Recording studio

Image by Caught in Joy, licensed through Unsplash. 

While most months of 2021 have had one to two great records to share, June was spectacular, with a plethora of critically acclaimed and fan favorite albums from a wide array of genres. Here are a few that should not be missed.

“CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” — Tyler, The Creator

The latest release from rapper and producer Tyler Okonma featured very little promotion leading up to its June 25 release. The first single and music video, “LUMBERJACK,” dropped only a week before the album and featured a bright, Wes Anderson style set design and cinematography.

“CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” sees Okonma return to his hip hop roots, forgoing the heavy neo soul and alternative R&B influences of his 2019 and 2017 records. Not only this, but his latest project contains a developed sense of maturity, contrary to the lyrical content on Okonma’s early albums “GOBLIN” and “BASTARD.”

With his toned down use of slurs and lack of edgy sketches that were littered across his early works, it feels like Okonma is not only maturing as a human on “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST,” but as a producer and songwriter as well.

“Jubilee” — Japanese Breakfast

When it comes to the sound of summer, look no further than Michelle Zauner, better known as Japanese Breakfast. Her latest album “Jubilee” moves away from the 90s inspired indie rock for a blend of synth and chamber pop, creating one of the best indie pop records of 2021.

“Jubilee” features a diverse range of catchy pop hooks, groovy guitar rockers, uppity acoustic ballads and some fantastic lyricism with standout songs “In Hell” and “Tactics.” “In Hell” tears at your heartstrings, with Zauner singing about anticipating the death of a loved one, while “Tactics” is about the need of self-preservation in an unhealthy relationship.

“Jubilee” is fun, memorable and, most importantly, consistent when it comes to songwriting and composition on each track.

 “Blue Weekend” — Wolf Alice

Unlike the fun-loving atmosphere of “Jubilee,” the latest project from English alternative rock band Wolf Alice contains one of the most eclectic track listings. It bounces from slow and highly melodic songs such as “Delicious Things,” to punk ragers like “Play the Greatest Hits,” to the majestic electric piano ballad “Feeling Myself” that features a shoegaze wall of sound and a harmonious crescendo that completes the track beautifully.

While you’d assume such a diverse set of sounds couldn’t possibly compliment one another, Wolf Alice added the band’s personal flair to the different genre stylings they pick from and created a unique display of crafted artistry with each song.

“Butterfly 3000” — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

The ever expanding discography of the Australian psych rock band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard never ceases to evolve in sound, with “Butterfly 3000” being another venture into uncharted territory. Its latest June release sees the group dip its toes in the heavy usage of analog synthesizers and electronics.

The groovy guitar plucking and punchy drum rolls are still present, as you would expect on a King Gizzard record, but are now blended with flowery, psychedelic and, sometimes exotic, synthesizers.

Each song is meticulously layered with some of the prettiest vocal delivery ever heard on a King Gizzard album. The album begs the listener to take a stroll through a field of flowers and fall asleep with the sun beating on their face.

“CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” saw Tyler, The Creator venture back into his hip hop roots with a modern twist, while “Jubilee” is one of the most consistent indie pop albums of the past few years and by far the best album in Japanese Breakfast’s discography. “Blue Weekend” contains an ever evolving sound that ranges from indie rock and punk, all the way to elements of shoegaze, and “Butterfly 3000” continues to display the versatility of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. June 2021 is a hopeful foreshadowing of a summer that will be filled with more quality records.

Arts & Culture Reporter

Gavin Majeski is an Arts & Culture reporter for the Daily Emerald with a focus on music. Gavin is also a DJ for University of Oregon's radio station, KWVA Eugene 88.1 FM.