6 must-listen album releases in May
After a relatively quiet couple of months, May brings a flurry of new tunes to usher in the Northern Hemisphere summer. Ok, so we're heading into winter in this end of the world, but that doesn't mean you can't channel the summer vibes by updating your playlists. Here, six albums to look out for this month.
1. Skepta - Konnichiwa, out May 6
With his unmistakeable North London accent and status as a Grime revivalist hero, Joseph Junior Adenuga's fourth album (his first since 2012) has rap fans salivating. The 'Shutdown' singer (and sometime Drake collaborator) is fast snapping at the heels of contemporaries like Drake and Kanye West - which means expectations for this LP are big. With a penchant for fashion (he plans to launch his own fashion label someday) and a lo-fi approach to music videos (case in point: 'Man'), Skepta's obvious MC skills are backed by the necessary hype - so much so that this album has been delayed by a year, presumably to keep the momentum going.
2. Tourist - U, out May 6
London-based producer William Phillips isn't quite a household name yet - but the company he keeps sure is. The classically trained electronic maestro is signed to Method Records (that would be) Disclosure's label and, just quietly, shared a Grammy win with Sam Smith after co-writing the mega-hit 'Stay With Me'. Naturally, Phillip's debut solo effort is dedicated to the world's most universal ailment: heartbreak. Don't be fooled though, it's not quite piano ballads and aching falsetto - you'll find a pulsating energy behind tracks like 'Run' and 'To Have You Back' that's more in tune with Disclosure's soulful house beats.
3. Kygo - Cloud Nine, out May 13
At first glance, Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll could be brushed aside as yet another Euro-tech DJ. The Norwegian certainly crafts tracks that you'd expect to hear pumping from the speakers of an idyllic island hotspot - be it Ibiza or Mykonos - and his string of previous singles ('Stay' and 'Firestone') certainly back this up. But for his debut studio album, the 24 year old has been keen to stretch the conventions of the EDM genre, releasing the surprisingly effective balladesque 'Fragile' and the James Vincent McMorrow-sampling groover 'I'm In Love'. Of course, there will be many a Spring Break anthem (see: 'Raging') to pep up the most flagging of Northern Hemisphere beach parties, too. Save it for your European summer vacay.
4. Vera Blue, Fingertips, out May 13
Like many now-legitimate indie musos before her (Owl Eyes, Matt Corby), Vera Blue got her start on the most mainstream of music programs: a reality TV talent show (The Voice, if you're curious). That she's managed to successfully garner airplay on national youth broadcaster Triple J without revealing this fact, thereby shedding her alter ego is a testament to the strength of Celia Pavey's voice. After releasing the meditative 'Hold' and the lush and layered 'Settle' this forthcoming EP announces another Aussie singer-songwriter to watch as she grows and develops.
5. Flume - Skin, out May 27
When Flume (aka Harley Streten) released his debut self-titled album in 2012, his first LP bared the hallmarks of his Australian-tinged electronica background. Collaborations with Chet Faker, Jezzabell Doran and George Maple cemented him as a local talent with a globally accessible signature. Fast forward three or so years and the dude has played at Coachella (twice), worked with Miike Snow's Andrew Wyatt, and now boasts international guest vocalists such as Tove Lo, Kučka, Kai and Little Dragon on his new record. With a succession of singles already bouncing around (the bass heavy 'Smoke & Retribution', the twitchy ode to stupid mistakes 'Never Be Like You' and the newbie 'Say It'), Skin will have no problem catching the rapt attention of the next generation of festival-hoppers. Get ready for a stellar Splendour set.
6. Band of Skulls - By Default, out May 27
After three album filled with big, dirty riffs and catchy hooks, English trio Band of Horses have scrapped the playbooks on their fourth album. "We took a breath, took a look at what we'd done, and started from scratch again," explains drummer Matt Hayward, who describes By Default as new era for the band. Conceived in a Southampton Baptist church, the new album was the first time the trio had taken off from non-stop touring over the past two years. While the fruits of their labour can so far only be heard of lead track 'Killer' - it's concentrated intensity suggests they've found a new groove.
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