The 15 Albums We’re Most Excited About in May

Featuring Eleanor Friedberger, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett, Wax Idols and more.

Music Lists
The 15 Albums We’re Most Excited About in May

Last month we upgraded our most anticipated albums list to 15 releases, and this month, we had to do it again; there are simply too many good albums on the horizon. May will deliver the latest from indie rock veterans like Eleanor Friedberger, Arctic Monkeys, Beach House, Parquet Courts (pictured above) and Iceage, but we’re also looking forward to some exciting debuts. Here are the albums to mark on your May calendar. (And check out our best April albums list right here.)


Eleanor Friedberger: Rebound
“In Between Stars” was our first look into Eleanor Friedberger’s Rebound, named for a seedy Athens nightclub the singer visited in 2017. The resulting single is dark and bouncing, a fun and bubbling departure from Friedberger’s last release, 2016’s New View. Rebound, inspired by Greece, reflects a time when Friedberger had “too much fun,” as she recently told Paste. —Loren DiBlasi

Iceage: Beyondless
We’ve heard four stellar singles from Iceage’s fourth studio album, Beyondless: “The Day the Music Dies,” “Pain Killer” featuring Sky Ferreira, “Take It All” and “Catch It.” “The Day the Music Dies” combines raunchy brass, frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s sassy lead vocals and driving keyboards into a theatrical, Rolling Stones-esque stomper with Rønnenfelt drowning in anxiety (“How can one kill an impulsion / When it’s still kicking and breathing”) and restlessness (“The future’s never starting / The present never ends”).—Lizzie Manno

Leon Bridges: Good Thing
The Texas upstart is on a crusade to bring R&B back to its roots one new song at a time. We’ve heard a few from his forthcoming sophomore album Good Thing, including floor-stomper “Bad Bad News; and the silky “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand; “Beyond” offers a neo-soul vibe with acoustic guitars and throwback percussion while adding the modern touch of a bass-heavy beat. Bridges’s soulful vocals feel at home on the production as he glides over the track, hitting every peak and valley. —Adreon Patterson

DJ Koze: Knock Knock
DJ Koze has the rare ability to make his rhythmic electronic canvases feel timeless the moment you hear them. The German producer’s eighth LP, Knock Knock, arrives on his own Pampa Records label and features vocalists like Róisín Murphy, Speech from Arrested Development (the band, not the show), Jose Gonzalez, Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner and more. Turn on the Murphy-featured groove “Illumination” on a Friday afternoon and you’ll ride into the weekend on cloud nine. —Adrian Spinelli

Cut Worms: Hollow Ground
Cut Worms is the nom de plume of songwriter Max Clarke, whose debut LP will seduce you right off the bat with its sparkling opening track, “How It Can Be.” With his intimate indie voice and facility for instantly memorable melodies and guitar lines, Clarke conjures a kind of garage-tested Everly Brothers, reminiscent of early Shins, with breezy pop ballads just tart enough to soundtrack lonesome summer days. Hollow Ground was recorded in the L.A. home studio of Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, and in New York with Jason Finkel at Gary’s Electric. Check out the animated video for “Don’t Want To Say Good-bye,” and prepare to hum it for the rest of the day. —Matthew Oshinsky

MAY 11

Parquet Courts: Wide Awake
Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts are the rock ‘n’ roll band we deserve in 2018, and Wide Awake is a major stylistic stride in the band’s growing discography. On the album’s title track, singer Andrew Savage’s decisive vocals guide a danceable beat in the spirit of David Byrne, with globally minded percussion and bells and whistles galore. Gritty bass lines from Sean Yeaton are crisp and prominent, alongside everything from Afro-beat rhythms to stoner-punk anthems. With production by Danger Mouse, this is some of the most intriguing rock we’ve heard thus far this year. —Adrian Spinelli

Beach House: 7
Unlike Beach House’s previous albums, 7 has no producer in the traditional sense. Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom (aka Peter Kember) was said to be a driving force behind the album, making sure it was protected against studio over-production and over-development. What we get is a more organic sound from the pop duo, highlighted by single “Dive,” which begins with a bright organ leading into Victoria Legrand’s soft vocals, slowly building into a dynamic climax that picks up with propulsive electric guitars. —Abdiel Vallejo-Lopez

Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
It’s been five long years since we heard from mysterious Monkeys, and though we know Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, their sixth album, arrives May 11, we’re still without a lead single—which, frankly, is a little refreshing in this era of releasing half an album before the thing even comes out. So far all we’ve gotten is the teaser trailer below and a peculiar tracklist, which boasts titles like “The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip,” “The Ultracheese” and “Batphone.” The snippet the’ve released sounds at once slinky and spacey. Read our feature on what the Arctic Monkeys’ discography tells us about their new record. —Matthew Oshinsky

MAY 16

Wax Idols: Happy Ending
Oakland’s Wax Idols are a post-punk/darkwave quartet that could easily have been plucked from mid-’90s indie lore. Frontwoman/songwriter Hether Fortune (formerly of White Lung) is a commanding presence on new songs like the Dylan Thomas-inspired lead single “Scream.” Happy Ending, their fourth full-length album (released on their own Etruscan Gold label) shows polish and substance from a band that has long belonged on your radar. —Adrian Spinelli

MAY 18
Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel
Courtney Barnett is officially prolific and this pleases us greatly. Following 2017’s Lotta Sea Lice, her collab album with Kurt Vile, Tell Me How You Really Feel is the proper follow-up to debut Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit (Paste’s No. 3 Album of 2015), and the three early singles have yielded some of Barnett’s best work to date. On the stellar “Need a Little Time,” Barnett’s always clever lyrics pair with a riffy, melodious hook and the song comes with a mundane-meets-supernatural video (below) from the Aussie star. Few songwriters have established themselves to be as consistent this quickly. —Adrian Spinelli

Ryley Walker: Deafman Glance
In a prolific young career that has seen him release solo recordings as well as collaborative albums, Ryley Walker has carved out a place for himself among America’s most promising acoustic guitar players. From album to album, he has showcased an elegant ease and deft touch with the American Primitive style of Jack Rose, the English Folk of Bert Jansch, and the more experimental modern leanings of Tortoise and Jim O’Rourke. The first couple singles from Deafman Glance (again produced by ex-Wilco multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach) blossom outward with open structures and fluttering accompaniment. Echoing flutes buoy the meandering “Telluride Speed,” while “Opposite Middle” takes a more urgent tack. —Matthew Oshinsky

Michael Rault: It’s a New Day Tonight
Looking a little like James Taylor if he hadn’t lost his hair, Michael Rault has quietly become one of the most consistent psychedelic songwriters of the past decade. His 2015 album Living Daylight was packed with flower-child anthems like “All Alone (On My Own)” and the soaring “Too All My Friends.” The follow-up, It’s a New Day Tonight, keeps the bar high with early singles like the jangly “I’ll Be There” and the slower “Sleep With Me,” which glides along on ‘70s and strings and sugary harmonies. —Matthew Oshinsky

Buck Meek: Buck Meek
The Big Thief guitarist and songwriter steps out on his own with a set of front-porch folk and country songs. Eschewing the twitchy energy he exudes in his main band, Meek relaxes here with a set of unhurried character-driven songs about runaways, diving-board heroes, gamblers and other misfits. Early singles “Ruby” and “Maybe” lilt and sway with a world-weary soul that recalls Bakersfield icons. “Cannonball” is bisected by a dirty slide-guitar solo but still never breaks its easy gait. It’s an album that quiet afternoons and rewards close listens. —Matthew Oshinsky

MAY 25

Chvrches: Love Is Dead
Love Is Dead marks the Scottish synth-pop trio’s third LP and first since 2015’s Every Open Eye. The new album was produced by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia) and will include previously released singles “Get Out” and “My Enemy,” which featured The National’s Matt Berninger (who also appeared in Chvrches’ “Get Out” visual). The Stephen Mac-produced “Miracle” may be their most overt radio pop song yet, with light production, EDM synths and percussion, and Lauren Mayberry’s sugary vocals asking for reciprocation or assurance of feelings from the subject of her romance. —Lizzie Manno

Deeper: Deeper
Chicago’s Deeper make wonky post-punk that’s elegantly packaged in bursting riffs, swirling rhythms, and introspective lyrics. They’ve fittingly supported bands like Omni and Protomartyr, and are now set to make their mark with their self-titled debut, out May 25 via Fire Talk Records. The album’s shimmering opening track, “Pink Showers,” is a beacon of hope in a dark world. According to the band, the song “was conceived through the grid lock of Chicago traffic and the ‘pursuit’ to make your monotonous life meaningful.” —Loren DiBlasi

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