Photo by Carson Culver
Dent May debuted in 2009 with The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele, a lounge act-inspired album that kept the stakes pretty low. “In some ways I regret introducing myself as an artist in that way,” May explained to Spin, partially because he felt obligated to keep up the schtick. A bout of writer’s block followed, and May spent the better part of three years holed up in his studio in Oxford, Mississippi. 2012’s Do Things chucked the ukulele and ill-fitting tuxedo out the window, replacing the twee trappings with lush, Beach Boys-inspired orchestration. According to May, it was a step in the right direction, though he hated the torturous time that it took to get there.
After the release of Do Things, May decided to work quickly and trust his initial instincts. For a few weeks earlier this year, the singer secluded himself in a creepy, Victorian-era house in St. Augustine, Florida, and the retreat was the perfect antidote to his previous process. Warm Blanket, out August 27, sounds and feels fresher by comparison. May’s voice–already a dead-ringer for Brian Wilson–is backed up by bouncy, sunny arrangements that split the difference between pop, psychedelia, and dance. Songs like “Born Too Late” don’t just stick in your head; they truly jump off the recording with urgency. Score one for trusting your gut.