Entertainment, News, Review

Music Picks of the Month: May

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By Jack Holmes

If you’ve been preoccuppied with exams, deadlines and generally pulling out your own hair and crying into a revision book lately, you might not have had time to keep up with the latest album releases. Never fear as we’ve collected the top picks from the last month, complete taster track and a little background. We’re nice like that.

Catfish and the Bottlemen – ‘Ride’

As students you probably remember still being in school when the Arctic Monkeys introduced the world to the idea of “everyday tales”, exhibited through catchy indie tracks. It’s not a sound that’s gone out of fashion either, even if they themselves have since moved into the world of indie synth. Luckily there’s always bands willing to fill the void with their own take, and Catfish and the Bottlemen prove they’re up the challenge of becoming this generation’s staple indie artist for us all to connect, associate and enjoy emotional breakdowns with. From racing to catch a girl on her cigarette break in ‘Soundcheck’, love trouble in ‘Glasgow’ and the genuinely heart wrenching ‘7’, it’s anthemic in every sense of the word. ‘Ride’ is perhaps a little more hit and miss than die-hard fans may have expected following 2014’s Balcony, but if you’re looking for a handful of tracks to fall in love with, and to, ‘Ride’ is going to be your go to for this month. In all honesty the singles will probably follow you well in June and beyond.

Flume – ‘Skin’

I have no issue with Calvin Harris, but after a decade of complete domination of the electronic dance music scene, it’s about damn time someone else stepped up to the plate. This month Flume, also known as Harley Streton, made another gargantuan stride in his career with his follow up to 2012’s self-titled debut. Appealing to wide range of electronic music fans, ‘Skin’ features appearances from Tove Lo, Vince Staples, Kucka and more, moving between borderline indie synth and foot stamping club anthems with apparent ease. Riding the wave of distortion orientated electro begun by the last 10 years of dubstep experimentation, now is the perfect time for the 24 year old Australian to focus on the music, while the rest of the dance crowd concentrates on the celebrity lifestyles of fame. (Looking at you again Mr Harris)

The Holy Fuck – ‘Congrats’

The Holy Fuck return with bruised synth sounds and crackling reverbs on their first album since 2010’s ‘Latin’. It’s clear that in those six years, the group have experimented with all manners of sound, not just structurally, but in the way their sound is created. Laser guns and stray female vocals slide around expertly crafted synth riffs, giving the album an overall artistic feel. Although tracks like ‘Neon Dad’ might not exactly find the mark, it’s great to see a classic artist continuing to experiment where others would have slumped into a repetitive write and release rhythm.

PUP – ‘The Dream is Over’

Self loathing lyrics – check. Furious riffs – check. A whole lotta of gang vocals – check. Well it must be the new PUP album. Coming off the back of their huge self titled debut, PUP were one of the new wave of Canadian punks that conquered the global scene for years. With their fellow Canadians follow ups largely following short, there was a slight hesitance to expect another earth shattering album of anthems for a second time running. Surprisingly PUP have succeeded where their kinsman have failed, releasing an immensely catchy follow up. Moving from their staple unrelenting sound to a catchier, pop punk friendly tone is a brave move and rarely pays off, but PUP’s knack for catchy choruses and their unrelenting frenzy of sound shatter any ideas that they might be setting off down the sell out route.

Summer Cannibals – ‘Full of It’

When a band signs to the infamous Kill Rock Star Records label it’s best to give them a listen. The label which rose to prominence during the 90’s Riot Grrrl movement around Olympia continues to push raw grunge and punk sounds into the ears of the masses and Summer Cannibals are a welcome addition. Label president Portia Sabin explained that the band take Kill Rock Stars “back to our roots,” and listening to the album it’s easy to hear why. Joining the likes of Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Nirvana, Kill Rock Stars add some new raw grungy talent to add to their already historic list of talent.

Notable mentions:

Kristin Kontrol – X-Communicate (New addition to the Sub-Pop label)

Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman (X-Rated, glass shattering pop at it’s best)

Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (If you’re feeling a little grumpy with how those exams went)

Did we miss something? Want to have your say on any recent releases? Get in touch at @Holmesblogs and @HumanityHallows

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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