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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Belt

May 2024's music blogger roundtable

Bringing together music bloggers to discuss music highlights from May

Our assembled cast of music bloggers and broadcasters return to share their thoughts on May 2024 in music.

Joining 5-9 editor, Andrew Belt, to answer the questions are:

Gemma Cockrell is a PR account executive and freelance journalist based in Nottingham. You’re most likely to find her listening to live music in one of Nottingham’s brilliant music venues or speaking about motorsport on her podcast, Down To The Tyre.

Adam Reeve is an editor/writer + other things-er for various places over many years. Currently for Dead Good Music - a music blog that pairs music and oranges together like you wouldn't believe.

Phil Taylor (aka Music Observer) lives in the East Midlands and spends a disproportionate amount of his time listening to music, attending gigs and wearing band T-shirts.

Phil is obsessed with music of all genres, with a leaning towards alt-pop, folk, indie rock and post-punk. He started his blog in 2021 as a way of sharing his feelings about good music; it quickly grew into a fully fledged venture with a focus on new releases as well as live reviews and interviews. He now writes for other publications including LeftLion, The Songbird and Music in Leicester.

Sophie (otherwise known as Purpl Mac) who is a new music fan lover from Belgium.

She likes to support new indie & alternative music bands by featuring them on her show/podcast, playlists and on social media.

She is also a lover of music on vinyl growing her collection of physical copies and digital copies on bandcamp.

Matthew McLister is a freelance writer and music fan based in Glasgow with a degree in History (University of Glasgow). Passionate about new guitar music and indie bands, he writes features for Gigwise and HeadStuff Media. During lockdown he launched the Blinded by the Floodlights indie website and has even produced his own podcast. By day, he works in Corporate Communications.

5-9: How was May music-wise for you?

Arab Strap's latest album 'typically bleak' but enjoyable, according to Matthew

Matthew: A strong month for releases even if it wasn’t quite on the same level as April. Plenty to enjoy though from La Luz’s fifth record, News of the Universe, to Arab Strap’s typically bleak latest, I’m totally fine with it 👍don’t give a fuck anymore 👍.

Adam: May was a good month for music. Each week seemed to have something for everybody to look forward to at all levels of the industry. At the very top you had good albums from Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, the Kendrick Lamar/Drake beef that seemed to see Drake destroyed with each new song Kendrick brought out, and even Eminem made a return with ‘Houdini’.

At the lower, music blog levels, there were excellent albums from Home Counties, Sick Love and Gaffa Tape Sandy that continue to receive regular airtime on my playlists. All in all, a lot of releases that met or exceeded expectations.

Phil: I feel like a broken record, but it was another great month music-wise! Lots of really exciting and strong releases from all across the musical spectrum. I was actually slightly caught by surprise by the scale of it, so I got a lot busier than expected. A highlight of the month apart for me personally, aside from gigs and releases, was interviewing Bess Atwell. She’s definitely one of those artists who really thinks, and answers fully from the heart. A privilege to speak with her.

Sophie: Lots of good new music release and not enough time to listen to them all, and still on the moon after seeing Slowdive.

Gemma: It was slightly more quiet on the gig front, with festival season approaching, but I think there were some great album releases this month, which has been really exciting.

5-9: What was the best album in May?

'Rich and powerful': Champagne by Sick Love was Phil's and Adam's favourite LP from May

Phil: I’m going with Champagne by Sick Love - so densely packed with energy, each song taking up the baton from the previous one, passing along the message. There’s a real sense of intensity and power, accelerating right through 10 tracks. It’s rich and powerful, and particularly beautiful in a slightly noisy way. 'Chill for the Summer' is an outstanding track with a striking message.

And can I please shout out Jenny Colquitt and her singularly beautiful album, Staring at the Moon. There are few artists approaching her level of sonic purity.

On the more pop side, I liked Dua Lipa and was really impressed by Billie Eilish too. I’ve had her album on repeat for a significant part of the month! Casually surpasses a certain TS I’d have to say.

Adam: Sick Love’s debut album, Champagne, is currently top in my favourite albums released this year so far. It is a heavy listen that’s packed with riffs and hooks, making it accessible while also determined to bash your face in. It’s the most fun I’ve had with something that really wants to knock me for six.

Sophie: There were a couple but I'll go with Microdosing Heavy Poetry by Swedish artist, Llawgne. A very ecclectic album (post punk, folk, indie rock, dream pop...) which demonstrates his talent.

Gemma: For me, it has to be Hit Me Hard and Soft by Billie Eilish. She's an artist who is always pushing boundaries, as well as pushing herself, and that makes her one of the most exciting pop artists in the mainstream. I think this might be her best album to date.

Matthew: Oh that’s a tough one. I’d probably have to go for either The Lemon Twigs's A Dream Is All We Know with its wonderful ‘60s inspired melodies or DIIV’s cynical and heavy shoegaze fourth record, Frog in Boiling Water.

5-9: What's the best song/s you've heard this month?

'U Should Not Be Doing That' by Amyl and the Sniffers was selected by both Adam and Matthew as one of the best tracks from May (photo credit: Jamie Wdziekonski)

Adam: Amyl and The Sniffers released two new singles, but it’s ‘U Should Not Be Doing That’ that’s really tickling my fancy. Four piece VERA also made their debut with ‘No Help From You’, and Adelide’s ‘Witness’ is a seriously groovy number.

Matthew: DIIV - 'Raining On Your Pillow', Amyl and the Sniffers - 'U Should Not Be Doing That' and James Blake - 'Thrown Around'.

Sophie: 'Swim' by Scottish band Man of Moon (excellent album too), 'Every Loss' by Hazelene - a debut dream pop song - and 'Morpho Butterfly' by the Lunar Towers - a fine slice of jangly indie-pop.

Gemma: I would probably say songs from Hit Me Hard and Soft but, for variety, I'll pick something different - 'Slipaway' by crysometimes, 'When It Rains' by Catmilk, and 'Twiggy' by JayaHadADream.

Phil: Dictator - 'Almost Famous': Starting subtly and quickly jumping into an energising vibe, absolutely packed with character.

philine - 'your house, my house': Wandering, reflective, absolutely intimate and really beautiful too. Low key alt-pop energy throughout.

The Howl & The Hum - 'Same Mistake Twice': Quite simply a brilliant song, packed with genius lyrics which Sam really makes the most of.

We've now collated the monthly song picks into one, easy-to-find playlist, which also includes picks by 5-9 editor, Andrew Belt, and 5-9 Album of the Month hosts, Karl Blakesley and Kiley Larsen. Listen below:

5-9: What's the best gig you've been to this month?

Sophie's view of Slowdive from May - a 5* performance

Sophie: Slowdive. I follow shoegaze accounts so I'm used at seeing positive reviews of their gigs but experiencing it live is the next level. I think they may just sound even better now than at the start of their career like a good wine, with a catalogue going from classic shoegaze, ambient to dreamier and even poppier songs. A perfect 5 stars for me.

Gemma: English Teacher at Rescue Rooms was brilliant. Pleasure Centre, the support act, were a band I was unfamiliar with, but I'm very glad I got introduced to them as they are brilliant. Hearing English Teacher's debut album in full live was amazing, and really did highlight how strong the album is - it deserves all the acclaim it received.

Phil: I ramped up my gig going in May so that’s made answering this much more difficult … I think I’ll have to slightly cheat and pick Dot To Dot Festival in Nottingham. You can read my review of the festival here: Review: Dot To Dot Festival 2024 in Nottingham - Nottingham Culture (

It was genuinely so much fun, very well curated, run very smoothly, and I caught some incredible artists there - Girl Scout were the blazing highlight, and I was blown away by Abby Sage and mary in the junkyard, too.

Adam: I didn’t get to attend any gigs in May sadly. A streak I desperately want to break. There was a chance I could’ve seen Home Counties in London, but trains weren’t running that day. Shoutout to C2C for that.

5-9: What are you most looking forward to in June?

Matthew is looking forward to seeing Chastity Belt in Glasgow

Matthew: Album wise I’m most looking forward to new releases from Aussie psych-rock band (and cousins of Tame Impala) Pond, the new one from chillwave godfather Washed Out and some rough and ready hard rock from The Mysterines.

Gig wise I’m off to see Chastity Belt and Alvvays in Glasgow, first time seeing both so I’m pretty excited for that!

Gemma: Radfest! It's a music festival I help to organise, taking place in Radcliffe on Trent in Nottinghamshire. With a full line-up of local artists, and lots of family friendly entertainment, it really is such a special event. It came about from a group of parents wanting to create an exciting event for their teenage sons and daughters in the village, and they really have achieved just that.

Adam: I’m excited for the return of festival season! There are a ton of them taking place this month, but I’m most looking forward to checking out the Lazydays festival in my local(ish) city of Southend. The lineup for Saturday looks cool, with The Futureheads, The Hoosiers and Mystery Jets performing.

In terms of releases, FEET are releasing their new album Make It Up this month and I have been hugely excited for it. The singles released for it have been great, so I’m hoping the album is a banger.

Phil: Hmm… I’m not going to Glastonbury (sadly) but I am still looking forward to living some of it through TV and blog coverage. Always special.

And near the end of the month, there’s an album coming out from The Felice Brothers. They’re a wonderfully wistful, slightly quirky, American band producing rebooted folk/roots-steeped music with real soul and atmosphere.

Sophie: Looking forward to seeing Belle & Sebastian. Last time was more than 10 years ago.

Thanks for taking part in 5-9's May roundtable! Look forward to catching up next month!

To keep up to date with Sophie's shows, podcasts and more follow her on X - @macaronpurpl - or on Instagram - @purplemacpodcast.

For Gemma: @gemcockrell on X.

For Adam: @adamsoundsgood and @deadgoodblog on X.

For Phil: @MusicObserver1 on X and @music_observed on Instagram.

For Matthew: @matthewmclister on X.

For a further deep dive into last month's music, look out for the upcoming Album of the Month podcast episode for May 2024.


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