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The 20 best songs of May

The 20 best songs of May

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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: Curtisy, Clairo, Chameleon, Billie Eilish, Villagers, Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross, Negro Impacto, Koreless, Papa Romeo, Niamh Regan, SOAK, Kawaii Hoe, Charli XCX, Porij and more.


1.

Curtisy

Landmine!

Curtisy dropped one of the best Irish rap albums of the year in May with his debut What Was The Question.

I wrote about it in more detail here, but ‘Landmine!’ is worthy of inclusion on the songs list.

Curtisy on the Jobstown spots that influenced his new album What Was The Question

2.

Charli XCX

360

Charli is in her club pop brat bop era.

Also loving the The 360 remix with Robyn and Yung Lean.

3.

Kawaii Hoe

Colours Everywhere

I wrote about Irish hyperpop artist Kawaii Hoe and their notable songs to date from a short six-track release Dream On.

‘Colours Everywhere’ is a catchy slice of ASMR electronic pop from the enigmatic new artist.

4.

Carlos Danger, Curtisy, Smokey

Roma Chipper Loughlinstown

From the recent hip-hop mixtape from Rory Sweeney (aka Carlos Danger) – Irish Hash Mafia, which serves as “a celebration of Irish rap from Belfast, to Mullingar, to Tallaght and beyond.”

Along with tracks featuring E The Artist, Owin, Ahmed, With Love; Yeire13, Lonely Chap and more, ‘Roma Chipper Loughlinstown’ features Curtisy and Smokey on a beat that closely resembles MF DOOM’s ‘One Beer‘.

“Irish Hash Mafia mixtape is a love letter to the DIY sound and ethos of 90s Southern Hip Hop, as well as a time capsule of the left field DIY sounds being explored by the Irish underground. Myself and a lot of the artists here are starting to get caught up in the cogs of the music industry and I think its important to put out this mixtape as an archive of the free spirited sounds we’ve been exploring together over the past 2-3 years”

5.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Challengers – Match Point

From the horniest sports threesome movie of all-time, the Challengers score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross eschews their usual light touch in favour of hedonistic rave tunes, in a way that reminds me of the Dust Brothers’ score for Fight Club.

The ‘Challengers’ track is a hi-octane motif in the movie.

6.

Niamh Regan, SOAK

Record

While it’s technically a bonus track from the Galway singer-songwriter’s latest album Come As You Are, ‘Record’ featuring Bridie Monds Watson aka SOAK) encapsulates the change in sound that the artist has gone through.

It’s a breather of a song, written after the album was finished, with Regan reconnecting with someone on the outside of the album process with SOAK singing the second verse on the theme, and the song building to a full-band and vocal denouement that offers an extra release at the end of the “record”.

7.

Sarah Crean

Compliments Strike

Irish singer-songwriter Sarah Crean continues to push her music in larger directions, with ‘Compliment Strike’ displaying earworm pop melodies.

“’Compliment Strike’ is a song revolving around how at one point I felt like a ‘’product’’ and not a person. I was losing sleep over it and being eaten alive by this urge to be perfect for the enjoyment of those around me. The day I wrote it I was in LA and had a session pencilled in, but I got quite a vile and graphic hate comment about my physical appearance the morning of. It really threw me for a loop, mainly because of how much it sat with me and how I couldn’t shake it. I went to the session and the only way I could actually shake it was by writing about it and this song came to be. It’s about me taking the power back. The song was spurred on by a hate comment but it goes so much deeper than that. I had spent the year before that allowing people in my life to ridicule the way I carry myself, the way I dress, the choices I make.  And I think that day I just said enough is enough.”

8.

Papa Romeo

Chicken Town

The now London-based Dublin five-piece Papa Romeo’s 28-minute album Late Night Load Out builds on the band’s single output to date since 2021, with a collection of music that melds indie, jazz and rock styles into one chillwavey package, that is a perfect soundtrack for a summery evening.

‘Chicken Town’ is one of the album tracks that followed recent singles that stuck with me, a dreamy yet driven post-punk-flecked track.

9.

Stella And The Dreaming

A short ballad for frankie and everything we shared (in E flat)

I’ve liked every Stella And The Dreaming song so far, and here’s the hat-trick. ‘A short ballad for frankie and everything we shared (in E flat)’ is pretty self-descriptive but Stella makes it sound easy to write, record and single songs this good.

Spotify / Insta

10.

Villagers

Keepsake

A highlight from the sixth Villagers album That Golden Time which was released last month. ‘Keepsake’ is track six of ten on the record, and is a lovely textured floaty gear shift on the album, and is a fresh sound for Conor O’Brien, over 15 years into his career.

Villagers for Trinity Summer Series in Dublin

11.

Billie Eilish

Lunch

The earworm lead single from Billie Eilish’s third album Hit Me Hard and Soft, marks a softening for the artist, while still keeping the interesting sonics that made her name.

Billie Eilish for Dublin shows in 2025

12.

Chameleon

I Never Knew You Well

There’s a James Blake vibe to this song from Irish singer and producer Chameleon.

Taken from the Call Me Twice Pt. 1 EP (out 11th July), the track spins some edifying synth lines into a delicate vocal that recalls serpentwithfeet in its undulating feeling.

chameleon plays Dublin’s Workman’s Cellar on 17th July.

Everybody’s got secrets. We’re all living a double life. ‘I Never Knew You Well’ puts our hidden desires, fears and anxieties under the microscope. This song has been in the works for nearly 3 years, and I kept coming back to it for its awkwardness and its freakish groove as its beaten production limps onward to the noise of the kick/snare conversation. To me, this song represents the tired, yet determined cry of someone at the end of their tether. I was heavily inspired by the production of James Blake, the vocal delivery of Thom Yorke and the theatrical extravagance of Childish Gambino in the Redbone era. This song has let me explore a slightly more experimental and electronic sound which I hope to incorporate more in the future”.

13.

Clairo

Sexy To Someone

Clairo’s latest recalls the suave sunny pop of Natalie Prass’ ‘Short Court Style’.

It’s taken from the forthcoming third album Charm, out July 12th, which was co-produced and made in analogue fashion by Clairo and Leon Michels (of The Dap-Kings and El Michels Affair) so expect a bit more jazz, psych-folk and soul to come on the record which has references including Harry Nilsson and Blossom Dearie.

It’s Clairo’s first album since 2021’s Sling.

14.

Negro Impacto

Fangirl

The return of Chi-Chi and Strangelove’s Negro Impacto, the Dundalk duo who have impressed us so much with so few songs since lockdown.

‘Fangirl’ is a slow jam that leans on smooth soft synth grooves and Chi-Chi honey-dropped Erykah Badu-esque vocals.

15.

Macklemore

Hind’s Hall

I want a ceasefire, fuck a response from Drake

It’s so hard to write a relevant song about what’s going on in the world, right now and many have been trying in the months since Israel started killing thousands of people in Gaza, turning a revenge into a unhinged genocide.

But Macklemore really did it.

He took the US student protests of recent months as the starting point for a rallying call for a ceasefire and espousing on the obvious hypocrisy of Western powers in response to the ongoing horrific treatment of Palestinians.

16.

Anna Prior

Up2U

Metronomy’s drummer and producer Anna Prior brings some ’90s electronic shade on a track from the forthcoming EP Almost Love, released on June 13th via House Anxiety.

“This song is about my own indecisions. I feel like it’s the phrase most often said to me by my friends and loved ones. It serves as a reminder that my life is mine and I can live it how I choose, it serves to stop me getting hung up on decisions and really take ownership of my life.”

‘Up2U’ was a collaboration with PPJ – trio Páula, Povoa and Jerge who have worked previously with the likes of Christine and the Queens and Myd – as well as James Greenwood (AKA Ghost Culture) whom the Metronomy drummer has worked with across the Almost Love EP (previous credits include Dan Avery, Kelly Lee Owens, HAAi and Alison Goldfrapp). Lisbon based producer Moullinex also contributed to the EP.

17

Koreless

Seven

The return of Koreless with his first tune in two years is, this weird and wonky little tune on Young, a track that is sounds like eerie minimalism that could be used to maximal dancefloor effect.

Koreless has produced a lot of FKA Twigs forthcoming album, and she has called him the “guiding light” of what’s to come.

18.

Porij

Marmite

Manchester band Porij released their debut album Teething, and along with ‘Ghost’, ‘Marmite’ is the on-repeat song that hasn’t left me since.

You don’t stand a fucking chance.

19.

John Cale

Shark-Shark

The elder Welsh legend John Cale is back with some guitar fuzz on the energetic track ‘Shark-Shark’, a song from his forthcoming album POPtical Illusion, out June 14th on Domino.

“Sometimes you write a song purely for a mood. Shark-Shark’ has two versions – both a nod to finding humour in music. When you’re feeling too much of the real world, the best diversion is something that puts a grin on your face.”

20.

Sofia D’Angelo

Jane Goodall

New York artist Sofia D’Angelo (also of six-piece band MICHELLE) drops a song titled after the noted chimpanzee expert, that channels the breezy indie pop of Maggie Rogers.



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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