The 10 Albums We're Most Excited About in February

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The 10 Albums We're Most Excited About in February

February: a month that’s short on days, but not on music. After a busy January stacked with great new releases, it appears the first quarter of the year isn’t slowing down anytime soon, even with less days to work with. This month will see new records from indie vets like Guided By Voices and Cass McCombs plus debuts from promising up-and-comers like Yola. We’re excited for a bunch of new arrivals spanning rock, country, folk and soul, and we hope you’ll find something you dig as well. Keep scrolling to preview everything we’re excited about in February.

FEBRUARY 1

Girlpool: What Chaos Is Imaginary

Girlpool’s third LP What Chaos is Imaginary sees the duo relying less on a traditional guitar, bass and drums setup and incorporating new sounds like drum machines, synths and strings. The pair released four singles from the record—”Hire,” “What Chaos is Imaginary,” “Lucy’s” and “Where You Sink”—many of which are centered on warped guitars and Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker’s crushing vocal harmonies. You might also notice Girlpool’s newfound vocal dynamic. Tucker’s vocal range has been lowered after a self-described “gender flow” process that began after the group’s last album. Across the fourteen tracks of What Chaos is Imaginary, there’s an inherent bittersweetness that’s painfully familiar and a moody display of vulnerabilities that’s equally empowering and heart-rending. —Lizzie Manno

Guided By Voices: Zeppelin Over China

Guided By Voices  have always been a prolific bunch. Robert Pollard and co. have countless records to their name and are planning to release three more LPs this year—including a 32-song double LP Zeppelin Over China, out this Friday (Feb. 1). Pollard has a stellar supporting cast in producer Travis Harrison, guitarists Doug Gillard and Bobby Bare Jr, bassist Mark Shue and drummer Kevin March. Highlights from this 75-minute monster of an album include the chirpy power-pop tune “The Rally Boys,” the bluesy slow-jam “Jam Warsong,” the gripping, guitar-and-vocal-only “Everything’s Thrilling” and the rumbling, gothic “Where Have You Been All My Life.” To first-time listeners, Zeppelin Over China might seem like the work of a madman, but Pollard has crafted another rich, rock ‘n’ roll transmutation for the ages. —Lizzie Manno

More notable Feb. 1 releases: Balms: Mirror, Beirut: Gallipolli, Cherry Glazerr: Stuffed & Ready, Deep State: The Path to Fast Oblivion, Deer Tick: Mayonnaise, Mandolin Orange: Tides of a Teardrop, Tiny Ruins: Olympic Girls

FEBRUARY 8

Cass McCombs: Tip of the Sphere

Singer/songwriter Cass McCombs is prepping the release of his ninth studio album, Tip of the Sphere, out on Feb. 8 via ANTI- Records. According to a press release, most of his albums have been recorded in multiple studios over a substantial period of time, but this one was recorded fairly quickly at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn. McCombs has been quietly making critics’ album of the year lists for quite some time, and his latest album Mangy Love was no exception with its literary, chilled-out rock soundscapes and his sturdy vocals. We’ve already heard four cuts from the new LP—“Estrella,” “Sleeping Volcanoes, “The Great Pixley Train Robbery” and “Absentee”—and their leisurely pace and understated sonics appear to have carried over from his previous album. —Lizzie Manno

Jessica Pratt: Quiet Signs

Quiet Signs, Jessica Pratt’s third album, follows 2015’s On Your Own Love Again. “On some level I considered an audience while making the last record,” Pratt said in a statement. “But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.” The video for “This Time Around” features hazy clips of Pratt walking along various outdoor backdrops and lounging about an ornate mansion, somewhat cryptically gazing at her own reflection. The single itself principally features Pratt’s melancholic, lonesome vocals as they dance around one single guitar’s simply strummed chords. It’s uncomplicated in construction and just mysterious enough to be perfectly served by the accompanying visual. The album was produced by both Pratt and Al Carson, who, along with Matt McDermott, also performs on the record. —Emma Korstanje

LCD Soundsystem: Electric Lady Sessions

It’s been just shy of two years since LCD Soundsystem announced their glorious, unexpected return in the form of a new album, american dream, and a happily drawn-out reunion tour. And, to our delight, it seems they’re here to stay. This month, James Murphy and co. will release Electric Lady Sessions, recorded in the storied New York City studio of the same name. The record will feature reworked songs from american dream, plus covers including “Seconds” by the Human League and the previously released takes on Chic’s “I Want Your Love” and Heaven 17’s ”(We Don’t Need This) Facist Groove Thang,” which you can hear below. —Ellen Johnson

Yak: Pursuit of Momentary Happiness

British trio Yak made one of the most vigorous rock debuts in a long time with 2016’s Alas Salvation, and they’re finally set to deliver the highly-anticipated follow-up this month, Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, on Feb. 8 via Third Man Records and Virgin EMI. Yak have always been a feisty and mercurial band, but they’ve set the bar even higher on Pursuit of Momentary Happiness. Their previously-released singles—“Bellyache,” “White Male Carnivore” and “Fried”—each contain frontman Oli Burslem’s freakish vocals and a sea of distorted, whooshing guitars. According to a press release, Burslem’s hopes to write and record this new album didn’t go to plan. After 18 months worth of failed album plans, Burslem and drummer Elliot Rawson were still determined to make a new record, so they recruited new bassist Vinny Davies and were later introduced to Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce, who encouraged them to keep on it. They eventually signed new deals with Third Man Records and Virgin EMI, and Pierce actually contributed to the record, lending slide guitar and vocals to the final track, “This House Has No Living Room.” —Lizzie Manno

More notable Feb. 8 releases: Ariana Grande: thank u, next, Bob Mould: Sunshine Rock, Flat Worms: Into The Iris EP, HEALTH: Revolver, Panda Bear: Buoys, Y La Bamba: Mujeres

Notable Feb. 14 release: Robert Ellis: Texas Piano Man

Notable Feb. 15 releases: Avril Lavigne Head Above Water, Homeshake: Helium, Methyl Ethel: Triage

FEBRUARY 22

Adia Victoria: Silences

Adia Victoria’s debut record, Beyond The Bloodhounds, introduced us to the South Carolina native’s grassy and almost gothic blues. More importantly, it established Victoria as a necessary black, female voice in the Nashville scene she now calls home. On “Dope Queen Blues”, the first of two singles from her 2nd LP, Silences (out on on Atlantic’s Canvasback Music imprint) Victoria delivers her message with sinister poise and matching wit. Dizzying horns and polished big-room production (from The National’s Aaron Dessner, no less) foreshadow big things on the horizon for Victoria. —Adrian Spinelli

Julia Jacklin: Crushing

Last year, a young Australian band called Phantastic Ferniture captured listeners with their relaxed indie-rock anthems. The band was new (one of Paste’s favorite new acts of the year, at that), but its members were already established artists. One of those musicians, frontwoman Julia Jacklin, released her excellent debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win in 2016, and now—less than a year after Phantastic Ferniture’s debut—she’s releasing her sophomore record, Crushing. It’s out on Feb. 22 via Polyvinyl, but Jacklin previewed a few of the songs in the Paste Studio on Thursday, Jan. 24. During her set, the singer/songwriter played two singles, “Body” and “Head Alone,” plus a yet-to-be-released track from the album, the emotional “Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You.” Jacklin is backed by two bandmates, but her beautiful and intimate set has the feeling of a poetry reading, contained and personal. If this session is any indication, Crushing could be Jacklin’s best work yet. —Ellen Johnson

Martin Frawley: Undone at 31

Martin Frawley’s debut solo album, Undone at 31, signals a mix of big changes for the Australian musician. You might remember Frawley as the lead singer of popular indie-rock group Twerps, who’ve pumped the breaks since their last album, 2015’s Range Anxiety. After weathering a break-up (not only from the band, but also from bandmate Jules McFarlane), Frawley took his happiness into his own hands and wrote this heartbreak album, which chronicles his 31st year of life, the year he hit rock bottom. The lyrics describe downfalls and drinking, depression and deception, but the album is surprisingly upbeat at times, like the rumbling “End of the Bar.” You get the feeling Frawley is going to be alright, after all. —Ellen Johnson

Yola: Walk Through Fire

To fall into the warmth of a long overdue embrace is to hear Yola’s delivery of her new single, “Faraway Look,” the opening track from her forthcoming debut album, Walk Through Fire. With her stunning vocality, Bristol’s soul singer on-the-rise has the ability to transport the listener away from the moment they’re in and into Yola’s. For Yola, the new track represents how she was encouraged to “stay in [her] lane and be thankful for [her] lot,” she says, while still trying to find her footing as a female artist. Yola explains in a statement, “The people around me at the time, especially those in the music industry, were discouraging to say the least. In a world that questions a woman’s every objection as well as every ambition, the faraway look is king.” Mere moments into the Dan Auerbach-produced track, it becomes apparent just how high Yola will soar in the new year. There is an unmistakable comfort in her voice that simultaneously feels like it’s been around forever and is the thing we’ve been missing all along. —Montana Martin

More notable Feb. 22 releases: Bellows: The Rose Gardener, Gary Clark Jr.: This Land, Jennah Bell: Anchors and Elephants, Motel Mirrors: Gotta Lotta Rhythm, Our Native Daughters: Songs of Our Native Daughters, Sleaford Mods: Eton Alive, Telekinesis: Effluxion

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