The solstice hasn't hit yet, but we already have a very real candidate for song of the summer from Jamie xx and Young Thug. We also have great new songs from Canadian artists, two doses of acid rap, a would-be punk classic, and beautiful acoustic soul. Listen to the 10 best songs of May 2015 below and get ready for a hot June (we hope).
The song plays minimal and cool, it's bell shots pitch-bent and made woozy by the sun. It's all pulled together by a sample from The Persuasions' "Good Times." This is all-purpose summer music — the kinda tune that could handily travel from the beach to your car to the backyard BBQ party, on to the club, and again at the comedown.
Destroyer's first in four years blasts forth with Springsteenian zeal — saxophones blazing, piano keys not tickled, but spanked. It's motored by a similar sense of triumph. But Bejar is the anti-Springsteen. He isn't the blue-collar laureate; he's the soft body, the man of leisure, our Bacchus.
Toronto psych-soul up-and-comer (who honestly can't come up fast enough) Daniel Caesar has recorded a new EP, three-quarters of which are remade live-in-studio versions of his Praise Break EP. In her glowing Chart Attack review of that EP, Anupa Mistry called the production "refined, and almost suspiciously good." That might seem like something you wouldn't want to mess with, but these new, certified organic versions (plus the new track "Japanese Denim") emphasize another side of the young north Frank Ocean-ite.
Mac DeMarco has refined his laid-back wobbly-sincere guitar ballad sound to an instantly recognizable signature, which means his new jealous guy single sounds a bit Mac-by-numbers. And that's a great outline to trace...
The track is a lost classic, encircling the three or four year nexus in rock history when garage gave way to punk proper and its various tributaries (synth, post, etc.). His is a voice I've heard before, but can't quite place where. The names Wipers, Screamers, Buzzcocks, Sparks, and Devo come to mind — it's not that he owes anything to them, it's that he belongs among them.
"Day Fort" is a dark passage of experimental dance — a piece that reminds you that goth and industrial were birthed in decrepit basement and warehouse clubs in places like Berlin and London and Paris, growing at the margins, bubbling underground, where the most fun usually happens.
Farao was born in a 500-person mountain village in Ulnes, Norway and she’s the Scandinavian electronic folk hero we’ve needed for a while now (yes, that’s the sound of us all falling in love). “Hunter” grows patiently and blooms elegantly, like your first time planting a pretty little flower.
The psychedelic beat of “LSD” flows in and the sky opens up, brightens, and the clouds start changing colour. The latest from A$AP Rocky is patient, freeing, chromatic, and doesn’t invade your space — instead, it floats around you.
Set over a sample of Hiatus Kaiyote's soul jam "Fingerprints," Chance The Rapper drops off just 78 seconds of his characteristic goofball, whip smart, entirely effortless flow. Enough to remind you who's the best rapper out of Chicago right now.
"Took The Ghost To The Movies" starts with about 30 seconds of acoustic strum, suggesting maybe this solo turn will be a serious 180, but then the distorted wash of guitars kick to 11 and the dreamy shoegaze tones that were always hiding in Perfect Pussy's music get amplified. It's like a PP song slowed to half speed, and it turns out that sounds a lot like My Bloody Valentine.