5 Great Albums Out In May

Conor Oberst, the return of Ice Cube and more

Hamilton Leithauser, front man of The Walkmen, recorded this riveting album at LA’s Vox Studios, with collaborators including Richard Swift and Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij (just imagine the pictogram for that one). It’s throaty, rasping, crooning and melodious.

Now out June 2nd 
 

After an Oscar nomination for his work with Arcade Fire on Spike Jonze’s Her, Canadian musician Owen Pallett is back on his own with this epic album full of drama, synth squiggles, Hitchcock strings and vocals that blend the vulnerability of Beck with the showmanship of Rufus Wainwright.

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Out 12 May


A fabled hero of indie music, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk has been putting out his own material since the Nineties, and does so again this month. If you like his simpler stuff, with his wobbly voice and urgent guitars, this is a good time to get reacquainted.

Out 19 May


Four years in the making, the 10th album from rapper Ice Cube has emerged, and his diction is as clean as his lyrics are parental advisory. There’s politics and social commentary, but, as he says, it’s “classic Ice Cube”.

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Out 12 May


Hell yes, The Black Keys are going to open their eighth album with two minutes of earthy, expansive, bluesy rock’n’roll, all lumbering drums and wheeling guitar, with nary a vocal to be heard. Because that’s what you can do when you’re a behemoth of American rock, a band who can sate shoe-scuffing indie sensibilities while also flexing festival muscle – as they will do on the closing night of Glastonbury this year. It’s always surprising that two guys who seem to live life in deadpan mode – they got Mike Tyson to announce this record – can make music of such soulful seriousness; it’s always surprising that music of such soulful seriousness can be made by just two guys. On Turn Blue, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are aiming a little airier – perhaps the influence of producer Danger Mouse – but the hard riffs still appear when you need them.

Out 12 May

Photo credit: Butch Hogan

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