For a month that’s nearly always been quiet and unassuming in terms of new releases, February 2022 came out of the gate kicking and screaming with so many titles that I have to split this up into two posts and leave a few out! Hope you enjoy!
Lucy Dacus, “Kissing Lessons” single, released 2 February. Dacus slips out a new non-album single when no one’s looking (and perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day) and it still becomes a fan favorite.
Black Country, New Road, Ants from Up There, released 4 February. I’m still not quite sure how to describe this UK Midlands band other than that their quirky songs veer between chamber pop, angular post-punk and small town oddness, and that they’re a lot of fun to listen to.
Bastille, Give Me the Future, released 4 February. Bastille continues to write catchy and radio-friendly alternapop, but similar to Coldplay’s last few albums they’ve injected a considerable level of experimentation to their songwriting. The result is that they’re not always hit songs but their creativeness keeps you interested and intrigued.
Mitski, Laurel Hell, released 4 February. An indie rock fave at this point. Her latest record continues her focus on the personal, this time on change and transformation, with songs recorded at the height of the pandemic.
The Reds, Pinks and Purples, Summer at Land’s End, released 4 February. My favorite extremely-local band released their latest (and possibly last under that name?) album of moody and meandering ‘fog pop’ (as one-man RPP member Glenn Donaldson himself calls it) and it’s another collection of lovely Felt-like tunes.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Cold As Weiss, released 11 February. This groovy jazz trio is always a trip to listen to, never wavering from their laid-back melodic funkiness. A simple melody like “Pull Your Pants Up” gets stuck in your head for days.
Eddie Vedder, Earthling, released 11 February. This has to be one of the most cheerful records I’ve heard from Vedder, whose solo and Pearl Jam records tend to lean on the more serious side of things. It’s full of bright and uplifting melodies and a really fun listen.
Andy Bell, Flicker, released 11 February. The Ride guitarist and vocalist gathers a number of unfinished songs he’s had in his cupboards over the years (some dating back to the 1990s!) and it’s a long and sprawling but ultimately fascinating record. There are some shoegazey Ride-like tracks on it, but there are also some janky alt-rock songs that sound like they were influenced by his years in Oasis.
Frank Turner, FTHC, released 11 February. Those expecting Turner to provide us with another album of spiky and often humorous troubadour alt-folk songs will be surprised by the level of raucous power in this record — after all, the title stands for Frank Turner HardCore. It’s a noisy dust-up of an album, but this doesn’t take away from Turner’s smart lyrics and songwriting at all.
Spoon, Lucifer on the Sofa, released 11 February. Spoon returns with an album featuring songs very similar to Kill the Moonlight (released way back in 2002) produced to sound tight and spiky. It’s the sound of a band having held back for too long and feeling the need to exert all that extra energy.
Alt-J, The Dream, released 11 February. This band, as always, never fails to amaze and confuse in equal measure. This new record starts not with calm melodies or even a hit song…but what sounds like a soda pop commercial. It’s kind of hard to figure out where where the band is going at first until you realize that’s the whole point of this record — it’s a fever dream of anxieties, distractions and oddly linked themes. It’s an album that’s meant to feel disjointed and tense, even when its melodies remain lovely and even heartbreaking at times.
Stay tuned for Part II!