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Most Anticipated Records of February 2022

February has already started and there is so much to look forward to. Album cycles are seemingly back to normal as the prospect of touring emerges in the early fall. There are a slew of new records to get excited about for this new year. Here I’ve focused on one record for each release day of February. Stick around for the honorable mentions.

February 4th

Black Country, New RoadAnts From Up There (Experimental, Post-Rock)

The news is out, Black Country, New Road’s singer has departed from the band. After the release of For the first time, the bands debut, the music community was abuzz with praise. It’s a verbose exploration of folksy post-rock. Fans of Slint and Godspeed! Will find a lot to love here. More contemporary threads can be drawn to fellow Londoners Black Midi. The addition of a violin and a saxophone to traditional rock instrumentation has untethered the band from traditional rock tropes. Something about a cacophonous breakdown with a scraping violin bow adds special grit. While there is a lot going for Black Country instrumentally, Vocalist Isaac Woods’ shoes will not be easily filled. His lyrics were delivered with such personal attachment it’s hard to think anyone else would take on his duties. Songs on For the first time are loose, they feel wild-caught rather than orchestrated. Woods’ performances emphasize these qualities greatly. His departure has led to much speculation for the band. Ants From Up There which was released this last Friday, less than a week since Woods’ announced his departure. Fans will be paying special attention to this record since it was written and recorded with Woods. Even more to stew on is the departure announcement also confirmed that the band would be continuing forward without their original vocalist. Its a dramatic start to the year to say the least.

February 11th

Big Thief Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (Indie, Folk)

The next Big Thief record is sure to be one that people are talking about all year. It already felt like anticipation was building for what this band would do next after releasing two albums in the same year back in 2019. The new double album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You is a feature-length endeavor with a runtime of 81 minutes. This is by far the longest single release for Big Thief with past records clocking in around 40 minutes. Prepare yourself for a generous helping of folksy meditations. Such a prolific generation of new material is par for the course in the streaming landscape, but what sets Big Thief apart is the intentionality of their music. While they may release a lot of music there remains an air of intentionality in the songs. The band feels like it is still exploring facets of their sound. A bounty of 8 singles can already be heard on all platforms. While I wouldn’t call myself a Thiefhead (criminal?), these songs are fresh and I am excited to hear them in the context of the full record after stocking up at the concessions.

February 18th

…And So I Watch You From Afar Jettison (Math Rock, Post-Rock)

Do you like to rock? Yes?! Then I’m excited to introduce you to ASIWYFA what I believe to be the epitome of Instrumental math rock. The first record of theirs I ever listened to was their sun-worshiping All Hail Bright Futures which is infectiously optimistic. Guitar lines have never been so catchy. Their powerful riffs can stand alone but occasionally get an extra boost from gang vocals and the occasional “woo!”. The guitars here are shreddy and fun without coming off as arrogant. A lot of the riffage is mathy or overlaid on syncopated drums adding intricacy to their raucous sound. It’s obvious that FUN is a tenant of this band’s ethos. The post-rock classification maybe muddies the water because they certainly stand apart from the vast melancholia of the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and possess a way less serious attitude than Explosions in the Sky. Post-rock plays much more of a structural component here, they’re maximalist instrumental style morphs from part to part building to huge crescendos or opts to maintain incredible energy for 6 minutes straight. You’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for a soundtrack to a slow motion sports montage with inspirational quotes over the top. The 2011 record Gangs will rock your socks without much verbalization. I would also emphatically recommend the self-titled record which opens with the explosive guitar anthem “Set Guitars to Kill”. I know I just spent this whole section not talking about Jettison, but this band rocks and I’m stoked on a new release.

February 25th

Blood Incantation Timewave Zero (Ambient Death Metal)

An ambient death metal record, or maybe better put an ambient record created by a death metal band. The moment I heard about this mashup I was intrigued. I can’t say much about Blood Incantation. I’ve been aware of them since their 2019 release Hidden History of The Human Race. It’s packed with shreddy guitars and blasting drums in a very cosmic landscape. It’s not really my bag but I understand the appeal. I caught the first half of their Matinee set at Beat Kitchen on their run with Primitive Man back in December. I was admittedly devoted to seeing Primitive Man only, but respectfully bore witness to Blood Incantation who was headlining. Compared to PMs glacial onslaught Blood Incantation is a lightning storm. They have an extreme style and that is why the prospect of an ambient album is intriguing. At the time of this writing, I have yet to hear any indication of what Timewave Zero will sound like. The band has spoken briefly stating that they have distilled key components of their sound by “…stripping away the Metal and emphasizing the Dark, Cinematic, and exceedingly Cosmic atmosphere our music is known for.” (Pitchfork). I expect to hear the embodiment of only the deepest darkest caverns of space.

P.S.

If you’re looking for other heavyish Ambient music, I would recommend a particular Sun O))) release entitled Pyroclasts from 2019. I’d argue that Drone is like heavy Ambient music.

What are you excited for this month?

Honorable Mentions

  • Animal Collective, Time Skiffs
  • Beach House, Once Twice Melody
  • Circa Survive, A Dream About Death
  • Joywave, Cleanse
  • Mitski, Laurel Hell


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