Sizzling sounds

Your summer music guide

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The Spectrum

The summer season tends to be an ideal time for great music. Record labels and artists want to have that signature summer hit that can be heard at every beach party and backyard barbeque. As a result, elite artists release their new albums during this time of year.

The Spectrum presents a summer music guide to some of the best new releases, as well as several highly-anticipated albums that are sure to make a big splash later in the season.

Get ‘em while they're hot:

Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots

After a nine-year hiatus, the California-based grunge heroes returned with what may be their strongest album ever. Tracks including "Between the Lines" and "First Kiss on Mars" show that the band kept its signature edge during their near decade split. With a successful self-titled album, Stone Temple Pilots prove to still be one of the best rock bands in the industry.

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

It's a well-known fact that James Murphy is the lord and master of dance-punk. He once again proves this notion in his third album with LCD Soundsystem. The album is a delightful combination of snarky humor and genuine emotion. This Is Happening is Murphy's strongest record yet and will keep LCD Soundsystem in the mainstream.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Mojo

It's been 34 years since Petty released his first album, but that didn't stop him from creating one of the best records of his career in Mojo. The band trades in their straight-up rock tendencies for a blues-like, jam-band style sound that suits the band well. Numbers such as "I Should Have Known It" and "First Flash of Freedom" will fit nicely in the classic collection of killer Petty tracks.

The Black Keys – Brothers

The Black Keys have been dogged as the poor man's White Stripes for most of their career. They shed that accusation on their excellent new album, Brothers – a killer mix of blues and punk with a hint of Hendrix thrown in for good measure. Simply put, these guys can hang with anyone.

Drake – Thank Me Later

He's only been on the scene for just over a year, but Drake is already one of the hottest names in hip-hop. His first full feature album justifies the hype. Tracks like "Over" and "Miss Me" proves Drake's great pop sensibility and highlights a distinct strong flow. Drake should be a force in hip-hop for years to come.

Stay on the lookout:

Kanye West – Good Ass Job
Release date: Sept. 2010

After the notorious Taylor Swift incident at the VMA's, Kanye was largely shunned by the music world. But now, he is poised to make a triumphant return. If his first single "Power" is any indication, West will be back with a vengeance when Good Ass Job hits stores. The track features a killer King Crimson sample and reminds us that Kanye isn't going down without a fight. After a disappointing year, this album should be something special, as long as 50 Cent doesn't come out with an album at the same time.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Release date: August 3, 2010

Arcade Fire's first two albums established the band as one of the main forces in indie-rock. Now, it's time for the all-important third album. If it lives up or can exceed the standards of the first two performances, The Suburbs could solidify their reputation as one of the best bands in the world and ensure an enduring legacy.

T.I. – King Uncaged
Release date: August 17, 2010

Now that T.I. is out of jail, he's ready to reclaim his throne at the top of the hip-hop hierarchy. If King Uncaged can replicate the same mix of killer hooks and great flow that made 2008's Paper Trail a hit, it will be the comeback of the year. More importantly, however, it will remind music-lovers why T.I. became so revered in the first place.

Sheryl Crow – 100 Miles from Memphis
Release date: July 20, 2010

Crow's last two albums have been a bit underwhelming, but her reputation is too strong for her to be counted out. If her upcoming album can get back catchy pop numbers on par with "All I Wanna Do" and "Soak Up The Sun," it could prove to be a rewarding listen. It's time for Crow to re-establish herself as one of the stronger female songwriters in music today.

M.I.A. – Maya
Release date: July 13, 2010

After the controversy that surrounded the "Born Free" video, questions have risen as to what M.I.A. has in store for listeners in her third studio album. If it's anywhere near as good as her previous two releases, Maya is sure to be a subversive record that will leave listeners in shock. It's hard not to be psyched for this one.

I hope you enjoyed this preview. Now it'll be interesting to see which tracks will forever remind us of Summer '10 and which will be forgotten for eternity.

Questions? Comments? Have a better idea?
E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com