Month In Music – The Best Things We Heard In June

Isn’t new music just fantastically exciting at the moment? The booming harvest of 2013 continued through the month of June spearheaded by big releases from Kanye West, Boards Of Canada, Black Sabbath and Queens Of The Stone Age. Track-wise we enjoyed new releases from Fuck Buttons, Arthur Beatrice, Natasha Khan & Toy, Parquet Courts, Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A, Pixies, Franz Ferdinand, Hebronix, Pond and tons more. Here, NME staffers pick out the favourite thing they heard this month. Listen to a selection on the Spotify playlist below.

Telegram – Follow (Marc Riley Session)

New Music Editor Matt Wilkinson loved a session from East London newbies Telegram for Marc Riley’s BBC Radio 6 show.

All four songs from this 6 Music radio session blew me away. Telegram were so new they’d barely played any gigs at the point of recording, so kudos to Riley and his team who got them in super early. The results are a tantalising glimpse into what could be one of next year’s great new hopes. It’s been a while since a band have seemed so convincing at such an early stage

Queens Of The Stone Age – ‘Like Clockwork…’

The new album from Josh Homme and his band got NME.COM Assistant Editor Kevin EG Perry hot under the collar.

Nobody does sleaze quite like Queen Of The Stone Age but even by their standards ‘Smooth Sailing’ is exceptionally filthy. There are heavier tracks on the record, like the crunching ‘If I Had A Tail’, but on this tune they blend just the amount of roll in with the rock. It’s unabashed sex wrapped up in song, and it’s glorious

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Do I Wanna Know?’

NME.COM Editor Greg Cochrane heralds the return of the Arctic Monkeys.

The first track proper from Arctic Monkeys’ forthcoming fifth album ‘AM’ is a seductive temptress. Over three minutes it struts, winks, snakes, whispers and slinks its way around, somehow simultaneously sounding like Metronomy and Queens Of The Stone Age. Alex Turner just sounds so guilty. “I dreamt about you nearly every night this week/How many secrets can you keep?” he sings with a flashy grin. They believe in it. They opened the biggest show of their career to date (second crack at that Pyramid Stage headline slot) with it. And, well, it sounded superb

Kanye West – ‘Yeezus’

News Reporter David Renshaw’s mixed reaction to West’s thematic content gave way to the strength of the music.

Much has been made of ‘Yeezus’ and its supposedly sexist lyrics. While I can’t deny squirming at certain parts of the record (I’m not sure I will ever look at a civil rights salute in quite the same way) for me, any issues with Kanye West’s lyrics are overridden by how damn good this album sounds. It’s mind blowing to hear producers like Hudson Mohawke and Evian Christ working on what is one of the most high-profile blockbuster hip-hop albums of the year and neither of them disappoint in transferring the sound of British electronic music into the future of US rap. The opening four songs of ‘Yeezus’ are among the most impressive introductions to an album you will hear in 2013 while last track ‘Bound 2’ is just stunning, showing that Kanye still knows his way round a sample better than anybody else. Standing alone in his field, Kanye West has made a sure fire contender for album of the year

Sophie, ‘Bipp’

Assistant Reviews Editor Sian Rowe reps new Numbers signing Sophie’s new banger.

Glasgow/London label and warehouse party heroes Numbers do it again with this release from new UK producer SOPHIE. The follow up to February’s “woaaahhhh” heavy Huntley & Palmers release ‘Nothing More To Say’ / EEEHHH’, ‘Bipp’ is a sweet and gooey track with a bouncable dripping beat, high-pitched hyper-optimistic call of “I can make you feel better, if you let me” and deliciously screwy moments. Should soundtrack every melting lolly, afternoon rum cocktail and sticky night out of your summer. Jerky b-side ‘Elle’ is worth a spin too

Pixies – ‘Bagboy’

Writer Mark Beaumont’s into Pixies’ surprise return, even though Kim Deal’s sadly absent.

Kim quitting the Pixies looked like putting the kybosh on any hopes of a new album for a second back there. Then, before you know it, here’s ‘Bagboy’, their first new song since 2004’s ‘Bam Thwok’ and a delve into electronic-slanted new territory for the band, albeit topped with a classic Black Francis shout-hook lobbed on top

Jon Hopkins – ‘Immunity’

You might’ve heard his soundtrack to the film Monsters or heard his work with Brian Eno or Coldplay on ‘Viva la Vida’. It seems that ‘Immunity’, though, has broken through to a wider audience.

Jon Hopkins has, in my opinion, written one of the finest records of the year so far with ‘Immunity’, a relentlessly intelligent tour de force of pummelling techno and luscious electronica. I’ve rarely seen a crowd so completely enraptured by a live artist as the one at his live show at Village Underground earlier this month. With each pulse, phase and break, we were swept up in communion. ‘Open Eye Signal’ will blow your mind. Stiff competition from El-P and Killer Mike’s ‘Run The Jewels’, though

Read our Q&A with Jon Hopkins.

Deap Vally – ‘Sistrionix’

Writer Emily Mackay gave the debut album from the LA powerhouse duo 8/10, writing:

Deap Vally certainly aren’t afraid to say what needs to be said, and they do it with style and wit. Their feminist concerns are bound to draw simplistic comparisons to riot grrrl, but these two are closer to the humour and rock chops of female grunge outfits like LA band L7 or Minneapolis trio Babes In Toyland than shouty sloganeers. Part of the joy of their sound is the way they reclaim the most unreconstructed pig-rock for their own ends: they rock just because they want to

David Lynch and Lykke Li – ‘I’m Waiting Here’

A new song from the legendary film director whets Acting Features Editor Phil Hebblethwaite’s appetite for the album.

News of a second solo album by cinema’s pre-eminent screwball David Lynch (released July 15) came accompanied by this track, which features a guest vocal from Sweden’s Lykke Li. And what a luscious offering it is – strongly reminiscent of the classic Lynch songs/TV themes that he recorded in the ’80s/’90s with composer Angelo Badalamenti and singer Julee Cruise. Quite why it’s being cast-off as a bonus track is a mystery – it’s the best song from the new sessions, perfectly capturing the distinctive ‘Lynchian’ mood

Empire Of The Sun, ‘Ice on the Dune’

It’s divided opinion thus far but News Editor Dan Stubbs is convinced by the sound of new music from Empire Of The Sun.

Great to have pop’s most preposterously theatrical double act back with a new concept piece and dreaming bigger than before – they even enlisted JJ Abrams’ production house to do their videos. Check out first single ‘Alive’ for the perfect example of their Balearic beat electropop – a summer anthem if ever there was one. But does it remind anyone else of Angry Anderson’s ‘Suddenly’, aka the theme from Scott and Charlene’s wedding?

What was the best new album or track you heard in June? Let us know.