16 albums to hear in February

Featuring new records from RAYE, Young Fathers, Paramore and Gorillaz

The month of love and pancakes and half term is also very much still the month of not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed-as-it’s-so-bloody-cold-outside. Lucky, then, that so many great bands are releasing albums this February, with some of 2023’s big-hitters coming out strong over the next few weeks.

Here we pick our favourites from the best new records coming out this month.

3 February

RAYEMy 21st Century Blues

RAYE, 070 Shake - Escapism. (Official Music Video)

“Even before she released her 2020 mini-album, Euphoric Sad Songs, RAYE had been working hard on the fringes of mainstream R&B-pop for a while. With the runaway viral success of ‘Escapism.’, it seems the singer-songwriter is finally getting the recognition her biting lyrics and expressive vocals deserve. Singles from her upcoming album range from the R&B confessional ‘Escapism’ to the smooth jazz-infused ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ and understated EDM offering ‘Black Mascara’. With range like this, her debut full-length is definitely going to be exciting.” Caitlin

Young FathersHeavy Heavy

Young Fathers - 'Tell Somebody' (Official Video)

“Anyone who’s seen the Scotish trio Young Fathers live will know of their flawless and genuinely left-field artistic quality. It’s been five long years since Cocoa Sugar but, as the explosive and shimmering ‘Tell Somebody’ signaled, it won’t be long before they’re back in our lives.” John

Shania TwainQueen Of Me

Shania Twain - Giddy Up! (Official Dance Video)

“Shania returns after six years away to deliver the dose of glittery country pop we’ve all been craving. Queen Of Me promises to be a ridiculously feel-good record based on singles ‘Waking Up Dreaming’ and ‘Giddy Up!’, the latter of which is particularly unapologetic in its lack of chill and excess of charm. Here’s hoping the rest of the album is just as joyful.” Caitlin

The Men – New York City

The Men - Hard Livin' (Official Video)

“It’s hard to know what you’re going to get from The Men. Their early albums were dissonant and raw before they suddenly turned into lo-fi Springsteens on New Moon and the semi-ironically titled Tomorrow’s Hits. Since then, they’ve jumped all over the map without warning, constantly wrong-footing listeners. Early singles from New York City range from MC5-esque garage punk to Tom Petty-esque roots rock. The Men do both brilliantly.” Mark

Tropical F*ck Storm – Submersive Behaviour

TFS - Ann (Official Music Video)

“Gareth Liddiard’s Aussie art punks only seem to care about EPs now – releasing their fourth in less than a year. Not that we’re complaining. Here we’re getting (17-minute) Hendrix, Stooges and Slight Return covers, along with the beautiful mess of early single ‘The Golden Ratio’ – the sound of a squall shaping itself into one of the year’s fiercest. It’s not even out yet and the band are already taking potshots at Zayn Malik in the press notes…” Paul

Robert ForsterThe Candle And The Flame

Robert Forster - She's A Fighter

“Go-Betweens co-founder Forster has maintained his considerable reputation through his solo records, but The Candle And The Flame has all the hallmarks of a career highlight. Mostly written following his wife’s cancer diagnosis, the whole album has the feeling of someone trying to figure out what’s happening and why. Opening song ‘She’s A Fighter’ simply repeats the title over and over, like Forster’s convincing himself that it’s enough. Intimate and powerfully personal.” Mark

10 February

Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World

Yo La Tengo- "Aselestine" (Official Audio)

“Life is low on certainties. Death, taxes and great Yo La Tengo records, that’s about it. The New Jersey trio are one of those bands that only release something when they’ve got something that needs to be released. This Stupid World has so far only yielded two singles, but both have been beyond superlatives, not least the drifting Georgia Hubley ballad ‘Aselestine’.” Mark

Mogwai – Mogwai Young Team (Remastered)

“Sure, it’s only a remaster, but do you really need another excuse to hear ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ again? If you do, the promise of a remaster by original engineer Paul Savage ought to do it – along with all the usual collectable bells and whistles that come with fancy rereleases. 26 years young, Mogwai’s debut still sounds like it’s reinventing the post-rock wheel.” Paul

Pearla – Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming

Effort (Official Music Video)

“Brooklyn singer-songwriter Pearla’s breathy tone might be smooth on the ears, but listen closely and there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. Her debut LP is a few years in the making and will no doubt push her up the ranks to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Angel Olsen, Julia Jacklin and Sharon Van Etten.” John

Andy ShaufNorm

Andy Shauf - "Wasted On You"

“The somewhat bashful Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Andy Shauf lets the crisp textures and heart-aching melodies carried in his unique lilt do the talking. On new album Norm, things seem even more hushed, and delicate, making the emergence of synths in the likes of ‘Wasted On You’ and ‘Telephone’ even dreamier.” John

ParamoreThis Is Why

Paramore - The News [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

“There’s something a little understated yet dynamic about the singles Paramore have teased from their forthcoming sixth album This Is Why, from the angular psych-rock of the title track to the Bloc Party-influenced ‘The News’. It all sounds miles away from the colourful art-rock of their last full-length, and it’s got us interested. Very interested.” John

QuasiBreaking The Balls Of History

Quasi - Nowheresville (Official Video)

“Portland indie royalty Sam Coomes and Janet Weis are back with their first Quasi album in ten years, and while Mole City had something of a raw edge, the fiercely titled Breaking The Balls of History seems to have a hi-fi dazzle. Don’t get too comfortable though: tracks such as ‘Nowheresville’ quickly descent into chaotic psych jams.” John

14 February

Caroline Polachek – Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

Caroline Polachek - Welcome To My Island [Official Music Video]

“She’s mystical, she’s witchy, she’s funny, she’s sincere… Caroline Polachek is the picture of the flourishing artist, sure in herself and her sound but just unguessable enough that she keeps you in suspense. The four singles she’s given us so far from Desire, I Want To Turn Into You push her into her most experimental place yet, and there’s no doubt that she’s still got plenty of tricks up her sleeve. February can’t come fast enough.” Caitlin

17 February

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Land Of Sleeper

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Ultimate Hammer (Official Video)

“’Ultimate Hammer’ is the by-product of being trapped in the house and listening to too much ZZ Top, if there is such a thing.” Pigs x7 said of their latest single, a doom-laden lump of immovable stoner metal that’s made to annoy the neighbours. Expect Sabbath-sized riffs, dumpster truck psychedelia and an album that turns up screaming for the pit.” Paul

24 February

Gracie AbramsGood Riddance

Gracie Abrams - Where do we go now? (Official Music Video)

“Gracie Abrams hasn’t even released her a debut album yet, but it doesn’t matter – she’s still one of the leading forces in bedroom pop, a sellout artist with a global fanbase, and an opening act for Taylor Swift’s huge Eras tour in the US this summer. The lead and so far sole single from Good Riddance sees her team up with The National’s Aaron Dessner to deliver what she does best: an excellent piece of confessional pop. I can’t wait to hear whatever else she has to give us.” Caitlin

Gorillaz – Cracker Island

Gorillaz - Skinny Ape (Official Lyric Video)

“Collaborations from Tame Impala, Bad Bunny and the late Stevie Knicks? It can only be Gorillaz, who continue to build on their sound of surprises on eighth studio album, Cracker Island. One of its singles, ‘Skinny Ape’ drifts from Bibio-esque trad revival to some sort of warbled, high-octane nu-rave, so yeah, expect it to be nuts.” John

Neutral Milk Hotel – The Collected Works Of Neutral Milk Hotel

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

“It’s easy to just think of Neutral Milk Hotel as shorthand for indie hype – the ultimate music blog band with the unknowability of Elliott Smith and the literate allure of The Decemberists. Certainly, Jeff Mangum’s reticent stardom and the paucity of available recordings have only created the aura of a band rarely considered as just a band. What this exhaustive Merge Records collection does is remind you that all the hype was for a very, very good reason.” Mark

Tickets are on sale now or soon for many of the names on this month’s list at ticketmaster.co.uk, with a lot of major tours and dates still to be announced this year.