In the last couple of weeks I came across a thread on Twitter discussing new music, websites and release dates. The person who started the thread, someone called Justin Farrar, had tweeted: “Too many music websites are hung up on reviews tied to release dates. This hurts sub-underground labels that don't play the PR/announcing racket. If some amazing, obscure record is a couple months old (or even a year), why not review it and turn readers on to new stuff?”.
It's a valid point. My response to the tweet was this: “The difficulty in finding obscure stuff that’s truly great that hasn’t been covered a lot is much harder than most people imagine. That’s not to say it’s not possible though.” My point was you have to spend an inordinate amount of time listening to a lot of crap to find a totally undiscovered gem. It’s why most sites don’t do it. They rely on the likes of PR companies to act as filters. Even a tiny small-scale blog like mine needs to operate in this way a fair bit if you want to post reasonably regularly. Unearthing truly great undiscovered music without the help of others in the music industry takes a lot of listening. And that takes time. And time rich people are either very well off or very poor and whilst being the fomer would be nice, I’m not, and I don’t want to be the second, just for the hell of discovering obscure new music.
But there was something else in this tweet that grabbed me. It’s this concept of being tied in to writing about music tied to release dates. Why do sites, including mine, do that? Partly I guess because there’s a school of thought that nobody wants to publish a post about a track that’s already six months old. If you’ve set out your raison d'être as new music then you need to be up to date. Newness is defined by time and age.
So, here’s today's post, about a new artist that I came across this weekend. Except she’s not ‘new’ at all. The oldest tracks on her Soundcloud are from 3 years ago. Yet until 48 hours ago I’d never heard of her. She’s called MAY. Whilst she’s Brooklyn based, MAY was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. She has released some of the most beautiful, melancholy, emotional and affecting songs I’ve heard for some time. It’s real stop you in your tracks stuff. The vocals are deeply rich and incredibly elegant (reminding me a little of Antony and the Johnsons work) and her songs sound like instant classics. My only question is why is she not already a huge star? I guess it's because in the UK at least Australian artists don't get that much coverage (I'd love to hear more Gang of Youths, G Flip and Odette on the radio here) and perhaps because what she's doing isn't lowest common denominator generic pop that seems to fill up the UK singles chart these days.
It’s for this reason that I’m posting about her now. Not one song. Not two. But three. She’s that good. Incredibly the videos only have a few thousand plays between them. The beautiful black and white dance piece for Ballerino featuring a Pierrot criminally has less than 1000 views
She might have been featured on a lot of other music websites and I might be years behind everyone else, but then she only received her first play on UK’s radio 1 the other day (courtesy of Dan from Bastille) so it seems like a lot of people are playing catch up. Maybe if I’ve missed her up to now, so have you? And MAY doesn’t deserve to be missed. An incredible talent.
MAY - Ballerino (Video)
MAY - Sunday Night (Video)
MAY - Falling (Live) (Video)