WNRN is dedicated to bringing you the best new music. Each month, we’ll be giving you the scoop on new albums coming out from your favorite artists and ones you haven’t heard yet. Plus, some commentary from the artists on the making of or inspirations for their new records. Tune in on the first Friday of each month for the Monthly Album Preview!

Arcade Fire – WE (5/6)

After five years, Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire will return this Friday with WE. Full of life and perfectly reflective of their 21-year career, the first single “The Lightning I, II” is a suitable introduction to the rest of the record.

Touted as a concise, 40-minute epic, the album is split into two parts, which will aim to channel “the fear and loneliness of isolation” and “the joy and power of reconnection,” co-founder Win Butler said in a statement. Co-produced by Butler and Régine Chassagne with longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich, WE was recorded in a variety of locations, including New Orleans, El Paso and Mount Desert Island, making it “the longest we’ve ever spent writing, uninterrupted, probably ever,” Butler said.

Possibly representative of the larger record, “The Lightning I, II” is essentially one song divided into two distinctly different parts. Starting slowly, almost like an establishing shot in a film, Part I sets the stage for the up-tempo, exhilarating Part II. After their 2017 release “Everything Now” fell flat with an over-the-top promotional campaign that seemed to work against the band’s best interests, WE marks a significant return for Arcade Fire. Leaning into the grandiose, larger than life ambitions that first launched them into success, it’s clear that the focus is more aligned with the original vision of the band.

Out on May 6th via Columbia Records, WE is here, and Arcade Fire are back.


Sharon Van Etten – We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (5/6)

This Friday, Sharon Van Etten will release her sixth studio album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong. Instead of dropping any singles from the album, she said the entire project will be available at once.

“I wanted to approach this release differently, to engage my fans in an intentional way, in an effort to present the album as a whole body of work,” Van Etten said. “These ten songs are designed to be listened to in order, at once, so that a much larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience can be told.”

What she has shared is a cinematic trailer for the album, which features short, interspersed clips and photos of her life set to a climbing soundtrack of anticipation. She also came and spoke with WNRN’s Amber Hoback for an In-Studio Session about some musical influences for WBGATAW, as well as how the project came to life. Of her guest DJ picks, “Plainsong” by The Cure and “Atmosphere” by Joy Division are emblematic of her new approach to creating songs with her band.

“What I’m learning how to do is let my band create the atmosphere for me, to be able to form in. And I wrote a lot of these songs without them, before I asked them to lay down tracks and to help me flesh them out. And so finally being in a room with them again and working on these new songs, I feel like they’re giving me permission to step back for a minute and allow them to create the space for me to perform in, as opposed to them performing on top of me. It’s learning how to perform together again and lean into each other, and again own those spaces.”

We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is out May 6th on Jagjaguwar. Sharon’s European Darkness Fades Tour starts in June, and after she’ll return to North America for her Wild Hearts Tour alongside Angel Olsen, Julien Baker and Spencer. in July and August.


Dehd – Blue Skies (5/27)

Chicago trio Dehd have their third full-length album Blue Skies coming out on May 27th. They also just started a North American tour in anticipation of the release, and dropped two standout singles that point to an exciting new record.

Honing their sound, which glides between post-punk and dream-pop , Dehd largely follows the formula from their critically-lauded 2020 release Flowers of Devotion, albeit with some bigger names in the credits, like mixing engineer Craig Silvey (The National, The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire). 

Vocalist Emily Kempf describes album single, “Bad Love” as breaking the cycle of love addiction and chasing self love instead of an unhealthy or codependent relationship. The track picks up briskly from a walk into a full-on sprint with Kempf howling “Run baby run / Run from the bad love / New love, baby, come on, honey, give me some.”

“Empty in My Mind,” is about “the floating mindless space around a new crush… The sort of high that occurs, the spinning, the detachment and the feeling of ungroundedness. All of these things being either very fun or absolutely dreadful.” It’s another great example of their ability to make a song super catchy with a few simple elements. Jason Balla and Kempf’s vocal deliveries harmonize beautifully, pulling the listener into the melody with a sound built on chemistry and character.


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Endless Rooms (5/6)

For their follow up to 2020’s Sideways To New Italy, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have a new album coming on May 6th, called Endless Rooms. Centered around nature and process, the Aussie band describes Endless Rooms as the group “doing what we do best: chasing down songs in a room together.”

Separated by Australia’s strict COVID lockdown requirements, the band traded initial ideas for the album online during long spells of quarantine. The record came to life during the small gaps of time where it was safe for band members to see one another, and it was written and recorded at a small mud-brick house two hours north of Melbourne, which was built by the extended family of members Tom and Joe Russo in the ‘70s. The album is the group’s first self-produced, influenced and informed by the atmosphere of the secluded lakeside home where it came together, which is featured on the album’s cover.

“The Way It Shatters” confronts the innate randomness of how any one person ends up in their current situation: “If you happen to be born into wealthy Australia or happen to be born into a war zone in Syria. That’s just the way it shatters,” the band said in the album’s press release. “So it’s when this good luck is mistaken for a sense of pride in one’s self or their country they become confused and deluded about what’s important. It’s when those on the other side of the luck scale are completely othered and considered not worthy.” The track exudes their classic brash yet calculated instrumentation, tapping into the collective spirit that they’re known for while giving it new meaning on this record. 

Featuring field recording of the surrounding nature where it was recorded, it’s almost an “anti-concept album,” the group said. “The Endless Rooms of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities.” The band also embarks on their first North American tour since 2019 this summer. 


Suki Waterhouse – I Can’t Let Go (5/6)

After signing to Sub Pop Records last October, Suki Waterhouse will be releasing her full-length debut I Can’t Let Go on May 6th. Teaming up with Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, War On Drugs, Snail Mail, Waxahatchee), the singer-songwriter, actress, model puts forth a sound that’s both alluring and worth the hype.

She recently shared the single “Melrose Meltdown,” which is accompanied by a highly stylized music video directed by Sofia Malamute. A journey of loneliness where “Nobody ever breaks up, we just break down,” Waterhouse’s haunting vocal style is on full display, giving previous comparisons of her to crooners like Hope Sandoval and Lana Del Ray new weight and meaning. 

With a keen ability to capture the intimate and sensitive, “Wild Side” is about the anxious excitement of an ex re-entering your life. Waterhouse perfectly reflects the balance between pain and love, expectations and reality, and how hard it is to close that door of your first love. “When you got that ex who’s crazy, they’re always running through your mind / Remember when we had a wild side?”

Starting in 2016 with her debut single “Brutally,” I Can’t Let Go is the culmination of her gradual venture further into music, dropping singles once or twice a year. Filled with creative songwriting that reflects on the significant life events of her 20s, I Can’t Let Go is about finding closure in those moments.