLaughlin, Jon McKiel, Chris Meaney and James Anderson. Dipping from breezy ("Twin Summers") to weighty ("Between the Lamppost (You and I)") to saxophone (not just one!), Weird Lines is the perfect complement to July on the East Coast. "Wouldn't you like one last kick at the summer can?" sings McLaughlin. During a summer that feels will never truly arrive, we'll take that kick, thanks. — Holly Gordon

Who: Badbadnotgood
What: IV
When: July 8
Why you need to listen: Miles Davis famously said it's the notes you don't play that matter, an aphorism Badbadnotgood have always understood all too well. Their music has always seemed to leave just the right amount of space, whether they were covering hip-hop, playing free jazz or composing music for other artists to perform over (such as Ghostface Killah's Sour Soul). On their latest, IV, they invited collaborators to fill in some of that space for the first time, and the results are as spellbinding (Colin Stetson, Kaytranada) as they are graceful (Sam Herring, Charlotte Day Wilson). – Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Listen via Bandcamp

Who: Heaven for Real
What: Kill Your Memory
When: July 15
Why you need to listen: This Halifax quartet has all the summer surf vibes you'll need. Kill Your Memory is Heaven for Real's debut LP on Mint Records, counting members from Monomyth (Mark and Scott Grundy, the latter also having toured with Polaris-longlisted Nap Eyes), Old and Weird and Picnicface (Cheryl Hann) and Crosss (Nathan Doucet). If the lo-fi goodness of "Subliminal" and the earworm-y "Known Steps in Directions Unknown" don't hook you, then maybe you're not ready for the heat. — HG

Listen via Bandcamp

Who: Billy Talent
What: Afraid of Heights
When: July 29

Why you need to listen: Canadian punk fans will be treated to a new album from rock vets Billy Talent this month, the band's fifth studio album following up 2012's Dead Silence. Afraid of Heights has been teased for months now, but the band endured some challenges along the way with drummer Aaron Solowoniuk stepping down from his duties due to an MS relapse. The album was completed with the help of Alexisonfire's Jordan Hastings, and the end result appears to focus on the themes of overcoming fears, embracing change, friendship, loyalty and, according to lead singer Ben Kowalewicz, "the power of rock 'n' roll." That sense of determination is front and centre on the album's title track, where Kowalewicz has toned down his shout-sing style for cleaner melodic harmonies. But don't worry, there's still plenty of rock packed in there. – Melody Lau

What: Operator
When: July 22
Why you need to listen: Five years ago, MSTRKRFT released a single called "Back in the USSA" that was intense, climactic and ferociously catchy. That was the last time we heard new music from the electro-house duo of Jesse F. Keeler and Al-P, until now. Operator is the name of MSTRKRFT's new full-length, and it's not only worth the five year wait, it's taken what was already ferociously catchy and morphed it into a sound that will put you into a trance-like state of musical euphoria. If you're not a fan of electro-house, tracks like "Runaway," and "Death in the Gulf Stream" will make you a believer. Around the same time as MSTRKRFT's 2011 release, Keeler was actually working on music for the Mortal Kombat reboot as well, which is appropriate, because this album packs a Goro-sized punch. – Kerry Martin

Listen via Spotify


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