Summer looms, gents. Patios and back porches. Cottages and campfires. Barbeques and back nines. In short, this is not the season for soaking up the heat — it’s the season for chilling out. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a mix of mellow May releases guaranteed to stick with you for months. Start musing.
Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin’ On (May 3, Arts & Crafts)
Canadian trio Timber Timbre deliver bluesy folk with an artistic twist. If that last bit has triggered your scepticism, fear not: no ambient noise, glockenspiel solos, or high-pitched whining vocals here. Instead, Creep On Creepin’ On conjures a dark, jazzy atmosphere, marked by occasional horns, simple bass lines, and songs structured around repetitive, staccato piano chords. More importantly, singer Taylor Kirk ties it all together with low, effortless vocals. Move aside, Mumford & Sons.
>>Choice track: “Black Water”
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi: Rome (May 16, EMI Music Canada)
When one of the world’s most celebrated producers ditches his day job making some of the best albums of the past year — The Black Keys’ Brothers and Broken Bells’ self-titled debut — to develop a passion project, you know you’re in for something special. Strange, too, but do we expect anything less from Danger Mouse [pictured, centre]? Rome is a collaboration between Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi that’s inspired by the soundtracks of spaghetti westerns. Famous friends Norah Jones and Jack White provide vocals for three songs apiece. The result: Quentin Tarantino should either take notes or call his lawyer.
>>Choice track: “Two Against One” (feat. Jack White)
Foster The People: Torches (May 23, Columbia Records)
Buzz bands come and go, and Foster The People is certainly off to a positive-enough start. The band’s looming debut LP, Torches, is one of the most highly anticipated indie albums of the year, following the splash FTP made a few months back with its self-titled EP, whose single, “Pumped Up Kicks,” performed unimaginably well on both Canadian and U.S. rock charts. The sound is an amalgam of pop hooks, prominent synths, and dance/maybe-just-nod-your-head-a-little drumbeats.
>>Choice track: “Pumped Up Kicks”
My Morning Jacket: Circuital (May 31, Maple Music/ATO)
It’s a safe-enough generalization to argue that the best albums take time. Three years between releases, My Morning Jacket return with Circuital at the end of this month. The Louisville, Kentucky rockers been sluggin’ away for six previous studio albums that veered from Neil Young to Brian Wilson to outer-space psychedelia, funk and beyond; outing number seven’s early leaks suggest that they’re as sharp and experimental as ever. The loudest band on this list, MMJ still sides with its roots, and keeps the songs anchored — sure, you’ll get a guitar solo or three, but face-melting isn’t exactly these boys’ goal.
>>Choice track: “Circuital”
Image courtesy of Frank W. Ockenfels.