From old favourites to dazzling newcomers, we pick five albums to listen to this month
1. Ratchet, Shamir
A vocalist at the tender age of 20, Shamir Bailey has been making some serious waves with his debut album. Think Scissor Sisters with a youthful twist; Bailey brings his millenial eye to dance-pop. Ratchet is a musical diary, from the delightfully catchy self-ode On The Regular to the heavy, vocally driven Darker. The production is unique, the voice captivating, and the album a worthy listen.
2. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + the Machine
The music scene has been waiting with bated breath for this one, and with good reason. Florence Welch's unique brand of vocals and intense anthems of heartbreak have yet to really disappoint; they don't on her new record either. The album's second single Ship to Wreck is all melancholy and regret, sung with a passion that's hard to rival. "I can't help but pull the earth around me/ To make my bed," is a stellar line we're ready to belt out in the shower.
3. Drones, Muse
After three years, one of the most successful rock bands of recent times has returned with their seventh album. Muse is iconic, and Drones sees them going back to their progressive rock roots after some experimentation in albums like The Resistance and The 2nd Law. Their new video for the radio-friendly track Mercy dropped just last night – take a listen here.
4. Beneath the Skin, Of Monsters and Men
Little Talks put Of Monsters and Men on the map, and fans of their style are in luck; the second album retains their trademark folk-pop sound. But Beneath the Skin is definitely darker, both in its sound and lyrics. Tales of internal struggle and of memory's torment are sung with allusions to the natural world. The ballad Organs is something new; its minimal production letting lead vocalist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir's voice shine.
5. In Colour, Jamie xx
A member of indie pop quartet The xx and a formidable artist in his own right, producer Jamie Smith has released his first solo album. In Colour is a mostly instrumental collection of tracks, drawing on British rave culture of the late 80s – a documentary on the subject is even sampled. It's an eclectic mix of sounds meticulously stitched together, and we're fans of the finished product. Check out the track Loud Places below, featuring Romy of The xx herself.