Already, 2018 has given us plenty of food for thought.
May has been a particularly interesting month for new music. The ever-divisive Alex Turner released his soundtrack to an intergalactic jazz party, a cheeky Dutch quartet rip up the roots of indie rock and Leon Bridges croons lovingly in a sweet tribute to all things shiny and happy.
Here are a few of our top releases of the month so far.
Arctic Monkeys - 'Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino'
Released on the 11th May, the Arctic Monkey’s sixth studio album split fans and critics alike down the middle. Far from their anthemic, venue-filling kickers, the 11 tracks in Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino entwine obscure pop culture references within Turner’s stream of consciousness.
Amber Mark - 'Conexao'
At only 4 tracks long, Amber Mark’s languid EP sounds as if it’s been crafted by a pop music veteran. The New York singer-songwriter plays with rhythm and grooves in its production to add a dreamy and pensive sound, ebbing and flowing between pop, folk and indie.
Beach House - '7'
Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House have released their shiny new LP 7. An all-encompassing psychedelic pop experience, the seventh studio album is a new era for Beach House, venturing into immersive and evocative sounds only heard of in dreams. Less of a quiet night in the bathtub with a book, candles and your own thoughts, 7 has an underlying bassline which could slot nicely into an intimate house party.
Peace - 'Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll'
In a subtle return from the Birmingham-based indie band, Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll has moved away from venue-filling anthems in favour of a softer approach. Touching delicately on mental health, Trump, Brexit, and the all-encompassing power of love, Peace have triumphed over good and evil to present an emotionally mature, rational expose of topical affairs.
Canshaker Pi - 'Naughty Naughty Violence'
With flammable energy and a zest for life, the indie-rock quartet from Amsterdam released a second studio album just in time for a summer of European tour dates. Dedicated to intelligently abstract lyricism, Naughty Naughty Violence is a mish-mash of striking hooks, strong melodies and devious adolescent charm.
Courtney Barnett - 'Tell Me How You Really Feel'
Melbourne’s sharp-witted indie rock icon Courtney Barnett returned this month with an introspective 10-track album Tell Me How You Really Feel. Barnett has a more sombre tone in a change from her previous LPs, but the record is still chock full of sardonic humour and sharp wit as she addresses the trials and tribulations of life on the move and a crisis of confidence.
Leon Bridges - 'Good Thing'
Texas-born soul singer Leon Bridges weaves and winds his extensive musical heritage amongst a fresh, more adventurous sound for second studio album Good Thing. His impeccable vocal talent thrills and spills over into each perfectly polished track, giving the album smooth transitions made for easy-afternoon listening.
La Luz’s sultry, surf-noir sound is genetically engineered for the pool party decks, and no much more so than in their new album released this month. Floating Features acts as an electro-pop dimmer switch, flicking between darkness in light, experimenting and tweaking genres to give it an irreplaceable flair. Bringing in the sounds of the psychedelic, indie rock and folk, Floating Features is tinged with a hazy, late summer evening glow.
Chvrches - 'Love Is Dead'
In a true modern pop triumph, Chvrches have managed to depict the perfect millennial love affair. The carefully blended sounds of alternative rock, indie electronica and 80s synth-pop explode in splendorous light in Love Is Dead, with frontwoman Lauren Mayberry taking the reins with her seductive, emotionally-charged lyricism. Crisp drums and delicate echo effects form perfect club belters, engineered perfectly for screaming at the top of your lungs until the sun rises.
DJ Koze - 'Knock Knock'
Stefan Kozalla’s latest creation is something straight out of the weird and wonky. The German producer is the omnipresent being in a mystical new world; teasing with electric samples, jaded synths and clear-cut drums. Falling deliberately through the gaps between trip-hop, R&B, techno and deep house, Knock Knock is an essential listening experience.