Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (May 11)
Although no singles have been released in anticipation of this album, Monkeys fans are holding their breath to hear what the band have come up with this time around. The group never do the same thing twice and this makes for a lot of excitement every time they decide to come out with new work. By those who’ve been able to listen to the demo, it’s been called divisive, toned down but distinctly the Arctic Monkeys, though maybe more so distinctly Alex Turner. Whichever shines through more, I’m eager to dive in.
Jess Williamson – Cosmic Wink (May 11)
Jess Williamson writes meditative folk songs. Older tracks like “White Bed” from 2016’s Heart Song are reminiscent of Laura Marling but with a decidedly American country twist hiding under the surface. The singles that have been released ahead of Cosmic Wink are deeper and grander, and hint at influences like PJ Harvey in “I See the White” white established links to Angel Olsen and Joanna Newsom also persist. Williamson brings a desert charm to her plaintive musings that is unlike any of the above, and by which her niche is properly carved out. This could well be a game changer for Williamson.
Parquet Courts – Wide Awake! (May 18)
I’m a big fan of Parquet Courts and their antics. There is a boyish playfulness to their music that enables its listeners to not take themselves to seriously while blasting something so seemingly pretentious out of their speakers. It is to me what sets them apart from their contemporaries in the indie rock scene. A song like “Wide Awake” has clear Talking Heads vibes but also doesn’t stray far from early noughties indie rock that swayed the UK specifically. Think of We Have Band, Friendly Fires, really anything that got picked up by Kitsune for their Kitsune Maison mixtapes. This album reminds me of how great it was to see Parquet Courts perform at Field Day 2016 and how awesome it would be to see them again with this new material.
Jenny Hval – The Long Sleep (EP) (May 25)
Jenny Hval’s music is artful and poetic and has explored many different themes over the years. Though she might be well known for her dark and sensual speak-singing that can be heard on Blood Bitch (2016) and Innocence Is Kinky (2013), it is clear that Hval is exploring a different, more melodious and less ominous, sound for The Long Sleep. Promoted as more instinctive, with this EP Hval aims to let the melody and composition speak for the deeper meaning of the work. It promises to be a succinct piece of musical art that can be explored layer by layer.
Beach House – 7 (hypnotic, dark indie)
SSION – O (queer club pop)
Frog Eyes – Violet Psalms (strange Canadian indie rock, not for casual consumption)
James Bay – Electric Light (pop for cool kids)
Ray LaMontagne – Part of the Light (sensitive folk)
Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How It Really Feel (punky, sunny singer-songwriter jams)
Chad Valley – Imaginary Music (euphoric electro pop)
Chvrches – Love Is Dead (dramatic synth pop)