WDIY's Top 10 Albums of May 2023
Summertime is right around the corner, as well as the halfway mark for the year, but before we kick off the season, let's take a look at what was on repeat at WDIY for May! Some old favorites remain on the list from last month along with some new additions, so check out what was the soundtrack to everyone's spring.
If you want to hear your personal favorites, or if you have a new hit you'd like to see on one of our personal top 10 charts, feel free to call WDIY's studio line with a request at 610-694-8100 x1 or leave your picks on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages to tell us what songs and albums you want us to play.
The New Pornographers
Continue as a Guest
January 9, 2023
Continue as a Guest is this Canadian indie rock band’s ninth studio album and, as a shock to no one, another one recorded during the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic. The band ring leader and album producer A.C Newman worked virtually with his fellow bandmates, relying on them recording in other studios and rarely working together in person. Due to the nature of their workflow, this is the first release by The New Pornographers to feature outside songwriters, such as Sadie Dupuis via Twitter, Philadelphia-based saxophonist Zach Djanikian, and former bandmember Dan Bejar. The actual substance of the album explores the loneliness and isolation of the pandemic along with the feelings of boredom and media overload, while the musicality is a grittier and grungier expansion on their usual sound. Despite the challenges, the band churned out a critically acclaimed record and a tour that is set to continue through the end of this year.
Tedeschi Trucks Band
I Am the Moon: I. Crescent
Swamp Family Music LLC
June 3, 2022
The fifth studio release by Tedeschi Trucks Band is considered by many to be the most ambitious and yet somehow intimate work that rock and roll big band has ever made. It embodies an old-world epic in size and scale; this series contains four albums and 24 original songs inspired by classical literature of days old and the drama, isolation, and pain of the modern pandemic era. In May, 2020, two months after the band was forced off the road by lockdown, vocalist Mike Mattison sent an email to the rest of the band with some pandemic reading assignments. The poems and stories became the foundation of the lyricism for this record series.
The Band of Heathens
December 10, 2022
The Austin-based singer-songwriter duo Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist have paid their musical dues the last two decades and eight albums, clawing their way up from an independent band playing at bars in their hometown. While the level of fame they have achieved as an unsigned band is exceptionally impressive, they were victims of the same pandemic as the rest of us. They realized what really mattered at the end of the day when everything else was taken away, and for them, that was the power of music and the joy of performing. They returned to Austin both physically and emotionally and crafted the ten-track album much faster than they anticipated, inspired by the circumstances and the view of their origins. Jurdi has said that this was their attempt, whether they intended it this way or not, to capture all of their worldly experiences in one net; “The enthusiasm that we had when we first started as a band is present again in this music.”
November 4, 2022
Led by dual vocalists and married couple Kurt and Brianna Jorgensen, The Jorgensens have been blending blues, folk, and jazz since they met in 2014. Kurt’s impeccable musicality combined with Brianna’s classically trained multi-instrumental resumé has created a band with the warmth and depth to attract the most loyal fanbase. With this newest album, they push the boundaries of tradition within these genres and show how compelling and relevant contemporary blues can be. The content of this album in particular shows how these two are truly soulmates, as well as highlights how interconnected the entire band is with their energy and music-making.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Cool It Down
September 30, 2022
Cool It Down is the fifth studio album by American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It marks the group's first album since 2013's Mosquito and their first release through Secretly Canadian. While the band’s appearance and aesthetic might not be as art-punk and avant garde as we’re used to from their debut in 2003, they still command a stage and drive home a memorable sound all the same. In the almost decade gap since Mosquito's release, the band experienced solo projects and family building as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and they came out of the other end with an album that leaves space for the misery that comes with environmental ruin and societal collapse. Just as importantly, though, Cool It Down looks forward to a hopeful and defiant future.
Should’ve Learned by Now
Liberty & Lament
February 24, 2023
The basis of Lucero’s sound has always been an interesting hybrid of southern rock and punk. Their 12th studio album finds the band circling back to what they do best; we’ve been given road trip songs and late-night drinking anthems that come from two-plus decades worth of less-than-advisable living, while also beginning to reckon with the lasting damage incurred from that lifestyle. Frontman Ben Nichols has found a sort of thematic maturity, writing about how marriage and first-time fatherhood are affected by being the leader of a band that spends 100 or more nights on the road each year. Turns out, though, he’s still got plenty of stories from Lucero’s younger days, and that’s mostly where Should’ve Learned by Now lands.
The Lone Bellow
Love Songs for Losers
Dualtone Music Group
November 4, 2022
The newest work from The Lone Bellow is an album about losers by losers. It’s a homage to the anti-heroes and the underdogs in the world, spare for the few songs that lead vocalist Zach Williams penned for his wife. In a departure from their past work with producers like Aaron Dessner of The National and eight-time Grammy-winner Dave Cobb, the Nashville-based trio struck out on their own for their new album. Recorded at the possibly haunted former home of the legendary Roy Orbison, the result is a meditation on the pain and joy, triumph and tribulation, and all of the simple pleasures that comes with being human.
Polyvinyl, Transgressive, and Celsius Girls
October 7, 2022
Immediately after the release of Antisocialites in 2017, Alvvays (pronounced like "always") went on extensive tours both as headliners and as support while writing their third album, Blue Rev. However, it wasn’t an easy-going process to craft the new record, and while the pandemic is to blame, this band had a few interesting and unique hurdles; a thief broke into lead singer Molly Rankin's apartment and stole a recorder with several demos contained on it, and the day after, a basement flood destroyed all of the band's gear. They eventually regrouped in October, 2021 in a studio in Los Angeles with producer Shawn Everett to work.
Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart
Highway 20 Record
June 30, 2023
The triumphant upcoming 15th studio album by the American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams comes as a sort of victory lap — in the past three years, the legendary rocker has survived a tornado and a stroke all while the pandemic raged in the background. Even though she can’t play guitar as a result of the stroke, she refuses to go down without a fight. She played more shows in 2022 than she has any year since 2017, except now she has a support team for touring and collaborating on songwriting instead of doing it all on her own. Her newfound love of being in the studio and working with other creatives has influenced her workflow so much that the sequel to this record is already done and set to release sometime in 2024. The three singles that have been released so far leading up the June 30th album drop are, "New York Comeback," "Stolen Moments," and "Where the Song Will Find Me."
Moving on Skiffle
March 10, 2023
After two heavy-hitting albums of political ranting about lockdowns, Van Morrison appears to have got everything off his chest and gone back to his basics. His newest record is 23 covers of early country, gospel, folk, and blues songs that he first encountered at Belfast’s Atlantic Records during the skiffle craze of 1956–57. It only seems fair that such an old music genre and an old crooner cross paths again in 2023. This is, after all, the 44th studio album by the Northern Irish singer-songwriter. The 90-minute record, despite the beastly length, feels like a moment of peace after two intense albums; Moving on Skiffle is light and lively, an easy record to enjoy.