May didn't care about your thirst for summer bangers. For the most part the month's finest tracks are sad, lonely, angry and/or ruminative. Listen to them and play out your post-BBQ depression. Here are the 20 best songs of May 2014.
"Palaceer Lazaro floats at the foot of your bed, delivering a bullet-pointed sermon for all your spiritual sins surrounded by yelping goblins on the beat. Then, absolution! With loops of plush chord clusters and zapping licks, the pleasant chat and coffee with the congregation after being convinced you're headed to hell."
"'I don't suffer fools gladly,' Al Spx threatens sweetly, the sturdiest structure in a weird forest of light-catching guitar and gentle horns. But she delivers on her words following a mid-song dropout, in a crash of 1000 ride cymbals and waves of haunted distortion.
"What makes it a great love song is that the chief conflict comes from herself. Her pain's source is almost incidental to the battles she's waging within, the ones she can't escape with a deleted phone number or a move to a different city."
"...a windowless van with an elaborate fantasy mural pulling up on the grimy garage of their last record Death Dreams."
"The pace is fairly sedentary, with G's gossamer vocals pulling against a mud of grubbiness impeding every widely-spaced acoustic strum and false-starting solo. Crucially, neither wins out, and the dreamily articulated tension carries the song."
"From sustained organ and piano chords grow an unlikely orchestra of horns, underwater guitars and twinkling synths, building up like stories without a book to contain them."
"Entering on the field recording of some damp and lonely rustbucket, we fade into quadruple-time kicks pushing out junky riddims and synths stained with breakup tears. But it's nowhere near neutered, not even in the middle's ambient Aphex Twin plateau."
"Thanks to the capes and dancing and a rattling beat, it's enough to keep Killa from becoming the Grumpy Cat of hip-hop."
"Its solos are tiny knives glinting from someone's belly, competing roars lashed together like siblings forced to work it out."
"...the non-album 7" is a bitter, belt-pressed beat wrenched from one of The Knife's electro conflagrations, with a headrush of synth chords and copeland owning her sadness, drifting just over the assault."
The band’s new For John EP drives their sound into lo-fi, contemplative (though stillsomewhat Pop as Fuck) territory, with hints of Spiritualized and Sloan. “John Farrell Buffalo” is its centrepiece, a musical eulogy. "
"It's trench warfare, with programmed drums the targeted precision strikes and layers of sludgy metal loops that stick in your ears like napalm."
"...touched with a lingering sense of doom that pours into the negative space between the jangly death dreams of the song's disparate sections."
"In a city full of punk music, Creep Highway distinguishes itself by being louder, faster, and stranger."
"Smatterings of Wilco and Sufjan Stevens are the threads in ten and half minutes of noise, whether it's a collection of sleigh bells urging you to "Just keep on walking," dappled tropics, or Beach Boy harmonies amid a Kinks jam session."
"It reminds me of the 'shaken-up versions' of the songs The Knife debuted at their live shows this year: grimy house music with an agenda."
"It works from the post-human dance throb of Co La, with mechanical sexual entreaties and sparse, spacious drums (that distorted kick really ratchets it up, though)."
"The next time you see a fish, just remember: they're the original boogie boarders."
"Wonky Jai Paul-ish distortion cradles her swelling keys and dance chart vocals like a kind giant, and together everything builds an emancipated air that's more ready to catch the Thailand sunrise than grovel."