We really have been spoilt for choice in May. I know, we (I) may have expressed very similar sentiments back for this same feature in April but that was over-enthusiasm at a decent-ish month for music. This month, however, has genuinely been filled with fantastic records. It's hard to narrow it down too much, but here's a pick of the best.
Our top eight of May 2009
The Field - Yesterday And Today
Says William Grant: "The pulse in a human body is a vital sign. It’s proof of life; a rhythm that every other part of the being works around, not to mention a metronome for the dance-loving masses...‘Organic’ is a word that has influence and is often applied, but hardly does justice to so otherworldly a record as Yesterday And Today. A pulse very rarely makes you feel this alive."
The Horrors - Primary Colours
Says Charles Ubaghs: "For now, Primary Colours is a reminder that young British bands can actually progress to brilliant new heights, and perhaps, just perhaps, the occasional surprise in these media saturated times isn’t as endangered a beast as previously thought."
Read the full review | Listen on Spotify
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Says Milton Savage: "By cutting themselves off from a hurry-everywhere-and-everything society, Grizzly Bear have successfully realised their most rewarding record yet, and the first to truly feature the four in perfect harmony – with bassist Chris Taylor producing, the band has been able to indulge as many whims as they’ve felt right, without a secondary perspective corrupting their vision."
Isis - Wavering Radiant
Says Milton Savage: "The flow of Wavering Radiant is a natural one, its cadence fine-tuned to the circling of celestial spheres, as if designed by a greater power than the electricity that courses through transistors and transducers. It’s a proper album, in the sense that a divide is made at four of seven, the title track a segue between halves – its makers clearly bear download culture little respect, constructing their latest so that it’s best experienced as a whole, bridging arrangements as vital as the blustering bombast and constitutional inflections of grandly designed standout pieces."
Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Says Dom Gourlay: "Journal For Plague Lovers is a strident comeback that would have been a worthy direct successor to The Holy Bible had circumstances been different. That the origin of its lyrics circumvents arguably their two finest bodies of work is of no surprise either, and as with their previous reincarnation against all the odds (Everything Must Go), it's a worthy two fingered salute to those who thought their time was up many moons ago."
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Says Sean Adams: "Let this record be a high watermark album of the decade. Let it be a pull-yer-socks-up communiqué to all those New Yorkers stealing our European heroes unworn crowns. If this doesn't ensnare the doubters, I don't know what will."
St. Vincent - Actor
Says Chris Power: "For all the darkness of Actor's concerns, however, it remains an exceptionally pleasurable album to listen to. But that isn't to say that its songs, which cluster around the themes of dishonesty, unhappiness, hurt and doomed dreams of rekindling past loves, are ultimately unsuccessful in conveying what they're about. It's more the case that, like any truly engaging artwork, they satisfy even as they perturb."
Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
Says John Doran: "For the internet-damaged and terminally short of attention to the myopically conservative, to those who choose music merely as a lifestyle accessory, this album will upset, confuse or bore. For anyone interested in music that works both as art and an intensely new exciting experience - this is easily the best album that has come out this year."
DiScover album of the month
Alessi's Ark - Notes From The Treehouse
Says Richard Wink: Notes From The Treehouse is a confident debut that strides with a certain class. Containing songs that are destined to go down well in intimate settings, as well just before the sun sets on a summer festival side stage; Alessi needs to be wary not to suffocate her audience because the pacing of the album though steady and effortless makes for a fatigued listen. But there are moments of brilliance that are most encouraging.
What's gonna be on our stereo speakers this coming month? Probably Let's Wrestle's first record, the amazing cricket concept album from the Duckworth Lewis Method plus Beck and Eels for the nostalgia and the proof that you don't have to be under 30 to be good.