New Music Playlist: May 2020

NM May 2020
Top row left to right: Alien Book Club, Olivia Awbrey, Maggie Gently, Hayley Williams, Grace Monaco; bottom row: Blue Venus, Sister Species, Floodwater Angel, Allergen, Greta Ruth

May was a heavy and difficult month, and as such, our May New Music Playlist has been pushed back quite a bit. This playlist contains a range of vibes, from soothing folk to extraterrestrial jazz punk, that can hopefully serve as a backdrop for reflection, healing, and action.

One of the albums that I haven’t been able to stop listening to lately has been Petals for Armor, the solo debut from Paramore’s Hayley Williams. The album is a clear departure from the angsty pop-punk of Paramore. On Petals for Armor, Williams embraces a blend of alternative pop that, like the album’s title, is both vulnerable and empowered. The three-part album traces Williams’ journey to finding self-acceptance and strength after an unhealthy relationship, beginning with quiet rage in the album opener “Simmer” that blooms into a powerful joy by the album’s end.

May was a great month for Twin Cities releases — we got debut EPs, new music videos, and concept albums. Singer-songwriter Greta Ruth released the serene new single and music video “Night Gets Cold.” With its meandering guitar harmonies and whispered vocals, the song bears similarity to the mysticism of Adriene Lenker’s solo work.

St. Paul hardcore band Blue Venus dropped their debut EP Papercut on May 22. For the EP’s brief and blistering 7 minutes and 19 seconds, Blue Venus don’t let their energy slip as they rip through guitar solos and scream-sung lyrics.

There are plenty of other great local releases that dropped in May, and we covered a few of them in-depth this past month. You can check out our conversation with Alien Book Club about their new EP And I’m Not Even Having Fun Anymore and our feature on Allergen’s debut release Honesty HourWe also chatted with Sister Species on the podcast about their latest album Light Exchanges, which came out at the end of May.

You can check out the full playlist which also includes songs from Québec artist Mirabelle’s dreamy pop album Late Bloomer, Floodwater Angel’s ethereal journey Oddities, Oddyseys, PELA’s chilled-out debut single “You Got Me” — and more — below:

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