Turn It Up: New Music Releases For May 2017

In looking over what is a very, very long list of albums that are coming out this month, one this is clear: summer concert season is on the way. May’s a great month because we’re getting geared up for all of the awesome tours to come. Let’s check out just a little sampling of what’s going to get our ears ringing this summer!

At the Drive-In – in-ter a-li-a

Release date: 5/5

The first thing I ever found out about the executive assistant of my company’s CEO is that she was a fan of At the Drive-In. I never would have expected it, but it opened up this whole new fascinating side of this very sweet professional lady. Who knew she would be into what wiki defines as a post-hardcore band?

For the first time in 17 years, At the Drive-In is releasing a studio album (2005’s compilation album doesn’t count – and it was still 12 years ago). No Jim Ward on this second reunion, but Keeley Davis has joined the group on guitar. They did things a little backward this time – the reunion tour was last year, and this came at the end of it. All the quotes seem to point to a good time with really happy musicians.

The first single, “Governed by Contagions,” is everything you’d want back from this band. And I couldn’t tell you all of the words to the latest single, “Hostage Stamps,” but there is something so deliciously nostalgic about this sound, even if my computer speakers are possibly responsible for just the right amount of 90’s distortion. The same can be said for the second single, “Incurably Innocent,” (okay, yeah, it’s more the speakers) but this one has an incredible beat moving it forward. Take me to this pit please.

Other 5/5 releases:

Blondie – Pollinator

Chris Stapleton – From a Room: Volume 1

Paramore – After Laughter

Release date: 5/12

Admit it – you squealed a little bit too when you found our Paramore dropped their first new single in a few years. I may be out of touch, but it took me completely by surprise. It wasn’t just the unexpected nature of the release – the sound? Totally different. Sure, Hayley Williams’ distinctive voice is there, but this has elements of reggae and techno that this bad was certainly not known for before. Granted, if you listen through the years, there’s an argument to be had this this was the trajectory.

The line-up updates: Zac is back on drums, but Josh and Jeremy are gone. That seemed to be important as we examine the new album, at least in the other articles I’ve read, so now you know. And knowing is half the battle. Wait, I just came across the descriptor of “80’s New Wave” for this new music. Okay, I can accept that classification (though does anyone else miss the days of pop-punk Paramore?).

“Told You So” was released at the beginning of May, and is very in line with this sound. We’re not getting a punk-ish Paramore back this go around, folks. I leave it to you to accept or deny this premise.

Other 5/12 releases:

Seether – Poison the Parish

Zac Brown Band – Welcome Home

 

Rascal Flatts – Back to Us

Release date: 5/19

This has got to be my top anticipated album of the month (faithful readers, all two of you, you know I always have one). “Yours If You Want It” came out the same week as “Castle On The Hill,” and I honestly could not tell you which one I listened to more that week. Rascal Flatts hits pop-country right once again with lists about love and happiness and incredible vocals to belt out.

The guys have smartly started leaking out a few tracks leading up to the release. “Back To Us,” the title track, is notably different from what I expected. I mean, when you name an album this, you sort of expect it to be a return to the band’s earlier musical roots. Now, for Rascal Flatts, that was much more twang and banjos – which I’d bet we’ll still hear at some point. But this song is a heart wrenching plea to come back to love the way two people once knew.

They can’t all be total winners, and “Hopin’ You Were Lookin’” might be the one on this album. It’s still fun and sweet and great to bop to, but it feels like filler. Have faith though – the fourth and final pre-release song, “Our Night to Shine” makes it better. This is why I love this band – they make the best music to drive around at night with the windows down in the summer and sing out loud to. I can’t wait to have another album’s worth to hit the road with.

Other 5/19 releases:

The Mountain Goats – Goths

Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth

Lana Del Rey – Lust for Life

Release date: 5/26

Someone needs to explain the Lana Del Rey obsession some people have. I just came across a Lana Del Rey Wiki site. I mean, I get the obscure, cool music, and I have yet to come across a song of hers that I don’t genuinely like, but a whole site? It’s just a rarity I feel like you don’t see for a lot of artists or bands.

Anywhos, “Love” gave us the first taste for her fifth album, and yet again, the music is mesmerizing. This actually does make me want to hear the whole album just on the virtues of this hauntingly beautiful track. If you can actually make someone hear what it is to be in love, then I guess you are actually doing it right.

“Lust for Life” is a duet with The Weeknd (another obsession I don’t completely understand), and obviously the title track. I love the idea of that title alone – that you can actually be so happy with your life and that passionate about it. This may not be a concept that I totally understand, but what an idea. And the musical telling of it, intertwined with metaphors that do explain that excitement of being alive, is all really fantastically put together. Damn, did I just slip into being a Lana Del Rey fan too? I don’t know for sure, but I will definitely give this album a shot to find out.

Other 5/26 releases:

New Order – NOMC15

Justin Townes Earle – Kids in the Street