From Lady Gaga to Eddie Vedder, it’s a big month for big bands putting out records. Herewith, May releases to download and roll with while gallivanting the globe.
Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (May 3)
The trio returns and returns to their roots too with a smorgasbord of rhythms and rhymes slathered in quintessential nerd boy beats. These old guys in the rap game still be keepin’ it real.
*Choice track: “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win (feat. Santigold)”
*Hear where: At a house party in Downtown LA or Miami.
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues (May 3)
Following up a critically-adored debut album with a critically-adored sophomore album is no job for the faint of heartfelt folk, but this Seattle band stands up to the challenge and churns out another 11-song stunner that surpass the former.
*Choice track: “The Shrine/An Argument”
*Hear where: Weaving along European country roads from wine region to wine region (like perfectly fermented grapes, the album is complex on the palate).
Lady Gaga, Born This Way (May 23)
Whether you want to or not, you’ll be getting a lot of Gaga in the coming months. You can’t beat her, so join her and learn every lyric so you can sing along whether in San Francisco or Singapore.
*Choice track: “Born This Way”
*Hear where: In a wall-to-wall New York City nightclub.
My Morning Jacket, Circuital (May 31)
Recorded in a church gymnasium and cut live to tape in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, the band’s sixth catalog of songs is set to audibly ooze spontaneity and familiarity.
*Choice track: “Circuital”
*Hear where: At an away-from-it-all destination, like Blanket Bay or Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, sitting outside with a glass of whiskey watching stars sparkle against a blue-black sky.
Eddie Vedder, Ukulele Songs (May 31)
The Pearl Jam frontman’s second solo album—his first was the soundtrack for the Krakauer film Into the Wild—is comprised of both covers and original tracks played on, you guessed it, ukulele. Guest vocalists include Cat Power’s Chan Marshall and The Frames’ Glen Hansard.
*Choice track: “Longing to Belong”
*Hear where: On a sunny Pacific Northwest beach with your hand clasped around a cold beer and feet dug into sand.
Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys (May 31)
For the group’s first album in three years all signs point to a slightly cheerier sound. Might have something to do with the fact that Ben Gibbard shares wedded bliss with sunshiny actress-cum-songstress Zooey Deschanel.
*Choice track: “You Are A Tourist”
*Hear where: Playing tourist in your own city, windows down, driving ‘round, playing it loud.
More: Architecture in Helsinki, Moment Bends (May 3), Stevie Nicks, In Your Dreams (May 3); Raphael Saadiq, Stone Rollin’ (May 10); Moby, Destroyed (May 17); Friendly Fires, Pala (May 24).