July preview: 4 albums you need to hear this month

New Arcade Fire, old Neil Young and more.

New Arcade Fire and Haim, old Neil Young and more.

Montreal band Arcade Fire's fifth studio album, Everything Now, came out on July 28, 2017.

Each month, q takes a look at the upcoming albums we're most excited about. This month, new albums from Arcade Fire and Haim, the return of Broken Social Scene and a forgotten gem from Neil Young. 

Broken Social Scene, Hug of Thunder (July 7)

It's a good time to be a Broken Social Scene fan. This year has already delivered new albums by BSS-affiliate acts Feist and Do Make Say Think, and more new music has been teased by Metric frontwoman Emily Haines and Stars. All of that revolves around another important release, though, from its collective center. Seven years after Forgiveness Rock Record, Broken Social Scene is back with Hug of Thunder, a new collection of songs that boasts a full lineup including its crucial female voices Feist, Haines, Amy Millan and newcomer Ariel Engel (of AroarA) penning some of the album's best songs. It's a reunion that we're welcoming with open arms. — Melody Lau

Stream Hug pof Thunder until July 7 on CBC Music

Haim, Something to Tell You (July 7)

Sister act Haim took the world by storm with their debut album, Days Are Gone, and now the trio returns with their sophomore effort Something to Tell You. With tracks including "Little of Your Love," "I Want You Back" and "Right Now," the album returns to the band's electric-tinged, Fleetwood Mac-flavoured love songs that shot them to fame. They also wrote, performed and produced the songs themselves (with additional production by former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij and Days Are Gone producer Ariel Rechtshaid). So how do the sisters describe it? "Classic songwriting, but also modern, exciting and fearless." — Jennifer Van Evra

Neil Young, Hitchhiker (July 14)

Way back in 1976, Canadian rock legend Neil Young spent at night at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, Calif., and recorded nine solo acoustic songs for a tape he called Hitchhiker. "It was a complete piece, although I was pretty stony on it, and you can hear it in my performances," remembered Young in his 2014 memoir Special Deluxe. "Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked [with] on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or coke." The title track ended up on Young's 2010 album Le Noise, but the rest of the tracks have remained unreleased — until this month. — JVE

Arcade Fire, Everything Now (July 28)

Arcade Fire seem to be gearing up to take a new sonic direction on its fifth album, Everything Now, and it's decidedly more dance-oriented. Look no further than the title track, co-produced by Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter, which has a much more grandiose and globally focused sound (it samples pan flute from Cameroonian artist Francis Bebey) geared to get your feet moving. "Creature Comfort" comes across as a mix between Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem and ABBA — a song that isn't sure whether to make you dance or think, so it opts for both at the same time. The latest release, "Signs of Life," seems to double down on everything, an undeniably upbeat song which seems to have been built from the bottom end up, explosive bursts of horns and swirling synths occupying the top. Everything Now was recorded in Paris, London, New Orleans and Montreal, will also feature work from the likes of Portishead, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Pulp's Steve Mackey. — Jesse Kinos-Goodin


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