It's been a big month for music already, with sample-mastering stalwarts The Avalanches back with a second album and a heavy hint from one Mr Frank Ocean that his waaaaaaay overdue second album might be out this month. (Although, we know the dude loves to play puppeteer with his fans' emotions time and time again, so we'll believe that when we hear it). In the meantime, check out the list of July's impending and current new releases and don't forget to check back for more album updates.
1. Bat For Lashes - The Bride, out now
Anyone who's had the pleasure of seeing Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes perform live, will confess to falling under her spell. Her latest album has a similar effect. The magnetic Brit evokes a dark, moody rhythm of love, grief and heartbreak on a sort-of concept album revolving around a bride whose groom is killed en route to their wedding ceremony. Khan's richly layered, haunting and melancholic signature sound feels right at home amid this gothic tale of lost love and doom. If you're familiar with Bat For Lashes' earlier work, you'll recognise the cinematic sense of storytelling and Khan's knack for creating an almost unearthly sonic landscape. Don't be deterred by the gloom though: the electronica and orchestral touches prevent this from descending into something morbid. There are just enough synths mixed in with beautiful piano ballads to keep you listening.
Listen to: 'In God's House', 'Sunday Love' and 'If I Knew'
2. The Avalanches - Wildflower, out July 8 (available to stream now on Apple Music)
At only 16 years in the making, the quality of samples and guest vocalists on The Avalanches' sophomore album speaks volumes about the impact of their myth-making 2000 album Since I Left You. The fact that the Aussie band can sample The Beatles 'Come Together' on their follow-up, with the personal approval of Paul McCartney, pretty much sums up how landmark Since I Left You really was. So what is their long-awaited second album like? Luckily, it's as elegant, esoteric and eccentric as the first LP, and to use a bad flower pun, Wildflower's true genius will likely unfurl on repeat listens. Even though much has been said about the band's ghostly absence from the music scene - the album is a warm, sonically stunning welcome back. A word of warning: like Frank Ocean's Channel Orange and The Avalanches before that, this is an album that reveals itself when played from start to finish, not in snatches of singles over Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify.
Listen to: 'Subways', 'Because I'm Me' and 'If I Was a Folkstar'
3. Emma Louise - Supercry, out July 8
After confessing to nearly quitting music after the release of her debut album Head Vs Heart, Australia singer-songwriter Emma Louise is back - looking all Sinead O'Conner with a shaved head - and armed with a slew of new tracks. If Head Vs Heart's songs and tracklisting occasionally slipped too easily into one another, Supercry's two lead singles have established enough of their own identities to hint at something different. The strength of Emma Louise as an artist has always been that whisper-sweet voice that's laced with just enough huskiness to keep it from sounding too saccharine, and let's just say it's a good thing she decided to give music another go. Her sound has evolved, and the standout 'Talk All Night' benefits greatly with the chorus' whirling electronica beats.
Listen to: 'Talk Baby Talk' and 'Underflow'
4. Abra - Princess, out July 16
A product of Atlanta record label Awful Records, Abra bears the distinction of not really sounding like any other female artist out there. Based on the strength of her earlier single 'Fruit' alone, you can see her appeal, but her third EP announces her as a talent who is marking her territory. The UK-born singer has the kind of voice that transmutes yearning and desire in a single sigh, and sounds great backed by sparse, '80s-flecked Miami beats. Like a tougher Banks, but with lyrics just as heartfelt, and occasionally caustic, Abra's voice lends itself to R&B comparisons, but with more interesting arrangements.
Listen to: 'Vegas', 'Crybaby' and 'Pull Up'
5. Gucci Mane - Everybody Looking, out July 22
An album recorded in just six days following a rapper's release from prison? That was always going to be an easy sell. The fact that it's the first studio album in five years from controversial Atlanta-based trap king Gucci Mane, and he's called upon the likes of Drake and producers Mike WiLL Made-It, Zaytoven, and Drumma Boy to collaborate, makes Everybody Looking a shoe-in for success. After releasing 'First Day Out Tha Feds' almost immediately after getting out of jail, expect this album to be just the beginning of the prolific rapper's comeback. He's also announced plans for a clothing line, natch. Surely, it's no small coincidence the guy recently teamed up with Kanye West and other hip-hop supterstars on 'Champions'? Surely that should put all the ridiculous 'Gucci Mane is a clone' rumours to rest...
Listen to: 'Back On Road', 'All My Children' and 'First Day Out Tha Feds