21 Août 2020
Bearing the torch of classic American songwriters that have inspired him like Harry Nilsson, Carole King, and Randy Newman, May has gingerly cultivated his iPhone note scribbles and subconscious melodies into songs that could stand the test of time. Leaving the comfort of home-recording, May set out to elevate the production quality on Late Checkout while maintaining some intimacy through sparse arrangements. After writing and performing parts for a bulk of the instruments on the album, May filled out his orchestrations by inviting string players, a horn section, background vocalists, and a pair of auxiliary drummers to play on the album.
Contrary to the instant gratification permitted by modern home-recording, May made a conscious decision to slow down and pay careful attention to his songwriting on this album. He began to savor the minutiae of his daily life spent wandering around LA, not getting invited to hang with friends, and waking up in hotel rooms after DJing weddings. May drew on these moments in his lyrics and began assembling ballads at his new studio, mimicking the bittersweet tone and consistent work ethic of Motown.
“I’ve been collecting stationery from almost every hotel I’ve stayed at for the past ten years.” May reveals about the album’s opener “Hotel Stationary.” “I’ve always been drawn to the nature of hotels. I think it relates to this sense of always feeling out of place and my constant wanderlust.” On Late Checkout’s first single, “I Could Use A Miracle,” May sings about the desperation of feeling down-and-out against a lush and upbeat pop instrumental.
The groovy “Easier Said Than Done” is decorated with bright keys and syncopated drums while May sings about coming to the end of his journey to find love. “Sea Salt & Caramel,” spilled out of May as a saccharine love song to his girlfriend, adding pure sweetness to balance the record’s melancholy pallet. From beginning to end, May bares his soul on each track across Late Checkout, offering a reluctant goodbye to his former selves, before wandering home.
Known for shepherding a kind of classic American songwriting into the age of bedroom recording, Mississippi born musician Dent May is soaking it in and taking his time on his new LP Late Checkout. After contributing heavily to his local Oxford music and art community, May began putting songs online and performing alone under his birth name in 2007.
After befriending Animal Collective while they were recording Merriweather Post Pavilion in Oxford, the band offered to release May’s debut The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele (2009) through their record label Paw Tracks. May’s distinctive croon and sentimental writing won over fans around the globe, and his music continued to evolve on Do Things (2012) and Warm Blanket (2013). Pining for a new scene and life in a big city, May moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and began work on his sprawling epic Across the Multiverse (2017).
His first record on Carpark, Across the Multiverse saw May taking his songwriting to the far reaches of home recording with expansive arrangements and illustrative lyrics. Following the release of Across the Multiverse, May set out for a new final frontier—his own recording studio. May partnered with friends and collaborators Pat Jones and Michael Rosen to construct Honeymoon Suite Recording Studio from scratch, and began recording himself and other artists there in January 2018.
May afforded himself the time to gradually craft a new hi-fi pop alchemy on the songs for Late Checkout, while still aiming for a sparse intimacy in his arrangements. Across the dozen new tracks that make up his fifth LP, May grapples with the swinging emotions of our contemporary reality with his rare optimism and distinguished sound. Late Checkout arrives August 21st via Carpark.