On May 18, Courtney Barnett released her second full-length album Tell Me How You Really Feel. Personally, this has been one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. I’ve been a fan of Barnett ever since discovering her rambling, narrative lyricism and rhythmically-driven guitar playing on The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas and her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Her sophomore album gives us a more intimate glimpse into Barnett’s world, as we learn about her frustrations and insecurities through her nonchalant narratives. This album is Barnett’s most vulnerable, and I think her most relatable. She weaves personal anecdotes with poeticism, baring intimate details while giving the listener room to form their own impressions.
Mitski gave us a glimpse of her upcoming album this month with the new single, “Geyser.” Earlier this month, Mitski joined Bob Boilen on an episode of the podcast All Songs Considered to talk about her new single and upcoming album, Be The Cowboy. On the podcast, she explained that the title of the album started out as a joke— a phrase that she used to say to herself: “Be the cowboy you want to see in the world.” Mitski shared an anecdote of watching a charismatic musician whom she admired perform live. After not hearing about this musician for a while, she thought to herself, “If I want to see it live, then I should just be that cowboy. I should just be the thing that I admire.” Be The Cowboy, is slated to come out this August.
Claire Cottrill, who produces music under the name Clairo, dropped her first record label release this month, Diary 001 EP. Clairo has been releasing self-produced music online since she was 13. Last August, she released a music video for the single “Pretty Girl,” which quickly went viral, racking up over 15 million views on YouTube. The Diary 001 EP showcases her signature synth-laden and drum machine-driven sound, filled with no-fuss vocals that use irony to convey the nuances of being a teenager in 2018.
Jenn Champion released two new singles from her upcoming album, Single Rider. She used to release music under the alias S. and is now turning in a new direction with Single Rider, using a wash of synthesizers and ’80s-inspired drum samples. My soundtrack for the month of May has been her most recent single, “Time to Regulate.” The song buzzes with layers of textured synths, with Jenn Champion’s voice floating above. In many ways, May is a month of endings and beginnings: spring giving way to summer, days getting longer, the school year coming to a close. For me, this song has been a reminder to take moments to reflect and use these changes as an opportunity for personal growth.
Check out these tracks, and the rest of May’s playlist using the player below.