The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in May

Music Lists Most Anticipated
The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in May

The first and last Fridays of April are like mini Christmas mornings for music lovers—packed with releases we’re looking forward to. And the two in between aren’t too shabby either. Here are the 10 April albums we’re most excited about this month.

May 5

Durand Jones: Wait Til I Get Over
The first single from Durand Jones without his backing band, The Indications, is a slow-burning soul ballad that serves as both a coming-out and coming-home song. Now based in San Antonio, his upcoming album Wait Til I Get Over is all about his relationship with his hometown of Hillaryville, La. The emotions build with screaming guitars as the cinematic video unveils a young, queer love in a rural, Black community on one of the final bends in the Mississippi River. Jones’ voice carries the weight of complications and contradictions as he digs into the past. “Miss Sadie” is the type of giant, throwback soul ballad that he perfected with his Indication bandmates. And “Lord Have Mercy” is a funky blues party. —Josh Jackson

Greg Mendez: Greg Mendez
On his self-titled album, Philadelphia singer/songwriter Greg Mendez takes many shapes. Weaving through stories of sobriety, relationships and self-destruction, Mendez pens brilliant tales of imperfection from the bottom of his soul. Teaser singles “Maria,” “Goodbye / Trouble” and “Best Behavior / Hoping You’re Doing Okay” have set the scene of Mendez, a low-key guitar and his coiling, stoic voice. “Here’s a photograph where I look like I’m having a good time / But I’m not / And I know you can notice the difference,” he sings on “Best Behavior.” Greg Mendez is one of the best folk albums of 2023; an urgent, charming and sincere demonstration of one man spinning a eulogy into a beacon of hope. —Matt Mitchell

The Lemon Twigs: Everything Harmony
Recorded with Andres Valbuena and Daryl Johns and mastered by Bug Sound’s Paul Millar, Everything Harmony is the best thing the D’Addario brothers have ever made. The D’Addario brothers have long possessed a potent stronghold on the architecture of pop melodies. Brian and Michael have been calling Everything Harmony their “Simon & Garfunkel record,” given how much they let these new songs breathe atop dynamic, orchestral and—mostly—acoustic arrangements. Lead single—and longtime setlist cornerstone—“Corner Of My Eye” is very Fate for Breakfast-era Art Garfunkel, as Brian splays an inquisitive falsetto over a sweet, catchy, plucky melody. It’s chamber-pop perfected to a T, which you can hear through a delicious wall of harmonies cascading at the 1:50 mark. And while most of the album is a perfect, idealistic rendering of mid-century, singer/songwriter bliss, “In My Head” and “What You Were Doing” tap into the glam rock ethos that still courses through their veins. —Matt Mitchell

More notable May 5 releases: Atmosphere: So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously, Bailen: Tired Hearts, David Wax, Museum: You Must Change Your Life, Dean Johnson: Nothing For Me, Please, Ed Sheeran: – [Subtract], Gord Downie & Bob Rock: Lustre Parfait, Jonas Brothers: The Album, Nanna: How to Start a Garden, Rodney Crowell: The Chicago Sessions, SQÜRL: Sacred Bones, The Album Leaf: Future Falling, Waldemar: Ruthless, Westerman: An Inbuilt Fault

May 12

Alison Goldfrapp: The Love Invention
With a planned tour with her Goldfrapp collaborator Will Gregory put on ice due to the pandemic, Alison Goldfrapp said that she began “to think a bit more independently, in a way that I don’t think I have done for a very, very long time.” Three years later, those seeds of artistic self-reliance have begun to flower in a bright, beautiful fashion. The 56-year-old Londoner is set to release her first album under her own name this month—a record that includes contributions from acclaimed songwriter Richard X, producer Paul Woolford and Norwegian duo Röyksopp. Goldfrapp sticks to what she does best, working in a future-pop mode intent on leaving listeners flush with desire and in a state of perpetual motion. This one’s gonna make you sweat. —Robert Ham

Charlotte Cornfield: Could Have Done Anything
Could Have Done Anything is Charlotte Cornfield’s fifth album and her clearest-eyed assemblage of songs yet. The first single, “You and Me,” gave us a glimpse into how the Canadian singer/songwriter has been watching the world over the last two years. It was an engrossing love song that made pit stops across the US, touching down in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and the Rocky Mountains. Second single “Cut and Dry” is such a perfect example of why Cornfield is one of our best living songwriters. She paints a beautiful portrait around the melancholy of leaving. The story she tells, it’s emotional and poised and alive. “Sometimes we think that we know everything but / Then get surprised when the whole world comes crashing down / It’s hard to picture the city without you around,” she sings atop a combination of breezy guitars, vocalizations and horns. “Cut and Dry” is akin to many of Cornfield’s songs: Her taking the smallest moments and finding everlasting beauty within the margins. It’s a perfect coming-of-age folk song. —Matt Mitchell

More notable May 12 releases: BC Camplight: The Last Rotation of Earth, Bruce Cockburn: O Sun O Moon, Cattle Decapitation: Terrasite, Charlie Hall: Invisible Ink, Chloe Gallardo: Defamator, Dropkick Murphys: Okemah Rising, Esban and the Witch: Hold Sacred, Eluvium: Whirring Marvels In) Consensus Reality, Michelle Malone: Fan Favorites, Vol. 1 Unplugged, Mike Gordon: Flying Games, Overmono: Good Lies, Parker McCollum: Never Enough, Parker Milsap: Wilderness Within You Pete Francis: PTRN SKY!, Savannah Conley: Playing the Part of You Is Me, Softee: Natural, The Rocket Summer: Shadowkasters

May 19

Brandy Clark: Brandy Clark
Brandy Clark has yet to become the household name that she should be, but, if you’re a country fan, you’ve definitely heard her music before. She’s long been a go-to songwriter for artists looking for the right combination of cheek and grit for their albums. In her time, she’s scored hits for The Band Perry (“Better Dig Two”) and Kacey Musgraves (“Follow Your Arrow”), and worked with legends (Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers) and fresh faces (Ashley McBryde, Jo Smith). The albums that Clark has released on her own are just as witty and earthy, qualities that she and producer Brandi Carlile have amplified on her forthcoming self-titled release. To date, two songs from the new LP have been released—the heartbreaking ballad “Buried” and the warm, funny tribute to her grandma Ruth (“She Smoked in the House”)—and both feel like instant classics. If Clark’s past work is anything to go by, the rest of the album will be just as great. —Robert Ham

One of the coolest and kookiest projects of the year, Temps’ PARTY GATOR PURGATORY is a finely curated collection of tracks from UK stand-up comedian James Acaster. Compiled out of the ashes of a now-shelved mockumentary, Acaster called upon friends to help him pull each all 10 compositions across the finish line. Featuring artists like NNAMDÏ, Shamir, Quelle Chris and Open Mike Eagle, PARTY GATOR PURGATORY is another stroke of brilliance from Acaster, who can’t help but continue to extend his own universe of creativity. —Matt Mitchell

More notable May 19 releases: Alex Lahey: The Answer Is Yes, Allie Crow Buckley: Utopian Fantasy, Aloud: Apollo 6, Dave Matthews Band: Walk Around the Moon, Graham Nash: Now, Hannah Jadagu: Aperture, Mandy, Indiana: i’ve seen a way, Marty Stuart: Altitude, Mega Bog: End Of Everything, Rich Aucoin: Synthetic: A Synth Odyssey – Season 2, Robert Ellis: Yesterday’s News, Tinariwen: Amatssou, Yes: Mirror to the Sky

May 26

Arlo Parks: My Soft Machine
After a year spent touring with Harry Styles, Clairo and Billie Eilish, among others, Arlo Parks’ sophomore album, My Soft Machine, the awaited follow-up to her Grammy-nominated debut Collapsed in Sunbeams, is finally on the horizon. With a title lifted from Joanna Hogg’s 2019 film The Souvenir, Parks is aiming to reckon with the highs and lows of her 20s. “This record is life through my lens, through my body—the mid-20’s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating P.T.S.D. and grief and self-sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity – what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body,” Parks said of My Soft Machine in a statement. Lead single “Weightless” is a fit of electronic joy that puts Parks’ soft vocals on a pedestal at the track’s forefront, a trend that continues across the singer-songwriter’s entire record. —Matt Mitchell

Sparks: The Girl is Crying in her Latte
After nearly six decades of making music together, Ron and Russell Mael, the brothers known collectively as Sparks, are showing no signs of slowing down nor losing their remarkable skills as pop songwriters. The duo has returned to Island Records, the label that released their ’70s masterworks Kimono My House and Propaganda, and are set to drop their 25th studio album, the delightfully titled The Girl is Crying in her Latte on May 26. What we’ve heard from this record so far isn’t much, only the title track has been released as yet. But that tidbit alone, a fuzzy bit of electropop about, yes, a young woman weeping into her coffee drink, is more than enough to raise our excitement to DEFCON 1. —Robert Ham

Water From Your Eyes: Everyone’s Crushed
Brooklyn experimental alt-rock outfit Water From Your Eyes are making their big Matador debut this month with the spell-binding LP Everyone’s Crushed. Under the leadership of Nate Amos and Rachel Brown, Water From Your Eyes are one of the brightest and coolest acts in America right now, and teaser singles “Barley” and “True Life” flip the foundations of pop music upside down. On Everyone’s Crushed, the duo mines through stories of personal and societal disruption through streamlined lyrics and fatalistic imagery. The album is a walking contradiction: arriving as beautiful and playful as it does damaged and chaotic. —Matt Mitchell

More notable May 26 releases: AJJ: Disposable Everything, Joe Perry: Sweetzerland Manifesto MKII, Matchbox Twenty: Where the Light Goes, Miya Folick: Roach, Simply Red: Time

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