Features | Quietus Charts | Music Of The Month: The Best Albums And Tracks Of May 2022 – The Quietus

As May draws to a close, tQ’s editorial staff present their picks of the very best albums and tracks from another great month in music

It feels notable how many gigs I’ve been to this May – from friends’ music in pubs and hype bands in bougie new Soho basements, to international acts back on their major tours and an inner-city festival. My energy still depleted post-COVID, in a physical sense I feel exhausted, but in another I feel revitalised.
There was one show in particular, Naima Bock’s sold-out headline gig at The Lexington in King’s Cross earlier this week, that was particularly restorative. Her forthcoming debut album is superb, but nevertheless not out until July, yet her audience responded with the kind of beautiful, overwhelming fervour that only occasionally greets even artists of ten times her size. It was impossible not to be left reeling in communal glee.
That sense of connection has in turn influenced my listening this May. Perhaps it’s just me, but the membrane between artists and listeners seems particularly thin right now. Music, and the things it can express that words might not, feels more accessible and more immediately impactful than ever. It’s never been more of a pleasure to bring you our picks of the last month.
All the below, as well as all the other excellent music we’ve covered at tQ this month will also be compiled into an exclusive, hours-long playlist exclusive to our subscribers. In addition, subscribers can enjoy exclusive music from some of the world’s most forward-thinking artists (previous commissions include Teleplasmiste, Siavash Amini, Roger Robinson & Richard Skelton and Alison Cotton), regular deep-dive essays on everything from James S. Lee’s drug memoir Underworld Of The East to the life lessons imparted by Crusader Kings 3, a monthly podcast, specially-curated ‘Organic Intelligence’ guides to under the radar international subcultures, and more.
To sign up for all those benefits, and to help us keep bringing you the kind of music you’re about to read about below, you can click here. And read on for the best of the best from May 2022.
Patrick Clarke


Matmos – Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer
(Thrill Jockey)
That Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt have been making music together for so long, and that their music has been so consistently good (and, perhaps more importantly for experimental electronic groups, that their music has been so interesting) for so long really is remarkable. Matmos are the rare musical act that have managed to avoid the creeping mediocrity and/or tendency toward templatised production that afflicts so many artists who’ve had a measure of success.
That said, Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer sounds like a Matmos album. Regardless of their sonic inspirations, Matmos records always sound like Matmos records. Which isn’t a criticism of Regards as it is a feature of Matmos’ work. The polyrhythms, the blips and the bloops, and the droning string-like sounds that aren’t strings but instead are Matmos playing with objects and effects, they’re all there. And Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer unfolds like previous Matmos albums, insofar as its first half is more fun than its second. Matmos records can be seen as a reverse mullet: party up front, business in the rear.
Kevin O’Rourke – read the full review here
The Ephemeron Loop – Psychonautic Escapism
(Heat Crimes)
The Ephemeron Loop is the latest project born from the mesmeric inner-world of Vymethoxy Redspiders, better known as Urocerus Gigas from Leeds-based xenofeminist rock duo Guttersnipe. Born in Bangor, North Wales, Redspiders has been based in Leeds since 2013, where she has established herself as an underground powerhouse. Debut release Psychonautic Escapism is a “synaesthetic acid bath that cracks open the doors of perception,” tracing Redspiders’ break through her pre-transition life of black metal into a new life of shoegaze music, psychedelic drugs and raves in the Leeds queer underground scene.
Mariam Rezaei – read our interview here
Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky

Coldplay and Deftones are among the stadium-bestriding influences Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin has cited for her band’s much-anticipated new album. But the record’s unique innovation is to take these familiar components – firecracker guitars, choruses that flutter gamely in the breeze – and to give them a body-horror twist, resulting in a project that feels simultaneously uplifting and unmooring. It’s like going to a rom-com at the cinema and realising half way in that the director has inserted ghostly images into every frame. A lark of an afternoon is all of a sudden filled with dread.
Ed Power – read the full review here
Weird Nightmare – Weird Nightmare
(Sub Pop)
METZ have long been a personal favourite, partly because of the intensity and wild abandon of their live shows but also due to their compelling synthesis of the cream of the crop of ’90s alternative rock tropes. Like Hüsker Dü before them, the noise that METZ make was always a life-affirming one, an ebullient racket beneath whose tumultuous surface infectious ’60s-inflected melodies swarmed as if threatening to break through en masse at any moment. On his (mostly) solo debut outing as Weird Nightmare, Alex Edkins finally lets those melodies loose, resulting in an irresistibly euphoric blast of feedback spattered garage-pop that is just what the doctor ordered to chase away any lingering post-lockdown blues.
Sean Kitching
Otoboke Beaver – Super Champon
I love a bit of head-nodding, beard-stroking contemplation with my music as much as anybody but every now and then you start to drift off, maybe forget how electric and thrilling it can be. Super Champon is the latest wake up call from Kyoto’s incredible Otoboke Beaver. Invigorating, light speed garage-core that scorches a smile onto your idiot face making everything else feel redundant for its terse 20-odd-minute run time. A wonderful balance of melody and ferocity, their tunes tap into a wide-eyed joy at the heart of their rage. Serrated guitar noise and complex vocal parts mix with an adrenaline-rush rhythm section in concentrated blasts. It goes straight to your head.
Jared Dix – read the full review here
They Hate Change – Finally, New
Despite its ephemerality, exploring the history of ’90s and ’00s pirate radio stations is now easy. You can watch footage of jungle sets or documentaries on YouTube or even revisit London Pirate Radio Adverts from 1984 to 1993 thanks to the archaeological work of label Death Is Not the End. Although pirates broadcasted to only a few miles radius, their impact was far-reaching. One of the proofs of that is the Tampa Bay rap duo They Hate Change, consisting of Vonne Parks and Andrea Gainey, who describe themselves as Anglophiles, music omnivores and UK rave crate-diggers who fluently serve post-punk references in their bars.
Miloš Hroch – read the full review here
Haress – Ghosts
(Wrong Speed)
A few years ago, Elizabeth Still and David Hand upped sticks from the streets of Liverpool to rural Shropshire. There, they set up the Sin Eater microfestival and, with a loose collective of other musicians formed Haress. Their self-titled debut album was described by the wise Noel Gardner in his New Weird Britain column as “glorious music from out of almost nowhere.” The follow-up remains in a beautifully elusive space, somewhere between Americana and cosmic folk.
At times, Ghosts evokes Bill Callahan in the mist, or Low. It has the sort of mid-Atlantic, lo-fi presence of the great Duke Garwood too, before finally reaching these shores with folk guitar reminiscent of Bert Jansch. On ‘I Think, I Think’, the accelerating reel and squirling brass suggests Haress are fellow travellers of One More Grain, whose Beans On Toast With Pythagoras is another highlight of 2022. ‘Time To Drink’ begins just on the right side of dirge, like a slowed down funeral march played on hurdy-gurdys, before the reflective guitar starts pattering over the top, like raindrops dislodging dust. It’s a fitting image given that Ghosts was recorded in a disused water mill. This blissed-out psychedelia is not quite pastoral – there’s nothing twee about these unwinding grooves – yet evokes water and wood, light and shadow, a place of forgotten labour and the absent human form with a beguiling grace.
Luke Turner
O Yuki Conjugate – A Tension of Opposites: Vol. 1 & 2
(World Of Echo)
Here are 84 minutes and two LPs’ worth of lush, solemn ambience that actually came out almost a year ago, but as the tape in question escaped my attention until this new vinyl reissue by record shop/occasional label World Of Echo, let’s pick things up here. A Tension Of Opposites: Vol. 1 & 2 is by O Yuki Conjugate, a duo who formed amidst the UK industrial blossoming of the early 1980s while taking a less abrasive tack than many fellow travellers. 40 years and myriad incarnations/ side-projects later, they’re still single-minded in their sound and sometimes stark as bones in a desert, but with a cinematic sense of tension and drift.
Noel Gardner – read the full review here
700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare
To lazily label this album as ‘noise rap’ would be a reductionist view of inventive music ardently brought together from multiple traditions. But it’s not just Moor Mother’s poetry and inflection that feels uninhibited here. DJ Haram ventures farther with her productions than demonstrated on her 2019 EP Grace, leaving behind the elegant safety of her globetrotting dance music. Here, she embraces cacophony, minimalism, and avant abstractions, meshing together styles plucked from disparate spaces and times. Techno, grime, synth-pop, and lo-fi hiphop productions come together at the same moment only to be mutated into monstrous new things.
Antonio Poscic – read the full review here
Siete Catorce – Cruda
One of the most ingenious representatives of forward-thinking Latin American- and Afro-Mexican-influenced club sounds of the past decade, SUBREAL co-founder Marco Polo Gutierrez meticulously constructs every minute detail of his polyrhythmic grooves while always retaining an air of hip-shaking propulsion. Heavily relying on syncretic synthesis, Cruda is a study in exploring texture and rhythm along with dancefloor ambitions. Its arrangements centre on spiralling interplays between synthesised and acoustic drum skin timbres and dynamic low frequency modulations. The melodic dimension of his productions is usually less prominent, relying merely on digital flutes, ghostly pads, glitchy and bubbly pulses and occasionally gloomy synth stabs backed by a sinister forest ambience. Despite its undoubtedly functionalist disposition, the album unfolds more like a deeply immersive, trance-inducing drum seance during which we attempt to communicate with the other world through rhythm.
Jaša Bužinel – read the full review here
Mary Halvorson – Amaryllis & Belladonna
(Nonesuch Records)
Mary Halvorson has released a near impeccable run of albums over the past year or so: Never Is Enough, with her trio Thumbscrew, Artlessly Falling, with her lyric-based quintet Code Girl, Searching For The Disappearing Hour, with Sylvie Courvoisier, and my personal favourite out of the bunch (along with this new release), John Zorn’s Bagatelles, Volume 1, as the Mary Halvorson Quartet. Even if Halvorson were to release no further new music, a strong case would have already been made for her being one of the most inventive and distinctive voices of her generation. With this major new set of 11 tracks, her most compelling release since 2016’s Away With You for this writer, Halvorson establishes, without any doubt, her position at the vanguard of jazz and modern classical composition. For anyone who is yet to get on board with her work, this stunning ‘post-genre’ release offers the best chance to date to begin to appreciate her marvellous, multifarious musical activities.
Sean Kitching


Kendrick Lamar – ‘Mother I Sober’
‘Mother I Sober’ is one of the clear highlights from Kendrick Lamar’s new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, even as the nerve-shredding, highly pressurised ‘We Cry Together’ jostles it for equal billing. That combination of Lamar at his most open and broken down with Beth Gibbons is just too sublime though.
John Doran
Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Emptiness Follows’
Celebrating her signing to Partisan with her most mesmeric song to date, ‘Emptiness Follows’ is a gentle gust of heavenly psychedelic folk (with a hint of bossa nova) in which it’s impossible not to be swept away.
Patrick Clarke
Tirzah – ‘Ribs’

Following last year’s standout album Colourgrade, Tirzah reunites with frequent collaborators Mica Levi and Coby Sey for this one-off single. As with much of her work, its charm is in its minimalism as her warming, wordless vocals unfurl against delightfully off-kilter instrumentation.
Christian Eede
Suede – ‘She Still Leads Me On’
Suede leap out of the traps with the first track to be taken off their forthcoming ninth album, an exultant ode to the memory of Brett Anderson’s mum that’s possibly the most celebratory song they’ve ever written.
Luke Turner
Utopia Strong – ‘Castalia’
All the way to the top of the mountain where the air is fine and the sun scorches your eyes is where Utopia Strong have clambered to bring us the unadulterated feel good hit of the summer.
Wu-Lu – ‘Blame’
Since the explosion of ‘South’ at the start of 2021, Wu-Lu’s been releasing nothing but extraordinary music, intensely charged songs that blur boundaries between metal, indie, jazz and screamo, thriving on the chaos and instability that causes. ‘Blame’, from his forthcoming debut album, is the best yet.
Pariah – ‘Caterpillar’

Brrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! The lead cut from Pariah’s first solo outing in four years, set to be fully released as part of an EP next month on the Voam label he runs with Blawan, is a menacing, heads-down beast of a dancefloor cut.
Special Interest – ‘Herman’s House’
New Orleans’ Special Interest drag their scuzz towards the dancefloor with an early taster of what will be their first LP for Rough Trade, one of our most eagerly anticipated releases of the year. Grouching bass, lo-fi rhythmic crackles, righteous yelping, saucy piano – this banger has it all!
Crack Cloud – ‘Please Yourself’
The size of the community involved in Crack Cloud’s DIY operation has always been one of their greatest strengths, and new single ‘Please Yourself’ – and its deeply ambitious visuals – exemplifies that perfectly. It is an epic in miniature.
black midi – ‘Welcome To Hell’
The sheer momentum with which black midi move is breathtaking. Less than a year after their last LP they’ve already announced their next, Hellfire, whose lead single finds the band on white-hot form, as hectic and as brilliant as ever.
Share this article: Post to Facebook Post to Twitter add to del.icio.us Digg it Stumble It! Post to Reddit
If you love what we do, you can help tQ to continue bringing you the best in cultural criticism and new music by joining one of our subscription tiers. As well as the unparalleled joy of keeping the publication alive, you’ll receive benefits including exclusive editorial, podcasts, and specially-commissioned music by some of our favourite artists. To find out more, click here.
Support tQ’s work by becoming a subscriber and enjoy the benefits of bonus essays, podcasts and exclusively-commissioned new music. To find out more, click here.
As a wholly independent publication, we rely entirely on our ad bookings to keep The Quietus going. Please whitelist our site in order to continue to access The Quietus.