10 Albums You Need to Hear in May

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We mentioned last month that May and June were both looking pretty fine as far as album releases go — and indeed, there’s a heap of goodness to choose from as far as interesting new music to listen to this month goes, so much so that it was a struggle to get our regular list of worthy upcoming albums down to its habitual count of ten. But still, we’ve picked out ten of the best after the jump — everything from Sigur Rós to K-Holes — and also rounded up all the other releases of note over the coming month. Let us know what’s on your list!

Lower Dens — Nootropics (May 1)

We’ve been absolutely loving this record at Flavorwire of late — if you’ve not heard Lower Dens’ work, they’re best approximated by imagining how it might sound if Beach House stumbled into some sort of trans-dimensional wormhole and landed in 1970s Germany. There’s definitely a hint of Victoria Legrand about Jana Hunter’s deep, melancholy voice, although Lower Dens’ music is more varied than Beach House’s — tracks like “Brains” and “Stem” pulse to a motorik beat, while the delicate synth textures of “Lion In Winter (Parts 1 and 2)” recall some of Harmonia’s best work. In other words, this album is the business. Get a hold of it ASAP.

Light Asylum — Light Asylum (May 1)

This writer got a stern talking to from certain corners of the Flavorpill office yesterday for suggesting that Light Asylum are an acquired taste, which only goes to show that if you like this record, you’ll really, really like it. There’s certainly something intoxicating about the dark, hyper-romantic sound of the album, and if you’re into ’80s synthpop and/or choruses that go something like, “Don’t leave meeeeeeeee,” this will be right up your alley.

K-Holes — Dismania (May 1)

Dark, claustrophobic punk rock that recalls The Birthday Party and Funhouse-era Stooges, with a slice of L7 thrown in for good measure? Yes please, we’ll definitely be up for some of that action.

Royal Headache — Royal Headache (May 8)

We’ve written a bit about this record of late — Royal Headache are perhaps replacing Eddy Current Suppression Ring as the flag-bearers for Australia’s thriving garage rock scene, and Eddy Current’s Mikey Young handles production duties on this record, which mines a rich vein of sepia-tinged ’70s nostalgia and revels in that era’s ingenuous charms.

Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury — Drokk (May 8)

In which the suddenly prolific Geoff Barrow teams up with soundtrack producer Ben Salisbury to make a record that indulges their shared love of ’80s graphic novel Judge Dredd. The album takes its word from an imaginary Dredd-universe swear word, and bills itself as “music inspired by Mega-City One.” The heavily synth-based work is somewhat reminiscent of Blade Runner, which makes perfect sense, and also of Johnny Jewel’s work on the Drive soundtrack — both of which are excellent reference points as far as we’re concerned.

Led Er Est — The Diver (May 8)

Minimal wave, dark wave, neo-synthpop, or whatever else you want to call it — Led Er Est are one of the finest exponents of the genre going round at the moment, and we’re very much looking forward to getting our hands on this, their first album for Brooklyn’s own Sacred Bones imprint. We’re loving the above video, too.

Beach House — Bloom (May 15)

This may well be the most anticipated album of 2012 thus far, and since we’ve not had a review copy yet and have steadfastly resisted the temptation to indulge in the leaked copy that slipped out a while back, all we really have to say about it is that we can’t wait to hear it. Gahhhh. Bring it on, already.

Soulsavers — The Light the Dead See (May 22)

Soulsavers main man Rich Machin has a talent for attracting vocalists — the last two Soulsavers records featured Mark Lanegan’s vocals, and this one finds him working with Dave Gahan. As its title might suggest, The Light the Dead See explores some pretty heavy themes, largely those of regret and redemption, but it’s never overly morbid or turgid, and Gahan’s vocals are some of the best he’s done in ages. Definitely worth investigating.

Grass Widow — Internal Logic (May 22)

We were hanging for this record from San Francisco trio Grass Widow even before we saw the trailer above, but we hope that LP plants really do feature big Willy Wonka-style vats of liquid vinyl.

Sigur Rós — Valtari (May 29)

Nope, we haven’t heard this yet, but we’re very much looking forward to doing so. Now, how’s about a tour, eh?

Also out this month:

Rufus Wainwright — Out of the Game (May 1) Rufus settles into middle age. This is not an entirely bad thing.

Marilyn Manson — Born Villain (May 1) Marilyn settles into middle age. This is not an entirely good thing.

Santigold — Master of My Make-Believe (May 1) It’s like the last five years never happened. Make of this what you will.

Damon Albarn — Dr Dee (May 8) Opera: the final frontier.

Garbage — Not Your Kind of People (May 15) Shirley Manson on the decline of the record industry: “To see those fat cunts lose their jobs gave me an unbelievable sense of satisfaction. To know we’ve outlasted them makes me feel so victorious I don’t even know where to start.” We heart Shirley Manson.

Various Artists — Max Payne 3 OST (May 15) HEALTH soundtracking a video game, apparently. Expect lots of pre-teens with sore ears.

Best Coast — The Only Place (May 15) Bongs, cats, California, etc etc etc.

Scissor Sisters — Magic Hour (May 28) We’ll be interested to hear this, actually — lead single “Shady Love” was certainly something different for the band. And they’re always fun.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros — Here (May 29) New album from The Polyphonic Spree 2.0.

Sun Kil Moon — Among the Leaves (May 29) Yay for new Mark Kozelek material.