Turn It Up: New Music Releases For February 2017

Winter is a rough time for new releases. Many bands are finishing up winter tours and resting for a minute. Others are putting the finishing touches on their spring and summer albums which will be the basis of and supported by their summer tours. In other words – let’s be grateful for the music we do get! Here’s February in a nutshell.

LeAnn Rimes - Remnants

Release date: 2/3

Why yes, that is a Parental Advisory warning on a LeAnn Rimes album. Remember “One Way Ticket?” Remember “How Do I Live?” I guess those days are long gone.

“Long Live Love” is the first taste we were given in December, and it’s nowhere near the old LeAnn we knew. This is full of blues, funk, and soul that her intensely unique voice alone can give. There are drum tracks, and almost even a dance beat. She’s on this air of her own vocals taking charge of the song.

What I’m getting at is that you may certainly recognize the voice, but maybe not what’s with it. LeAnn has certainly grown quite a bit and changed over time, and she seems to be reflecting that in her new music.

You know what, I lied for a second there. We got another taste back in June with a cover of Brandi Carlisle’s amazing song, “The Story.” That song was amazing to begin (including Sandra Ramirez’s cover on “Grey’s Anatomy”), and LeAnn Rimes takes it to almost of a deeper place with her trills and handling of the poignancy of the words. And “How to Kiss A Boy” is actually available on Spotify… okay, yes, she’s teased us here a bit too.

The UK got this release back in October, and on February 3rd, it’s our turn in the US. If the few tracks we have so far are any indication, this could be a really great, new collection from this woman.

Other 2/3 releases:

Big Sean – I Decided

The Menzingers – After the Party

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – Zombies on Broadway

Release date: 2/10

I will forever and always have a place in my heart for Something Corporate if for nothing more than learning all of “Konstantine” on the piano, and singing it loud out of open car windows up and down Route 30 at night. Andrew McMahon allows us to get just a little taste of that without sacrificing his individuality. It’s not “Dark Blue” (oh yeah, Jacks Mannequin!), but that voice has a way of making you think way too much.

“Don’t Speak for Me (True)” does it with a pop tone, showing that the early 00’s of pop punk goodness was a very isolated time that has chosen to grow up. And, oh wow, there are four leading singles available to this album. Well, “So Close” takes us another step into the dance club, but “Walking In My Sleep” seems more meaningful musically (if that’s a thing… I’m making it a thing.). We end the sampling with a middle-ground track of “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” – basically every hipster’s dream.

What I’m getting at is I don’t know what to necessarily expect from Andrew McMahon, and I think I love it.

Other 2/10 releases:

Luke Fiasco – DROGAS Light

Thievery Corporation – The Temple of I & I

Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Release date: 2/17

Every month there’s one new release that sticks out more than others. I’ve come to adore this column because in previewing some things, I realize how excited I am for all of my featured picks (for instance, I never knew how happy I could be about a Sleigh Bells album coming out). But despite the discovery aspect, there is still always one album I am pre-excited for before ever setting out to write.

Obviously, in saying that, I mean that this one was it. It’s Ryan Adams, for pete’s sake.

There is just something infectious and great about a good guitar-based album with lyrics that give a damn about life. Ryan Adams even had a great take on Taylor Swift’s entire pop-endeavor in 1989. He’s already proven it with the three lead singles, “Doomsday,” “To Be Without You,” and one of my top picks from 2016, “Do You Still Love Me?” The vocals aren’t whiny, but they’re full of breath. The guitar is top notch. Just try and stop tapping along.

Other 2/17 releases:

Nikki Lane – Highway Queen

Alison Krauss – Windy City

Dams of the West – Youngish American

Release date: 2/24

This one’s a little more mysterious to end the month out on, but probably the most intriguing in regards to collaborations. This is the solo debut of Chris Tomson, the drummer of Vampire Weekend, and it’s produced by the Black Key’s own Patrick Carney. Now that's a pairing, and it kind of makes sense.

It especially comes together if you start listening to the music Damns of the West has created. Sure, it’s reminiscent of Chris’ band, but you hear the slightest Keys influence in it too. This could just bemy ears hearing what they want, but I think it’s due to the production…

I think it’s one to dig on and check out for sure. Isn’t the point of creative works to collaborate and bolster ideas and differences? Maybe we get a cool hybrid of it all here. Maybe it’ll just be a one-time occurrence. Maybe we’re getting into a whole new wave of musical change. Hey, at least people are writing songs.

Other 2/24 releases:

Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway

Thundercat - Drunk