This Month's Best New Albums: May 2013

  • Publish Date: May 30, 2013
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments

The best albums released this month...

Here are the best new studio albums released in May (minimum 7 reviews):

Random Access Memories 87 (Columbia)
by Daft Punk

"It's a headphones album in an age of radio singles; a bravura live performance that stands out against pro forma knob-twiddling; a jazzy disco attack on the basic house beat; a full collaboration at a time when the superstar DJ stands alone. It's also quite moving; melancholy runs through every song."

— Entertainment Weekly | More reviews...

Score one for the robots. The beloved (but far from prolific) French duo dropped their best-reviewed album this month, in the process setting Spotify streaming records and scoring their first Billboard #1 album. Daft Punk's first proper studio album in eight years, Random Access Memories features collaborations with The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, legendary producer Giorgio Moroder, singer-songwriter Paul Williams, Animal Collective's Panda Bear, house producer Todd Edwards, and Chilly Gonzales.

Also by this artist:
Alive 2007 2007 78
Discovery 2001 74
Tron: Legacy OST 2010 71
Tron: Legacy Reconfigured 2011 59
Human After All 2005 57

Annie Up 87 (RCA Nashville)
by Pistol Annies

"Their switchblade-sharp vision incorporates acute observational powers about the human condition and savvy compositional skills that come together in songs that are piercingly honest, funny and sometimes both."

— Los Angeles Times | More reviews...

Pistol Annies are the country music trio of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley, and Annie Up, their second album, is just as fun as the first, according to critics.

Also by this artist:
Hell On Heels 2011 84

Once I Was an Eagle 86 (Ribbon Music)
by Laura Marling

"Both as a songwriter and as a performer, Laura Marling has never soared so majestically."

— American Songwriter | More reviews...

Mature beyond her 23 years, British singer-songwriter Laura Marling (a former member of the band Noah and the Whale) has already been nominated for two Mercury Music Prizes, and could score another for her latest critically acclaimed release. The atypically long, 16-track Eagle was produced by Ethan Johns and is earning nothing but acclaim from reviewers; expect to see this one showing up on plenty of year-end top-10 lists.

Also by this artist:
A Creature I Don't Know 2011 82
I Speak Because I Can 2010 81
Alas, I Cannot Swim 2008 73

Legacy 86 (Planet Mu)
by RP Boo

"Few truly distinctive examples of footwork have found their into the world lately, but RP Boo's LP goes a long way towards revealing the potential diversity and immensity of the genre."

— XLR8R | More reviews...

Arguably the leader of the Chicago street dance movement known as "footwork," RP Boo (real name: Kavain Space) offers a debut album filled with tricky, high-BPM experiments that should still thrill those of us who have two left feet.

MCII 86 (Merge)
by Mikal Cronin

"MCII hits you with the immediacy of a record that you're listening to for the first time but feel like you've already heard a thousand times and yet still aren't bored of."

— Uncut | More reviews...

San Francisco-based indie pop artist Mikal Cronin makes his Merge Records debut with this second album. Cronin has toured and recorded with Ty Segall, who returns the favor by guesting on MCII.

Also by this artist:
Mikal Cronin 2011 81

Modern Vampires of the City 84 (XL Recordings)
by Vampire Weekend

"This is a truly magnificent record, and I think it's going to end up being the album for which we remember Vampire Weekend."

— Absolute Punk | More reviews...

It is becoming increasingly clear that Vampire Weekend's early success was no fluke; the young New York-based indie rockers are scoring their best reviews yet (from critics and users alike) for this third album. Modern Vampires was co-produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, marking the first time the band has worked with an outside producer. Don't worry; the band is just as unique as ever.

Also by this artist:
Vampire Weekend 2008 82
Contra 2010 81

Trouble Will Find Me 84 (4AD)
by The National

"Like the rest of the National catalog, Trouble Will Find Me is subtly insinuating; at first it seems almost free of hooks, then six listens later it's difficult to get it unstuck."

— A.V. Club | More reviews...

Trouble Will Find Me is pretty much business as usual for The National, which means that while the new album lacks the innovation necessary to push it into the stratosphere, it's simply another strong release for a band that has been operating at a high level for nearly a decade. St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, and Sharon Van Etten guest.

Also by this artist:
Boxer 2007 86
High Violet 2010 85
Alligator 2005 82
Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers 2003 78

One Of Us Is The Killer 84 (Sumerian Records)
by The Dillinger Escape Plan

"This shift toward playing to the listener's gut rather than head gives the Dillinger Escape Plan a newfound level of accessibility without diminishing the impact of their punishing sound."

— All Music Guide | More reviews...

The fifth album from math rockers Dillinger Escape Plan is another critically lauded release, even as it takes the band into less brainy, more brawny territory.

Also by this artist:
Ire Works 2007 84
Option Paralysis 2010 82
Miss Machine 2004 80

American Kid 84 (New West)
by Patty Griffin

"If it can be said that Griffin has been toiling in the shadow of Emmylou Harris, then American Kid is the long-overdue moment that puts the full range of her talent on display."

— Exclaim | More reviews...

The seventh studio album from the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is intended as a tribute to her late father; the result is stripped-down, cohesive, and moving.

Also by this artist:
Children Running Through 2007 87
Downtown Church 2010 79

Ultraviolet 83 (Season of Mist)
by Kylesa

"In the end, Ultraviolet may not be the best metal album of 2013, but it's definitely the 2013 metal album you'd most be a fool to ignore."

— Paste | More reviews...

Savannah, Georgia sludge metal band Kylesa are known for their unusual time signatures and dual-drummer attack. Ultraviolet, their latest, expands on the more psychedelic approach of Spiral Shadow, with the result being simultaneously darker and more accessible.

Also by this artist:
Spiral Shadow 2010 85
Static Tensions 2009 79
From the Vaults, Vol. 1 2012 71

Pale Green Ghosts 82 (Partisan)
by John Grant

"A genuinely remarkable album: self-obsessed but completely compelling, profoundly discomforting but beautiful, lost in its own fathomless personal misery, but warm, funny and wise. It shouldn't work, but it does."

— The Guardian | More reviews...

Former Czars frontman John Grant returns with his second solo album, recorded in Iceland with Biggi Veira of Gusgus. The new album ditches its predecessor's 1970s folk influences for a sound closer to 1980s electro, but the result is the same: terrific reviews. Sinead O'Connor guests.

More well-reviewed May albums

Album Label Metascore
Silence Yourself by Savages Matador 81
Mind Control by Uncle Acid and the DeadbeatsMetal Blade81
Some Say I So I Say Light by GhostpoetPlay It Again Sam81
Cold Spring Fault Less Youth by Mount KimbieWarp80
Monomania by Deerhunter4AD80
Hokey Fright by The UncludedRhymesayers Entertainment80
Nightmare Ending by EluviumTemporary Residence80
Bright Sunny South by Sam AmidonNonesuch80
Clarietta by Charlie Boyer & The VoyeursHeavenly Recordings79
Impersonator by Majical Cloudz Matador 78
Wrote a Song for Everyone by John Fogerty Vanguard 78
Obsidian by BathsAnticon78
Drifters/Love Is the Devil by Dirty Beaches Zoo 77
Land of CanAan by Marques ToliverBella Union76
The Child of Lov by The Child of Lov Double Six 76
Strange Pleasures by Still CornersSub Pop75
No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers by Vår Sacred Bones75
Go Easy by Blank RealmFire Records75
Avoid these:
Excuse My French by French Montana Bad Boy 56

The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). All scores are from May 30, 2013.

What do you think?

What new albums or songs are in heavy rotation on your MP3 player? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (4)

  • twewy2010  

    RAM is a grower, but it's definitely an excellent album. Modern Vampires is my favorite of the year.

  • pkindieboy  

    trouble will find me is my favorite of this month, maybe of the year. i should live in salt is very good.

  • Nedloh94  

    Trouble Will Find Me

  • Nedloh94  

    Sorry. I meant to put a heart next to Trouble Will Find Me, 'cause I love it so much. 3

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