New Music Friday: The best releases out on June 16

Killer Mike's first new solo album in more than a decade, Michael, is on NPR Music's short list for the best releases out on June 16. Jonathan Mannion/Courtesy of the artist

We’ve got two big releases this week from artists who’ve returned after long breaks from their own work: Killer Mike has his first new solo album in more than a decade and Iceland’s Sigur R贸s is back with the band’s first new studio album since 2013. Killer Mike’s Michael is steeped in gospel and deeply personal stories that reflect on his life and the Black experience in America, imbued with the Atlanta rapper’s gift for sage advice, empathy and compassion. Sigur R贸s 脕TTA is a return to the band’s earliest sound from the early 2000s 鈥 a soaring, symphonic and otherworldly wonder about the fragility of life and our infinitesimal place in the universe.

But we open this week’s show with the legendary Betty LaVette and her scorching new album, LaVette! We’ve also got new one this week from Meshell Ndegeocello, the Nigerian artist Asake and more. WBEZ and Vocalo Radio’s Ayana Contreras joins NPR Music’s Lars Gotrich and Sheldon Pearce, along with host Robin Hilton, to share their picks for the best new releases out on June 16.

Featured Albums:

  1. Bettye LaVette 鈥 LaVette!
    Featured Songs: “Mess About It (feat. Ray Parker Jr. & Jon Batiste),” “Hard to Be a Human,” “Plan B”
  2. Killer Mike 鈥 Michael
    Featured Songs: “Two Days (feat. Ty Dolla $ign),” “Motherless,” “Down By Law (feat. Cee-Lo Green),” “Scientists & Engineers (feat. Andre 3000, Future & Eryn Allen Kane),” “Something for the Junkies (feat. Fabo & Minister Louis Farrakhan)”
  3. Sigur R贸s 鈥 脕TTA
    Featured Songs: “Klettur,” “Skel,” “M贸r”
  4. Asake 鈥 Work of Art
    Featured Songs: “2:30,” “Lonely at the Top,” “What’s Up My G”
  5. Meshell Ndegeocello 鈥 The Omnichord Real Book
    Featured Songs: “Georgia Ave. (feat. Josh Johnson),” “Good Good (feat. Jade Hicks & Josh Johnson),” “Call the Tune”

Lightning Round:

  • Ambr茅 鈥 who’s loving you?
  • Hand Habits 鈥 Sugar the Bruise
  • Memorrhage 鈥 Memorrhage
  • Wild Up 鈥 Julius Eastman Vol. 3: If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?

Other notable releases for June 16:

  • Balmorhea 鈥 Pendant World
  • Ben Howard 鈥 Is It?
  • Boris & Uniform 鈥 Bright New Disease
  • Deer Tick 鈥 Emotional Contracts
  • Django Django 鈥 Off Planet
  • Gunna 鈥 a Gift & a Curse
  • John Mellencamp 鈥 Orpheus Descending
  • King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 鈥 PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation
  • Kool Keith 鈥 Black Elvis 2
  • Mike Dimes 鈥 Texas Boy
  • Pat Metheny 鈥 Dream Box
  • Queens of the Stone Age 鈥 In Times New Roman
  • Son Volt 鈥 Day of the Doug
  • Yusuf / Cat Stevens 鈥 King of a Land
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