Welcome to the June edition of Beats Per Minute’s monthly playlist BPM Curates.

It seems like the heat has finally hit the northern hemisphere, and nothing sounds better than banging new tunes in the sunshine. This month’s playlist has a whole host of tracks from a range of artists and genres vying to become your new summer obsession.

Listen to our playlist of picks below.

Below is the track list and some notes from our team about why they’ve selected them for this month’s playlist.

Alex Blue – “Never Been High”

Yes, a queer mother and Mestiza artist of Jewish descent is now in the forefront of modern folk music. Alex’s “Never Been High” is one of many superb songs on the artist’s new album Kin – which is perhaps the finest folk-flavored album since the late David Crosby’s final studio release. – Larry McClain

Armlock – “Guardian”

Typically easygoing and well-set in a comfortable groove, Armlock, the Australian duo of Simon Lam and Hamish Mitchell, are making waves as one of the better bands playing around with this chill indie rock sound. Their music effortlessly elevates while remaining intensely melancholic; however, “Guardian”, the second single from their upcoming sophomore record, sees them operating with a bit more urgency. The track still finds Armlock deeply entrenched in a nice dreamy groove, and yet, “Guardian” strikes a chord considerably more vibrant and active; it’s as if Lam, who lends his usually pained and airy voice to the shimmery fabric of this song, is startled back to life by this celestial and sheer presence of which he yearns for. It’s inexplicable and unobtainable, but its inaccessibility reminds both Lam and the listener of the here, now, and physical. You are alive. – Kyle Kohner

Boldy James & Conductor Williams – “The Ol Switcharoo”

Let’s face it, our man Boldy drops too much. It’s a blessing far more than a curse, but it can be hard to absorb the impact of one project before his next drops. His latest continues his interest in working with various producers for full-length efforts, this time tapping Griselda favorite Conductor Williams. The two make for a natural pair, and “The Ol Switcharoo” is a clear highlight. With a lazy lull to it akin to drifting down a calm river, or perhaps chugging along via a seemingly endless railroad. Needless to say, Boldy perfectly compliments this hazy, glacial atmosphere with his signature all-enveloping voice, laidback and protective at once. – Chase McMullen

Burial – “Phoneglow”

Back releasing on Hyperdub (after a straying to XL for his other single this year “Dreamfear”) and back alongside Kode9 for a split single, Burial’s “Phoneglow” is a luminous new rave track. It finds the elusive producer straddling the more cerebral, atmospheric elements of his recent work and the high-tempo rhythms from his 2010s output. The result is a weightless glide through low-lit back alleys, the yearning for connection that has always been part of his work reaching out from the shadows through perfectly chosen samples – “something ‘bout the way you held me” coming across as both euphoric and desolate. – Rob Hakimian

Charli xcx & Lorde – “The girl, so confusing version with lorde”

The song that added “let’s work it out on the remix” to the lexicon, this clash of pop supremacy is a perfect combination of fierce and vulnerable honesty. Charli XCX’s “Girl, so confusing” from BRAT sparked much theorising about whom its subject could be and most concluded it was Lorde – even I, who isn’t too deep into mainstream pop lore had it pretty much sussed (it’s the line about “they say we have the same hair” that tipped me off). 

The debate was short lived as mere weeks after the release of the album we got an updated version of “Girl, so confusing” featuring Lorde herself with a full verse addressing the anxieties about the relationship between the two stars, as well as within herself. Charli releasing a screen shot of the message where Lorde had texted her the full verse made it extra gut-wrenching and winning, helping us feel the visceral inspiration that had gone into her words. She doesn’t dodge the accusations but puts it all out there, coming to a place of respect and even love: “I ride for you Charli”. The pop world shed a tear of perfect happiness. – Rob Hakimian

Courtney Farren – “Lifelines”

This LA artist’s debut album is astounding, with echoes of The Beach Boys and Aimee Mann – sometimes pensive, sometimes humorous, and both lyrically and melodically brilliant. Closing track “Lifelines” is like listening to Brian Wilson with better lyrics. – Larry McClain

Eamon Fogarty – “Aduantas”

“Nobody wrote down how many times he was sick on the passage to Boston / I’d like to know though / That and the sound of streets he would shortly get lost in.” As far as first lines for a song go, those from Eamon Fogarty’s “Aduantas” are up there. Peculiar and funny in equal measure, Fogarty’s voice evokes Scott Walker’s younger years while weaving a descriptive tale of the United States like Bill Callahan might. It’s a little off-kilter, but “Aduantas” feels like a old wistful yarn; the oaky woodwind and crisp fingerpicked guitar draw you in. Each line’s a treat, so lean in and listen. – Ray Finlayson

John Grant – “Father”

Anything that reminds me of Moonface’s miniature Minotaur symphony is always going to have me invested (I’m a big fan if you didn’t know), so John Grant utilising a vocoder and wistfully lamenting over melancholic recollections is directly up my alley. “Father” is a lengthy exploration of patriarchal and masculine intimacy, reckoning with lingering disappointment and guilt. “And sometimes I just to run into your arms and let me hold you me once again / I feel ashamed because I couldn’t be the man you always hoped that I would become,” sings Grant with resignation. It’s heartbreaking, but it has tenderness and beauty to it; a man admitting that even though his Dad had his flaws, he still misses the hell out of him. – Ray Finlayson

Kate Bollinger – “To Your Own Devices”

Written as part of a “write a song a day” pact with friends, “To Your Own Devices” breezes by with the gentleness of a passing cloud. Intricate and soft touches of guitar, percussion, and pillowy backing vocals colour the song, and if there ever was a track to soundtrack lazing about in the summer sun, then Kate Bollinger went and released it for your pleasure. “We be just fine, you and me,” she soothingly reassures. With music this calming, it’s hard not to believe her. – Ray Finlayson

Mabe Fratti – “Quieras o no”

Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti plays her instrument like a guitar – the slang term ‘axe’ perfectly at home for the way she delivers deep, weighty strings plucks that send rumbles through your spine. On “Quieras o no” – one of the endless highlights on new album Sentir No Que Sabes – she is unforgiving: “whether you want it or not / it’s a disaster” she sings in her native Spanish. While her voice is sweetly melodic, she bends it into a near-howl as she repeats this phrase alongside her quivering cello and warped vocoded harmonies. It might be beautiful, but this song is a warning that nothing is really in your control. – Rob Hakimian

Nayeon – “Something”

Taking a leaf from her wider group’s collective book, TWICE’s Nayeon refused to treat any B-Side as an afterthought on her sophomore mini. Shit, go listen to Na and tell me one song that wouldn’t make for a bangin’ single. Choosing a favorite on a project this full of pop perfection is going to be a particularly subjective game, so I’m just going to go with the one that leapt out at me the readiest: “Something” is pure ‘embarrass even yourself dancing alone in your room’ music, an immediate delight with alluring staying power. Starting with a literal giggle, it’s pure Britney energy (in truth, a far more apt connection than the Beyoncé comparison fans are fond of making). The beat – along with Nayeon’s vocal performance, assertive and comforting at once – is the real star, gliding through drum and bass and 90s European House vibes in a delirious rush. – Chase McMullen

Neighbours Burning Neighbours – “Familiar Place”

Rotterdam’s Neighbours Burning Neighbours (NBN) make music very much about fighting for your life. And though ‘fighting for your life’ is often placed in the context of being in mortal danger, NBN’s music puts it into our everyday practice. The noise-laden “Familiar Place” leans into this alarming state with its main mantra: “We’re back where we came from / Oh don’t tell me it’s over / It’s over”. The moments we experience will always be elusive to our incessant compulsions to capture them; the best stuff slips through our fingers, deep-sixed into our hearts and memories. As “Familiar Place” goes nuclear in its climax, with the vocals becoming more desperate and unhinged – it somehow doesn’t evoke the sadness of letting go, but a joyous rallying against said sadness. – Jasper Willems

Peel Dream Magazine – “Lie In The Gutter”

With their new single, “Lie in the Gutter”, Peel Dream Magazine take another splash in their brand of sunny-stoner, drone-jam, bliss-inflected psychedelia. Scheduled to release their fourth album on September 4, the NYC-based band integrate balmy summer vibes and narcotized daydreams. Mid-track, brasher synths add an element of clamor, paradise threatened for a moment, before a pop rainbow streaks across the sky again. A quintessential slacker vision circa 2024, the song features singer Joe Stevens “lying in the gutter” “staring at the stars”, an eccentrically beautiful and unplugged moment – before whatever happens next. – John Amen

Skylar Gudasz – “Truck”

“Truck”, from the upcoming Country, scheduled for an August 9 release, features Skylar Gudasz’s voice at its most supple. Her hook-y melody unfurls like golden molasses, as she sings about life on the road, searching for meaning, connection, a sense of enlivenment, offering words of encouragement to someone who is still struggling to find her way. Occasionally recalling Kacey Musgraves, Gudasz offers her own addition to the pop-country canon, a buoyant view that life is or can be glorious, despite the challenges we endure. – John Amen

SUUNS – “The Breaks”

On the atmospheric title track of their upcoming sixth album The Breaks, SUUNS completely depart with the idea of them even being a band, leaning more into the art rock trio’s instincts as electronic composers. This is a gorgeous, cinematic piece of music, driven by a brittle trip-hop pulse and icy synths cascading like a wellspring in slow motion. The song evokes the strange reality of touring life, where places and faces start to interchangeably blend into an almost surreal dreamscape. Singer Ben Shemie surrenders to these strange tides, lacing his voice with auto-tune to evoke his baffled disconnect. When you return to domestic life outside of this worm hole, indeed, it can feel just like that: a perplexing fantasy. – Jasper Willems

talker – “When It Starts”

This gifted LA artist has the talent to be a poet or a movie director, but her musical gifts are on display on “When It Starts.” It’s one of eleven fabulous tracks on her debut album I’m Telling You The Truth. It’s an album that actually surpasses her idols Karen O, Julia Jacklin and Ellie Rowsell. – Larry McClain

Yetsuby – “1,2,3 Soleil”

This feels like it’d be right at home on the soundtrack for a hypothetical Rareware Space Western platformer, were we lucky enough for them to be making such things in 2024. Or perhaps an anime version of Jurassic Park. Whatever headtrip it gives you, it’s sure to be a bouncy, bright one. Salamanda’s Yetsuby has never been having more fun, and it leaps out at you in every moment of her grand, delightfully chaotic new mini-album. This is but a taste of what awaits. – Chase McMullen

You can listen to BPM Curates: June 2024 here.