10 Must-Have May Albums
Daniel Blumberg GUT
GUT is an unflinchingly raw and personal album, a radical departure from Blumberg’s previous work and one that firmly establishes him in a unique space within experimental music practice. It makes oblique reference to the intestinal disease Blumberg has suffered in the last few years, but more than that, it is an elemental and corporeal suite of six inter-connected songs that trace a body stripped back and rebuilt: renderings of pain, frustration and fatigue in ballads made sinew and bone; an extraordinary vocal that reaches beyond the body to escape the malfunctions of the flesh; and a musical accompaniment that draws breath and rhythm in unruly and original forms.
Arlo Parks My Soft Machine
My Soft Machine is a deeply personal body of work; a narration of Parks’ experiences as she navigates her 20’s and the growth intertwined. It was recorded between London and Los Angeles, with the producers Paul Epworth, Ariel Rechtshaid, Romil Hemnani (Brockhampton), Frank Ocean-collaborator Buddy Ross and Carter Lang (SZA) – as well as some self-production from Arlo herself.
My Soft Machine is the follow-up to Arlo’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning debut Collapsed in Sunbeams; a record which received two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album, won the BRIT Award for Best New Artist, received the Hyundai Mercury Prize, and won the BBC Introducing Artist Of The Year Award.
Temps PARTY GATOR PURGATORY
Temps, the 40-strong international music collective devised, curated and produced by James Acaster, just released their acclaimed debut album PARTY GATOR PURGATORY via Bella Union. Featuring such geniuses as Quelle Chris, John Dieterich, Joana Gomila, Laia Vallès, Shamir, Seb Rochford and many more, Temps’ ten-track debut album was produced, curated and devised by James Acaster. Released via Bella Union, this mind-bending opus rose from the ashes of an aborted mockumentary made with Louis Theroux’s money.
Sleep Token Take Me Back To Eden
Take Me Back To Eden (an hour-plus of music across 12 distinctive tracks) is Part 3 of a trilogy, a spectacular chapter-closer in the ongoing Sleep Token saga – a saga that kicked off in earnest with debut album, Sundowning (2019).
The five advanced singles from the album have been scaling the viral charts and are continuing to eclipse every benchmark set by the band previously.
Formed in 2016, the band’s origin story is steeped in lore. The story goes that Vessel was visited in a dream by an ancient deity known as Sleep, who promised him “glory and magnificence” if Vessel were to follow him. Each of Sleep Token’s songs are said to be dedicated to this deity, while their sound is just as intriguing: splicing tuned-down tech-metal with the lighter elements of pop and R&B to create a soundscape that’s not only heavy, but curiously accessible.
Daniel Avery More Truth
Daniel Avery expands on the textures and energy of his critically-acclaimed fifth studio album with More Truth, a 7-track collection of new singles, B-sides and bonus material to complete the collaborative universe established on 2022’s Ultra Truth. Beginning with the thunderous rave chorus of lead track ‘Going So Low’ – a brand new collaboration with vocalist/producer Georgia – More Truth explores the furthest emotional reaches of Avery’s studio fever dream.
Daniel Avery: “More Truth. More sounds from the world of Ultra. B-sides, bonus tracks and unheard noise. This is our ultra truth. We’re not going anywhere.”
Dropkick Murphys Okemah Rising
Dropkick Murphys’ journey interpreting the work of Woody Guthrie for a new generation continues with Okemah Rising via the band’s Dummy Luck Music / [PIAS]. The album – named for Woody’s hometown of Okemah, OK – follows Dropkick Murphys’ highly-acclaimed This Machine Still Kills Fascists album.
Okemah Rising is the final acoustic release from Dropkick Murphys’ recording sessions in Tulsa with trusted collaborator and producer Ted Hutt. This era in the band’s history will be captured in a documentary following their journey writing, recording, and performing the 20 songs they’ve crafted around Woody’s never-before-seen lyrics for these two albums.
BC Camplight The Last Rotation Of Earth
BC Camplight just released the heartbreak album of the year via Bella Union. Whilst making his new album The Last Rotation Of Earth, Christinzio’s relationship with his fiancé crumbled after nine inseparable years. The album follows this break-up amid long-term struggles with addiction and declining mental health. The outcome is an extraordinary record, with Christinzio describing it as “more cinematic, sophisticated and nuanced than anything I’ve done before. And more desperate”. He goes on to describe how the separation altered his creative focus and caused him to “scrap 95% of what I’d already recorded”, finishing The Last Rotation Of Earth in two months and making what he believes to his most vital album.
Flume Arrived Anxious, Left Bored
Grammy-winning electronic music heavyweight Flume shares the second part of his excavation of material from the past ten years, Arrived Anxious, Left Bored. Gifting fans with ten more tracks pulled from the past, Arrived Anxious, Left Bored drops off the back of the recent announcement of massive US headline shows.
Arrived Anxious, Left Bored, released via Transgressive Records, is work reflective of the eclectic nature of Flume’s output over the past ten years since his 2012 self-titled debut album, which launched the iconic producer’s career. Spanning from underground house to atmospheric ambient tracks, Arrived Anxious, Left Bored features collaborations with celebrated producer Emile Haynie (Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey, A$AP Rocky) and Jim-E Stack (Bon Iver, HAIM, Sudan Archives), as well as his first foray into using his own vocals with “All There 1.9 [2019 Export Wav].”
Westerman An Inbuilt Fault
Among the pieces of art that made the biggest impact on An Inbuilt Fault—Will Westerman’ssecond album as Westerman—are two classic films: Ingmar Bergman’s allegorical 1957 masterwork The Seventh Sealand Akira Kurosawa’s probing 1952 sociological dramaIkiru. In totally separate ways, each film follows a protagonist in the throes of an existential crisis, evoking turmoil and stasis, carefully charting out their quests for self-understanding and actualization. On “A Lens Turning,” one of Inbuilt Fault’s standouts, Westerman comments on a similar kind of troubled journey to the center of the self: “I don’t know who I am anymore,” he sings. “Forgot what I was looking for/I’m noticing how the lens turns/More when I’m asking why.”
Emily King Special Occasion
New York City native and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Emily King releases Special Occasion via ATO Records. Across eleven dynamic tracks, including “This Year,” “Medal,” “False Start” (a collaboration with Nick Hakim), “Bad Memory (featuring Lukas Nelson)”, and “The Way That You Love Me” (in collaboration with Rob Moose), King shows off her “smart, catchy songs that blend soul, R&B and pop” (WNYC Soundcheck). Featuring production by longtime collaborator and Grammy-nominee Jeremy Most, Special Occasion is a bold, introspective exploration of love, heartbreak, and forward motion.
“I’ve called this a breakup-to-makeup-to-breakup-again album, but really, it’s about trying to find joy in trying times—trying to celebrate who you are in your quietest moments, rather than in relation to someone else,” King explains. “For me that’s still very much a work-in-progress, but I hope these songs will help people to find some hope and relief.”
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