The first few months of the year are always crazy busy for new music releases. Each Friday, music sites have at least half a dozen new reviews up on their sites, most of which you know nothing about. How are you supposed to know what to listen to?!? Well, relax. I’ve done the hard work and rounded up my picks for Feb 2017.
My favourite album of the month comes from Thundercat. He’s a wizard who you might know from his work on all of Flying Lotus’ albums, as well as on Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Kamasi Washington’s The Epic. His third solo album Drunk is a smorgasbord of jazz, funk, rock, pop, everything really. Like FlyLo’s records, it’s a montage of short tracks, and hell it features Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, so what are you waiting for.
The brilliant Ibibio Sound Machine returned with second album Uyai, which continues the half-London electro/half-Nigerian funk party from their debut. And Mali’s desert savants Tinariwen returned with another doozy, albeit more politically angry than their previous work. Their album Elwan features Kurt Vile and Mark Lanegan, proving that desert dwellers from across the globe share a certain understanding.
Two of Manchester’s best 21st century bands returned this month: Dutch Uncles‘ Big Balloon sees them returning to the “dad prog” (their term) that brought them fans in the first place; Elbow, meanwhile, got more personal and less arena-driven with their seventh album Little Fictions.
A few relics from the 00s hipster Pitchfork scene also made a return: Jens Lekman is as great as ever; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah maybe not so much; Dirty Projectors‘ new one is sprawling and unfocused, but still compelling; Ryan Adams‘ 16th album is not a standout.
Meanwhile, Stormzy finally released his pretty stunning debut album, as did Sampha, after making his name working with the biggest names in R&B. And finally, Portland producer Visible Cloaks made an eerie, ambient album lying somewhere between minimal electro and modern classical.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF FEBRUARY
- Thundercat – Drunk
- Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now
- Ibibio Sound Machine – Uyai
- Tinariwen – Elwan
- Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
- Dutch Uncles – Big Balloon
- Sampha – Process
- Elbow – Little Fictions
- Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors
- Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage