Try as I might, it seemed impossible this month to stick to the 12 tracks The Monthly promises. The good news for you though is that there are 18 tracks this month, making it the largest The Monthly ever. Can’t promise there’ll be that many every month, but let’s make hay while the sun’s shining. Don’t worry – there’s been no lowering of quality with so many tracks, it’s just been an extraordinarily good month for music, with big guns returning, such as Eminem, some great ‘lost’ gems and some brand new acts. So I’ll shut up and let you get on with May’s The Monthly…
1. Tinted Windows – Kind Of A Girl Hot Off The Press
Tinted Windows are possibly the most super of supergroups, comprising as they do the guitarist from Smashing Pumpkins, the bassist from Fountains Of Wayne, the drummer from Cheap Trick and Taylor Hanson on vocals – yep, from Hanson. There’s something very cool about four older dudes deciding they’re going to make brilliant pop-rock and show the kids a thing or two.
2. Sick Muse – Metric Hot Off The Press
Sticking with the indie-pop, Metric hail from Canada and as you’ll hear, can write a good chorus. NME have been getting excited about them and this track comes from their recent album, Fantasies.
3. Dorchester Hotel – The Sounds Hot Off The Press
Oh my gosh, the guitar-pop just keeps on coming. And she’s singing about London – that’s where I live! Sweden’s The Sounds have been around since 1999 and there’s not really much more to say about them than that. This comes from new album Crossing The Rubicon.
4. Your Fucking Sunny Day – Lambchop New To Me
What little I thought I knew about Lambchop would not have included guessing that they wrote such wonderfully uplifting, breezy guitar pop, but here it is. Having recently unboxed about a million CDs I found a compilation for 2007’s End Of The Road festival from the now-defunct Plan B magazine, and this was a gem contained therein. It comes from Lambchop’s 1997 album Thriller.
5. Into The Night – Super Furry Animals New To Me
Similar to Lambchop, SFA are a band who’ve passed me by up to now, but getting to know them has been inevitable since their singer released the brilliant Neon Neon album last year. This is a really psychy, funky, dirty rock track from 2007’s Hey Venus! album.
6. I Want You To Know – Dinosaur Jr Hot Off The Press
I think I’ve always been a little bit scared of Dinosaur Jr, but this track might change all that. It gets off to a noisy start, and doesn’t scrimp on their trademark fuzz and feedback, but if you listen through that you’ll hear a song that borders on the anthemic. From their new album Farm.
7. The Schemers, The Scroungers And The Rats – The King Blues New To Me
The King Blues are a London band who wear their influences on their sleeve, all quiffs, tattoos, leather and denim. As well as the obvious Clash influences, they share something with modern acts like Jamie T and even The Gaslight Anthem. From last year’s Save The World, Get The Girl.
8. Lark On My Go-Kart – Asher Roth Hot Off The Press
Asher Roth may have made a mistake with his ubiquitous I Love College radio hit, because it’s easy to presume he’s no more than this year’s Afroman, but this cut has got a great vibe to it, which immediately stood out on his album, Asleep In The Bread Aisle.
9. Serpentine – Peaches Hot Off The Press
No-one does filthy, freaky, dirty electro pop like Toronto’s Peaches. She may have just turned 40, but as Prince, Madonna and Iggy prove, growing old doesn’t have to be done gracefully. From her new album, I Feel Cream.
10. Insane – Eminem Hot Off The Press
Okay, this is a gamble. If you’re offended by this then I can only apologise – I’ll do you a new clean version of this Monthly! The flipside is that this is about as funny, controversial, incendiary and provocative as music gets, so I think it’s worth including. Sick, perhaps. Brilliant, definitely.
11. Going Off – Toddla T Feat. Roots Manuva, Serocee & Shake Alletti Hot Off The Press
Sheffield’s Toddla T is bringing dancehall to the UK, and his debut album, Skanky Skanky, is a tour-de-force for his bouncy, dancey productions. As good a party album as you’ll get this summer.
12. Night Ridin’ – Theophilus London New To Me
I’ve been trying to track down This Charming Man, the debut album by Brooklyn’s brilliantly-monikered Theophilus London for some time, and I finally got it. His type of hip hop is very much of the nu-skool with Cool Kids and The Knux, all of whom owe a large debt to NERD/Neptunes.
13. Didn’t Cha Know – Erykah Badu New To Me
Speaking of influential hip hop producers, none seem to be so respected as Detroit’s J Dilla, who tragically died in 2006 of a rare blood disease at only 32. I kept seeing his name referenced so did some buying and was amazed at how many of his tracks I knew, from Busta to Common to Tribe to Pharcyde, but this Erykah track was kind of new to me, so got the nod for this month. Gorgeous.
14. At Last - The Dø Hot Off The Press
After hearing about The Dø a few months ago, it’s taken me a while to get round to debut album A Mouthful, but with the current excellence of European pop and indie (Eurovision notwithstanding), it’s no surprise that this Franco-Finnish boy/girl duo don’t disappoint. They’re easy on the eye too, the scoundrels.
15. The Wooden Chair – Jenny Wilson New To Me
Jenny Wilson comes from Sweden (there’s been a few of those this month!) but what I like about her is that she’s got a smooth edge on this track, almost R&B-esque. This comes from her second solo album, Hardships.
16. Don’t Look Back – Jackson C. Frank New To Me
The greatest 60s troubadour fellow you never heard of. Until a recent bout of coverage, Frank’s part in music lay largely untold, which is remarkable when you consider that Paul Simon produced his self titled debut in 1965, where this is lifted from. He had quite a life – fifteen class mates killed in a fire that hospitalised him for seven months, his first daughter dying of Cystic Fibrosis, mental health issues at an early age – all of which informed his music. Go and delve a bit deeper, please.
17. More Than This – Roxy Music New To Me
No doubt this will be familiar to many of you, and it is to me, in a distant childhood-memory kind of way. After putting the LP that this comes from on recently (1982’s Avalon – one of many I stole from my Dad), it was such a cool sounding record that the CD soon found its way into the collection, and then on to here.
18. Sea Within A Sea – The Horrors Hot Off The Press
And we finish with perhaps the most surprising inclusion for me. The Rough Trade staff have been talking up the new Horrors record, Primary Colours, for some time, and it certainly is a big step forward from 2007’s Strange House. Many reviewers have picked out the psychedelic influences in evidence but this, the album’s closing track, is more like Joy Division meets The Who, and if the first couple of minutes don’t do it for you, skip to the 3m30s mark where the whole thing comes alive.