It's May! Along with shorter shorts, icy drinks, fresh flowers, and better moods, this month is bringing a fresh wave of new music. Now that the weather's warm, it might be time for a visit to your long-neglected record store to pick up a few of these highly-anticipated albums! Some are from old standbys and some are from newcomers, but there's bound to be something for everyone coming out this month. Check out the seven titles we're particularly psyched about:
Fitz and the Tantrums
More Than Just A Dream
Los Angeles indie outfit Fitz and the Tantrums gained a following with their 2010 debut Pickin' Up The Pieces
, and their sophomore effort is looking just as good. With producer Tony Hoffer (Beck, Depeche Mode, Phoenix) on board and some sharp synth-pop instincts, their sound encapsulates the gruff, nostalgic, echoing anthem that seems to be characterizing this decade, with the added bonus of seriously catchy hooks.
"Out of My League"
This British all-female band is probably the most exciting thing happening in the world of post-punk this year. Their music touches on themes of media politics and gender issues, but more importantly, the bass speeds up your heartbeat, the discordant guitar makes you want to re-listen to Washing Machine
, and Jehnny Beth's intense vocals slice through walls of sound like a dagger. Bonus: their whole album is currently streaming on their website
Modern Vampires of the City
The ingenious publicity stunts and maneuvers of this band have made their upcoming record already feel like a classic that's been sitting on our shelves for months. The Elvis croon of "Diane Young," the wistful ennui of "Step," and circa-2008 pep of "Yah Hey" have us raring to hear what else the Weekend has in store for us. All in all, though, I suppose they owe the successful promotion of this album to Steve Buscemi's relentless flyer distribution. Thanks, Steve.
The ass-kicking bassline, jumpy haunted-house synth hooks, and Joy Division dance sensibilities of "The Hearse" put this Portland band on our radar, and we can't wait to hear their first full-length effort. We can forgive them for the awful album cover, right?
Second Hand Rapture
I'll admit, my attachment to this band may be partially based on the fact that their song "Bones" was featured on the trailer for Season 3 of Game of Thrones
, but that doesn't make this up-and-coming pop outfit any less exciting. Tapping into the ideas of media obsession and modern isolation, their songs are put forth with naked sincerity and grungy pop sensibilities. Also, their video for "Fantasy" has cheerleaders vomiting glitter. So, you know, there's that.
Limits of Desire
It's tough to sound original in this synth-soaked world of ours, but Small Black doesn't really care. Their sound recalls plenty of 80s U2, softer New Order, even Psychedelic Furs, but they do it so damn well that their songs feel like instant chillwave classics. Their artsy New York image doesn't hurt either: the lead-up to their album coincides with a Brooklyn art show exploring the record's themes of societal limitations on acceptable desires. What does this mean in terms of actual music? Dreamy, lush, replayable love songs.
Trouble Will Find Me
I've always thought of The National as a band that has to grow on you. Matt Berninger's astounding baritone, along with the soundscape of gritty alt-country beauty that sometimes drowns it out, gives their songs a counter-intuitive subtlety, and it can take multiple listens for the full weight of their emotions to sink in. They have taught us to listen closely and listen deep, and the songs we've heard off their forthcoming sixth full-length album reward the listener with dark insight and introspective confessions that are sure to go down as National classics.
(...Oh, and I guess Daft Punk is coming out with a new record? Whoops.)