And lo, after years of nail-biting impatience and ‘will-it-ever-happen?’ fretting, the stars aligned, the heavens smiled upon us, and the big music-related shindig we’ll all been waiting for finally took place: Yep, Paris Hilton dropped her comeback single ‘Louder’. Oh, and the Stone Roses played their first gig in 16 years, too.

But, without wishing to disrespect Ian Brown and the boys, today we’re more interested in what joyous sounds, snippets and new releases May brought forth, so here’s a list of the best things we heard this month. Don’t forget to let us know yours, too (especially if it’s the P Hilton track – it samples Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and everything.)

The Cribs
No Johnny Marr? No problem: The Cribs dug deep and conjured arguably a career-best effort with ‘In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull’. Some parts of the NME office swear blind it’s an early contender for Album Of The Year already – read our 9/10 review here.

Beach House back in bloom

Our favourite Baltimore dream-pop duo were back with their fourth studio LP ‘Bloom’ – and what it lacked in suprises it made up for in lush lullabies aplenty. Welcome back, you pair.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5mARUeAs54
John Lydon’s return

The artist formerly known as Johnny Rotten has such a wicked tongue in everyday life that we half-forgot how monumentally acerbic he could be on record – until we heard ‘This Is PiL’, that is. A stonking return after 20 years out of the game.

Liars continued to be excellent

For this scribe’s money, Liars are more-or-less peerless right now. How many other bands have been so excellent for so long like they have? Their new LP ‘WIXIW’ – out on June 4 – sees them rip up the formula of ‘Sisterworld’ for a more cunning, electronic-tinged beast. It’s bloody excellent.

Niki And The Dove lived up to the hype

The Swedish duo mopped the sweat from their brows, steadfastly ignored all the Future Of Pop blogasms and focused on delivering the goods with debut LP ‘Instinct’. And deliver they did, scoring a swanky 8/10 review in the mag. Other big releases, meanwhile, included Alt-J, Regina Spektor, 2: 54, Citizens! and Simian Mobile Disco. Check out their finest wares in our Best Of May Spotify playlist below.

The xx returned

At last, The xx were back! And, judging by the new songs they played at their run of intimate gigs, they’re as breathtakingly brilliant as ever, too. Let’s hope there’s more to come.

The Vaccines’ big comeback tune

“I don’t care about anyone else, when I haven’t got my own life figured out,” yelps Justin Young on the first taster from The Vaccines’ forthcoming second album. Don’t fret, Justin – if the new LP’s as full of Strokes-y goodness as this is, something tells us you’ll be just fine.

Plan B whetted our appetites for ‘Ill Manors’

It’s time to get properly excited about ‘Ill Manors’, then: Plan B dropped the second single from the soundtrack to his directorial debut. “These kids have got no hope, walking around estates thinking this is it,” he laments on ‘Lost My Way’, cementing his rep as newfound voice of Britain’s forsaken youth.

Bobby Womack teamed up with Lana Del Rey
Some cross-generational magic, here, as Bobby Womack previewed his new LP ‘The Bravest Man In The Universe’ by roping in Lana Del Rey to duet on ‘Dayglo Reflection’ The album’s out on June 11.

Franz Ferdinand

Rather overshadowed by The xx’s big return, but Franz were peddling new tunes this month, too, giving us a sneak preview of what they’ve got up their sleeve for album number four.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz9sP7B0eMQ