Right, so January is over and done with, and it’s time to get back into the usual music industry swing of things (at least until everyone goes to get wankered at SXSW, anyway.) There are plenty of decent records to be heard in February 2013, so without further ado, here is our regular monthly roundup of the albums we reckon are going to be worth hearing over the next four weeks, from brainy electronica to decidedly brainless sea shanties, with a whole bunch of other stuff in between. If there’s anything we missed, do feel free to take to the comments section and let us know!
Grouper — The Man Who Died in His Boat (February 5)
We’ve had this on high rotation for a couple of weeks already — in fact, it’s playing as we write this very feature. The songs here date from the same era as Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, and it shows — there’s nothing to rival “Heavy Water (I’d Rather Be Sleeping),” the moment where Liz Harris’s talent for atmospherics met with her oft-suppressed talent for writing perfect pop songs, but there’s still plenty of reverb-laden melancholy for a post-Sleep No More Friday morning.
Darkstar — News from Nowhere (February 5)
It seems like this record has been in the pipeline for ages, but it’s finally here, and it’s pretty much exactly the sort of listening you’d expect from a band that has been on both Hyperdub and Warp — cerebral electronic music that manages to balance interesting listening with distinctly danceable grooves. Yay.
Azealia Banks — Broke With Expensive Taste (February 12)
It’s fair to say we’re looking forward to this a whole lot less than we were before Azealia Banks decided to respond to Perez Hilton’s uninvited intervention in her spat with Angel Haze by unloading a deluge of homophobic abuse onto him — but still, Banks remains a promising talent, and if we can divorce artists’ work from their personal lives, then perhaps we can feel kinda OK about the fact that we’re still interested to hear this.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — Push the Sky Away (February 19)
Um, well, it’s a new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album… Do we really need to say anything more at this point?
Matmos — The Marriage of True Minds (February 19)
The title is a fine way to describe Matmos themselves, really, and we’re expecting this to be the same sort of pleasantly oblique electronic music with which they’ve charmed us so greatly over the last decade or so. Excellent.
Parenthetical Girls — Privilege (Abridged) (February 19)
This album collects a bunch of songs off the five Privilege EPs that the band has released since 2010 — it’s not all of them, which explains where the “Abridged” bit of the title comes from, but it’s a fine introduction to Parenthetical Girls’ work, and it’s also a great way to hear these songs if you missed out on the crazily limited supply of the original EPs. Unlike said EPs, this album isn’t hand-numbered in blood, but you can’t have everything, eh?
Jamie Lidell — Jamie Lidell (February 19)
Warp’s resident neo-soul dude returns with an album that sounds pretty much exactly as you might expect — pop hooks aplenty and plenty of perfectly oblique production to satisfy the sonic purists. It’s all a bit too polished to our ears, and the songs aren’t as strong as they were on Multiply or Jim, but still, he’s a cut above most contemporary crooners.
Mark Kozelek — Like Rats (February 19)
Kozelek is busy this month — as well as this new album of cover versions, he’s releasing a live album on the same day, which means that either he’s being uncommonly generous to his fans, or he’s managed to plow through a whole shitload of contractual obligations in one fell swoop. Either way, everybody wins!
Eat Skull — III (February 19)
Behold: a band called Eat Skull who sound like they may well actually eat your skull. We approve of this entirely.
Various Artists — Son of Rogue’s Gallery (February 26)
Honestly, your tolerance for this will most likely depend on your tolerance for sea shanties, which are an acquired taste at the best of times — but if you do fancy channeling your inner Captain Haddock and giggling at Iggy Pop saying rude words, then knock yourself out. How there’s no version of “The Good Ship Venus” amongst the 36 tracks on this album — thirty-six — is something that we’ll never understand.
Also out this month:
Björk — Bastards (February 5) A bunch of Biophilia remixes. Worth the price of admission just for Omar Souleyman’s remix of “Crystalline” (above), which is amazing.
Eels — Wonderful, Glorious (February 5) Warning: title may be ironic.
Coheed and Cambria — The Aftermath: Descension (February 5) THE AMORY WARS CONTINUE!
Jim James — Regions of Light and Sound of God (February 5) Yikes — has My Morning Jacket dude gone Christian?
The Bronx — The Bronx (February 5) Will no doubt sound completely different from the three other self-titled albums they’ve already made.
Foals — Holy Fire (February 12) Foals go pop! Possibly!
Bullet for My Valentine — Temper Temper (February 12) Otherwise known as “music for revoked PlayStation privilege angst.”
LL Cool J — Authentic Hip Hop (February 12) Does anyone else thing it’s amazing that LL Cool J has made an album called Authentic Hip Hop? Next week: Belle and Sebastian make an album called Authentic Twee.
Beach Fossils — Clash the Truth (February 19) Lo-fi Pitchfork slacker pop, thy name is…
Iceage — You’re Nothing (February 19) WELL FINE THEN.
Atoms for Peace — AMOK (February 26) Things we know about this album: a) it’ll be perfectly OK and b) it won’t be as good as OK Computer. Such is the lot of Thom Yorke.
Joan Armatrading — Starlight (February 26) Joan Armatrading, people!
KMFDM — KUNST (February 26) And finally, conclusive proof that February 2013 is weird: a new KMFDM album.