Ten January Albums Worth Checking Out

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Now that 2011 is here, it’s time to shake off that New Year’s hangover and get down to the business of those pesky resolutions. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably already broken a few (although, in our defense, those leftover Christmas cookies were starting to get stale).

Here’s a resolution you can actually stick to: start the new year off with some great tunes. Keep an eye out for these 10 albums dropping this month, and your 2011 should shape up to be a real humdinger.

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1. Cage the Elephant
Album: Thank You Happy Birthday
Release Date: 1/11

The Kentucky rockers have re-teamed with producer Jay Joyce for their sophomore release, so fans can expect sounds similar to their 2009 self-titled debut.


2. Ponderosa
Album: Moonlight Revival
Release Date: 1/18

The Atlanta-based band Ponderosa is proving that classic rock is far from dead, drawing their sound from folks like The Black Crowes and Tom Petty on their debut for New West Records.


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3. Tennis
Album: Cape Dory
Release Date: 1/18

If Bethany Cosentino and Nathan Williams ever got married, left their respective groups and formed a new band, they’d probably sound something like Tennis. Husband-and-wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore only played their first show together in July, but their debut album drops this month, and it’s sure to be a doozy.


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4. Smith Westerns
Album: Dye It Blonde
Release Date: 1/18

The members of this Chicago outfit aren’t even old enough to drink, but their fuzzy guitars and Marc Bolan-esque vocals have already lead to opening slots with MGMT and Girls. Dye It Blonde will be their first full-length effort since signing to Fat Possum.


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5. The Decemberists
Album: The King is Dead
Release Date: 1/18

For their sixth studio album, Colin Meloy and company have teamed up with Gillian Welch and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. Meloy has promised that The King is Dead will be the Portland baroque popsters’ most straightforward effort yet.


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6. Amos Lee
Album: Mission Bell
Release Date: 1/25

In addition to Lee’s dulcet vocals, Mission Bell will feature contributions from Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Sam Beam and Priscilla Ahn. Have a listen to “El Camino” below.


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7. Iron & Wine
Album: Kiss Each Other Clean
Release Date: 1/25

Iron & Wine  diehards should brace themselves for a bit of a departure from the bearded folkie: Sam Beam recently said the new album “sounds like the music people heard in their parent’s car growing up…that early-to-mid-’70s FM, radio-friendly music.”


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8. Talib Kweli
Album: Gutter Rainbows
Release Date: 1/25

Gutter Rainbows is the prolific rapper’s first effort since 2007’s Eardrums, and it’s reportedly inspired by memories of his childhood in Brooklyn.


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9. Deerhoof
Album: Deerhoof vs. Evil
Release Date: 1/25

The band plans to leak their 10th studio album one track at a time. You can check out a map and schedule of the leaks here.


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10. Wanda Jackson
Album: The Party Ain’t Over
Release Date: 1/25

Jack White produced the latest from the legendary First Lady of Rockabilly, which includes typical Wanda Jackson fare as well as a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.”

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