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The best songs of May 2023

The best songs of May 2023

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Nialler9’s favourite songs of the month, all in one place. See the Spotify playlist at the end of the piece.

Featuring Tensnake, Jessy Lanza, White Denim, Water From Your Eyes, Gurriers, Mandy, Indiana; Pale Blue, Bricknasty, Miya Folick, Nathan Micay, Eyes Of Others, Creep Show, Denzel Curry, Cornelius, Julio Bashmore & more


1.

Tensnake, Jessy Lanza

Keep it Secret

This one has been a grower – perfectly synergising with the arrival of summer, and the heralding of the festival season. Jessy Lanza in her solo work is able to bring the electronic heat, and has a history of fruitful collaborations of this kind of dance-ilk with the likes of Morgan Geist as The Galleria and Caribou.

‘Keep It Secret’ is a fizzy summer house banger with music by German producer Tensnake, a bright heart-on-sleeve declaration.


2.

Kieran Hebden & William Tyler

Darkness, Darkness

Producer Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and Nashville guitarist William Tyler teamed up for ‘Darkness, Darkness’ & ‘No Services’, a two-track teaser from an album to come.

The A-side ‘Darkness, Darkness’ runs 10 minutes with Hebden’s trademark percussive arrangements with a psych jazziness, matched with Tyler’s picked guitar and a sample of Gloria Loring’s 1969 version of of The Youngbloods’ ‘Darkness, Darkness’.

The 12″ single comes out via Sylvan Esso’s Pyschic Hotline singles imprint on June 30th officially.


3.

Gurriers

Sign Of The Times

As one of the highlights of The Great Escape in Brighton last month, Dublin band Gurriers followed up their success with the ‘Sign Of The Times’.

The Irish punk band’s second single shares a title only with Prince and Harry Styles if nothing else, the tune is a wiry punk track with rolling guitar and bass riffs and marquee vocals from Dan Hoff.

“’Sign of the Times’ examines the human obsession with violence, and how we have all become desensitised to the horrors we witness online through the growth of social media.”


4.

Mandy, Indiana

Drag [Crashed}

Manchester band Mandy, Indiana came through with one of May’s most intriguing albums, with I’ve seen a way.

The experimental noise quartet’s music is a reminiscent of the band Health, in that it’s music played by a rock band which often sounds nothing like it.

“We wanted to alter textures, create clashes, and craft those moments when what you’re expecting to happen never comes,” said producer/guitarist Scott Fair.

Adding to the discombobulation, is Valentine Caulfield’s French language vocals, whispered, growling, seeking and on ‘Drag [Crashed]’, addressing a lifetime of misogyny.

“‘Drag [Crashed]’ is a collection of things that were said to me or about me because I’m a woman. From middle-aged men saying I would ‘pop some fly buttons’ to my dad and that he would need a gun to fend off the boys when I was a literal toddler, to educators telling me my shoulders would ‘distract the boys’ and I therefore needed to cover myself, and romantic partners trying to control my body, ‘Drag’ is a personal exploration of what it means growing up a girl.”

Valentine Caulfield

5.

Bricknasty

ducks ina row

The Dublin band Bricknasty followed ‘Ina Crueler’, and ‘fashion’ with another track from the EP which was released June 7th on FAMM. ‘ducks ina row’ is indicative of the band’s melding styles folding in on each other on record, which is more explosive live, as seen at The Great Escape.

For further background into the band, read Fatboy’s Instagram post about growing up in the Ballymun Flats for context for the EP.


6.

Pale Blue

No Words

Ex Italians Do It Better producer Mike Simonetti, and and Elizabeth Wight (Silver Hands) teamed up originally in 2015 as Pale Blue. A followup album was released on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels in May and features this propulsive acid bleeping meets pop vocal song, that I’d file beside Fort Romeau in the mood category.


7.

John Parish, Aldous Harding

Three Hours

John Parish and Aldous Harding combine on a Nick Drake cover song from the forthcoming The Endless Coloured Ways: The Songs Of Nick Drake album.

Their kraut-rock take comes from the album out that also features Fontaines D.C covering ‘Cello Song’

The Endless Coloured Ways is a collection of songs by legendary folk singer/songwriter Nick Drake, performed and recorded by over 30 artists from a range of different backgrounds, genres, age groups and audiences. It’s released this July on Chrysalis.

Artists who were commissioned to offer up their own take on Drake’s work include Let’s Eat Grandma, Craig Armstrong feat. Self Esteem, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Staves, John Grant, Skullcrusher and Gia Margaret and more.


8.

Miya Folick

Shortstop

There’s something a bit special going on with what I’ve heard from Miya Folick’s second album Roach.

As heard on ‘Shortstop’ this is big pop music shot through with a healthy experimentalism that lifts the track into a different sphere.

‘Shortstop’ sounds tailormade for soundtracking Euphoria season 4.

Hear also: ‘Cockroach’


9.

Nathan Micay

It’s Recess Everywhere

Nineties vibes abound on ‘It’s Recess Everywhere’, the neon-electronic return for the producer, who had a breakthrough with his soundtrack for the TV show Industry.

The Copenhagen-based Canadian has a new album To The God Named Dream on LuckyMe out on August 4th. There’s a playful tone to the vocals and cut-up samples on this track combined with some banjo playing, which harks back to when the producer was named Bwana, and released an album of Akira edits.

“‘It’s Recess Everywhere’ was the first time I ever got to use my banjo. It turned into this exploration of childhood and that feeling of anxiety you can sometimes remember from even back then”


10.

Eyes Of Others

One, Twice, Thrice

Eyes Of Others is the work of Edinburgh producer John Bryden, and his album One, Twice, Thrice was released last month on Heavenly Recordings.

It’s 80s /90s outsider forgotten music vibe drew me in, with sounds of dub, baggy and electronic music of bygone eras. Introspective club music or ““Post-pub couldn’t get in the club music,” is how Bryden presents it.

“I was thinking where’s my spot?” Bryden says. “The music is later than a gig but it’s not full-on early morning club fare. It’s the in-between space where I was imagining where my music works.” 


11.

Creep Show

MoneyBack

A square-waved electro freak of a song from Creep Show’s second album-length collaboration from John Grant and Wrangler (featuring Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder).

That “you want your money back? I didn’t think so,” hook has not left my brain for weeks. Yawning Abyss is out on June 16th on Bella Union.


12.

The Bonk

Blueshirt Shuffle

Everything about this jam from The Bonk is a buzz, from the title to the artwork, to the song itself, a psych-rock rhythm track that was released ahead of the band’s second album, Greater Than or Equal to the Bonk last month.

The song doesn’t actually feature on the album so get on Bandcamp direct.

“The song was recited in a dream by Michael Davitt himself,” Phil Christie says on Insta. “The Blueshirt Shuffle is apolitically motivated bombastic pop song presented in the form of instructions for The Latest Dance Craze.”


13.

Denzel Curry

Endtroduction (Cold Blooded Soul Version)

From a seven-track LP of live recordings from Electric Lady studios, Denzel Curry and the Cold Blooded band. This track closing the set is a brassy riot, and Curry goes hard as he is likely to do.

Last year’s Melt My Eyez See Your Future was a great Denzel Curry album. I’d imagine there are more of those incoming.

He plays The Helix this June.

See Also


14.

White Denim

Bounce Back

Dip into the work of Texas rock band White Denim no matter what year and you’ll hear some fine retro classic rock stylings. Like this new one which sounds like Steely Dan, so you know I’m a fan.

The album the song features on – Relaxed – was due to be released in 2021 but wasn’t at the time. It’s on streaming now.


15.

Water From Your Eyes

Out There

The Brooklyn duo of Rachel Brown and Nate Amos’ Everyone’s Crushed album came out on Matador Records last month. I loved the angular guitar rock fizz of ‘True Life’ recently from it.

The band reminds me of Jockstrap, in terms of how it fizzes with an eclecticism, it’s not guitar music, not post-punk, not electronic music necessarily, but it could be filed alongside Dan Deacon and Gang Gang Dance.

‘Out There’ is an album highlight – erratic and polychromatic – lead by sonics and sounds rather than traditional song structure.


16.

Cornelius

Sparks

‘Sparks’ has that classic Cornelius special sauce, a fleeting glimpse of instrumental magic, that has characterised the Japanese experimental musician’s output for three decades.

It’s from a new album called Dream In Dream, released in June.

In July 2021, Keigo Oyamada aka Cornelius resigned from the role of composer of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics after reports of past statements from old interviews in the ’90s where the artist was accused of bullying fellow-students in school. Cornelius has since said he was misquoted in both interviews and should have corrected the quotes back when they came out.


17.

Jam City, Empress Of

Wild N Sweet


Hey, it’s one of my favourite voices in music collaborating with a producer back on the release buzz this year. Empress Of with a bright clubby production from Jam City. My kinda thing.

EP is out now on Mad Decent – Bandcamp.

Hear also: ‘Redd St. Turbulence’


18.

Sarah Crean

What Do I Know?

We’ve featured two songs from the emerging singer-songwriter Sarah Crean, including one that initially caught my attention ‘2AM’, along with ‘You Have No Idea’.

‘What Do I Know?’ is the Dublin dreamy indie songwriter’s third, produced by Sarah alongside Adam O’Leary and Gabe Goodman (Del Water Gap, Maggie Rogers).

“‘What Do I Know?’ is a satirical take on a toxic relationship breaking down. The song was written a few years after the time in which it’s set – which means I was able to approach it from a satirical angle. I think if it had been written during the period it took place, it would have been a much darker take…”


19.

Julio Bashmore

Bubblin’

For his first tune in 8 years, Julio Bashmore brings a discombobulating repeating sample (that to these ears sound like Rosalia’s ‘A Pale’) and work it into some acidy bloodied guts.


20.

Bell X1

The Lobster

From Bell X1’s new album Merciful Hour, ‘The Lobster’ is a song I remembered the band playing from their Other Voices Christmas set in the Guinness Storehouse in 2021.

It’s the strand of Bell X1 that has some of that fizzy funny Talking Heads energy and lyricism baked in.



Every week, the Nialler9 Spotify Weekly Playlist is updated with new music, and in this corner, we share the playlist and highlight some some select songs from the list below.

Want access to the archived weekly playlists too? Support Nialler9 on Patreon.

See the homepage for all Spotify playlists: New Music | Irish | Monthly



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