We run through the ten best albums in May according to PlayGround: the list starts out with Sistema’s solo debut and ends with the album that, so far, has aroused the greatest passion this year. If you don’t know who we’re talking about, come in and check out our top ten.
Like every month, we have organised the material reviewed over the last few weeks to classify the albums released in May in order of preference. So in the opinion of the PlayGround team, these are the ten LPs that stand out from the rest.
10. Sistema: “Possible Sounds Of Möbius” (Natura Sonoris)
In his debut album, experienced Barcelona producer Sistema takes us on a tour of his panoramic musical vision in what has turned out to be one of the most absorbing, inspired works of Spanish electronic music.
9. Sigur Rós: “Valtari” (XL Recordings)
The pop songs have disappeared and the euphoria has dissipated; in their new album, Sigur Rós have returned (in part) to their original essence and written an album with more content, ambient and melancholic. A reflection on the outcome of Europe’s decadence? Maybe so, or maybe it’s much more than that.
8. Laurel Halo: “Quarantine” (Hyperdub)
Having detached herself from most of the dreamy pop and dance beats that characterised her first EPs, Laurel Halo has put out an asphyxiating debut album that reflects on the lack of communication and loneliness in the contemporary world.
7. Killer Mike: “R.A.P. Music” (Williams Street)
Atlanta rapper Killer Mike hasn’t put out a political album, but it is a highly emotional, conceptual social commentary. An album about the family, the state, and life in the United States, with production by El-P. Solid as a rock.
6. Saint Etienne: “Words & Music By Saint Etienne” (Heavenly-Universal)
Saint Etienne have come back through the front door, with their best album since the far-off “Tiger Bay”. Their secret? They love pop as a way of life, adore a variety of music, have fun and choose intelligence; putting together an adorable collection of songs that will stay with us forever.
5. Squarepusher: “Ufabulum” (Warp)
Squarepusher is back, big-time: without jazz, without slow tempos, without irritating bass solos, just high-voltage IDM, complex, schizoid rhythms, playful melodies and an absurd velocity. Just what we wanted.
4. Daughn Gibson: “All Hell” (White Denim)
Like a cross between Nick Drake and Burial in the heart of modern America: this is what Daughn Gibson’s surprising debut sounds like. The former trucker is a fan of loops and ghosts, and manages to combine ambient and folk in an unexpected way.
3. Shackleton: “Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs” (Woe To The Septic Heart!)
A spectacular display of Shackleton’s skills at the height of his maturity. This double album is made up of a rhythmic part - that connects post-dubstep with drum’n’bass and house - and a second ambient volume, which is toxic and pessimistic.
2. KA: “Grief Pedigree” (Iron Works Records)
New York is once again a dirty, violent, dangerous city, in the raw, realistic rhymes of rapper KA and in his beats— slow, harsh, solid rhythms that serve as a support for a lyrical trip through hell. The best hip hop album of the year? It smells like it.
1. Beach House: “Bloom” (Bella Union)
Somewhere between luxurious psychedelics, restless dream-pop and translucent shoegaze, “Bloom” gains in impact, liveliness, and sensibility over its already-exultant predecessor. If the Baltimore group’s songs were planets in “Teen Dream”, in “Bloom” they are real galaxies. A real masterpiece.