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Summer Music Preview: The Season’s Must-Hear Albums

Yeezy returns, Ozzy reunites with Sabbath, QOTSA recruits Dave Grohl, and more

It's almost summer. And that means it's nearing the time of back-porch blowouts, blockbusters and – of course – plenty of must-hear new albums. There's a slew of crucial music dropping in the coming months, from Kanye West's hyped Yeezus to Black Sabbath's first album with Ozzy since the Seventies. Not to mention a solid collection of buzzed-about debuts and can't-miss collaborations. Rolling Stone has you covered.

By Jon Blistein and Dan Hyman

Wu-Tang Clan

Coutresy Sony

Wu-Tang Clan, ‘A Better Tomorrow’ (July TBD)

If Wu-Tang Clan was going to reunite, RZA told Rolling Stone last fall, he needed to be in full control. With the the legendary New York City hip-hop collective's new album A Better Tomorrow set for release this July and a handful of tour dates featuring every surviving member scheduled for this summer, it looks like the Wu-Tang head honcho may have gotten his way. A Better Tomorrow is the first full length from the killer bees since 2007's 8 Diagrams, and this year also marks the 20th anniversary of Wu-Tang's groundbreaking debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

Courtesy Sub Pop

Daughn Gibson, ‘Me Moan’ (7/9)

On his debut solo LP All Hell, Daughn Gibson crafted the kind of tortured, lonesome numbers any cowboy could love – but while Gibson's heavy baritone and the LP's melodies cried out country, he put his own spin on the genre, using samples and looping software to build songs that echoed across landscapes, both digital and pastoral. On Me Moan, his second LP and first for Sub Pop (out July 9th), Gibson shows he's toying with and expanding his formula: Opener "The Sound of Law" sets to swing before barreling forward, propelled by snares that pump like pistons and Gibson's cavernous croon.

speedy ortiz

Courtesy Carpark Records

Speedy Ortiz, ‘Major Arcana’ (7/9)

Western Massachusetts, in all its wide-open, woodsy, college-town glory, has always been a pristine environment for young punk, hardcore and indie rock bands. Following in the grand, sludgy and big-riff tradition of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh are Northampton's Speedy Ortiz. After a series of EPs and singles, the band will release its debut LP Major Arcana on July 9th via Carpark. Started by frontwoman Sadie Dupuis as a solo project at summer camp, Speedy Ortiz has grown into a full band capable of basement-burning anthems like "Ka-Prow!" (off a recent 7-inch) and clever, meditative, but never meek alt-rock cuts as exhibited by Major Arcana's first single "Tiger Tank."

skylar grey

Courtesy Interscope Records

Skylar Grey, ‘Don’t Look Down’ (7/9)

Skylar Grey's second album Don't Look Down, out July 9th via KidinaKorner and Interscope, has been a long time coming. In the years since her 2006 debut Like Blood Like Honey, Grey has honed her own material while also co-penning a handful of hit tunes for other artists, like Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie." So impressed with Grey, Em took the singer under his belt, acting as executive producer on Don't Look Down and spitting on album cut "C'mon Let Me Ride," a bumping, grin-inducing pop number that that cops Queen's "Bicycle Race." But it's not all bubblegum fun for Grey: She showcases her continued knack for constructing gorgeous but grave tunes on her latest single "Final Warning."