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These days, it can feel like there’s always new music coming out. The internet has democratized not just the dissemination of music, but the mere creation of it. Music, of course, isn’t the only form of media in which overchoice is changing consumer decisions — one need look no further than Netflix and Hulu for that phenomenon — and May has an overwhelming number of new options available for music listeners.
Whether the return of already-influential musicians or the new artistic peaks of creators who have long inched towards remarkable works, these four albums among May’s seemingly countless releases are the most exciting. In chronological order:
Big Thief, U.F.O.F. (May 3 via 4AD)
Since 2016, Big Thief has churned out albums at a rapid pace, not to mention a solo album from frontwoman Adrianne Lenker. Two songs from that solo album appear revised on U.F.O.F., which the majority of critics are hailing as Big Thief’s best album yet. The album is also Big Thief’s first for the legendary independent record label 4AD. For a taste of U.F.O.F.’s effortless fusion of folk, rock, and even dream pop, check out singles “U.F.O.F.,” “Cattails,” and “Century.”
Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride (May 3 via Columbia)
At this point, Vampire Weekend is all but synonymous with late ‘00s and early ‘10s indie rock. Father of the Bride is the band’s first album since its 2013 masterpiece Modern Vampires of the City. It’s also the first Vampire Weekend album released since founding member Rostam Batmanglij departed the band in 2016, but critics are nevertheless loving it. For a sense of how Vampire Weekend’s sound has shifted following Batmanglij’s departure, listen to singles “2021,” “Big Blue,” “This Life,” “Harmony Hall,” “Sunflower,” and “Unbearably White.”
Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated (May 17 via Interscope)
Following the omnipresence of her early ‘10s single “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen stepped away from Top 40 radio. She’s since been releasing thoughtfully produced pop songs from which mainstream radio stations have shied away. Dedicated is her latest collection of such meticulously crafted but relatively niche songs, as heard on the album’s four singles “Party for One,” “Now That I Found You,” “No Drug Like Me,” and “Julien.”
Cate Le Bon, Reward (May 24 via Mexican Summer)
Over the course of the past decade, Cate Le Bon has operated at the margins of indie rock and folk music. Her cult fan base has consistently empowered her to work solely as a musician, allowing her to not compromise her off-center artistic vision for anyone or anything. However, her fifth album, Reward, might vastly expand her fan base beyond its current cult size. Its accessibility is unparalleled in Le Bon’s angular freak folk catalog, but her bizarre idiosyncracies nevertheless remain intact. Get to know Le Bon’s unusual take on folk and rock music via Reward’s three singles, “Daylight Matters,” “Home to You,” and “The Light.”
What May album releases are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!