The albums we can’t wait to hear in February

Including new records from Black Country, New Road, Foxes, Big Thief, Khruangbin, CMAT and Avril Lavigne

2021 started slow but we’re finally starting to see a glut of lockdown albums filling the pipeline – with February crowded with huge new releases. From pop-punk and post-rock to Italo disco and the return of New Wave royalty, February carries us out of winter on a crackle of excitement for everything the year has in store.

February 4

Black Country, New RoadAnts From Up There

“Believe it or not, BCNR have only released six songs. Steering the squall of London’s underground post-punk scene to the mainstream with an exhilarating debut LP that bordered on being an exhilarating debut EP, all ears are on the band’s full-length follow-up to see if they can live up to the hype that’s been following since they were nominated for last year’s Mercury. With frontman Isaac Wood departing days before the album’s release, the weight of expectation has never felt heavier.” Paul

The Reds Pinks & Purples – Summer At Land’s End

“Glenn Donaldson’s first album as The Reds, Pinks & Purples came out in August 2019. His fourth arrives this month, meaning he’s averaging a new record every 228 days. That’s impressive enough but the quality of each makes it doubly so. His wistful, sighing indie pop is tailor made for fans of Sarah Records, The Smiths and Belle & Sebastian and fully belongs in such exalted company. Based off the three singles released so far, Summer At Land’s End might be his best yet.” Mark

MitskiLaurel Hell

Mitski Laurel Hell

“There’s nothing as invigorating in life as a song that elicits a visceral reaction. Mitski’s ‘The Only Heartbreaker’ went from a nostalgic shiver (those synths!) to a rush of adrenaline with the bassline and then borderline tears as her voice rises in the chorus. And then you hit repeat and go through it all again. The thing is, everything else she’s released from Laurel Hell has done the same thing. I’m almost afraid to listen to the whole record.” Mark

Cate Le BonPompei

“Born in the verdant fields of South Wales but based in the arid sparsity of Joshua Tree, Cate Le Bon creates songs that exist in their own vibrant and ambivalent plane. Her sixth album Pompeii looks to continue her shapeshifting art-pop craft, with first offerings suggesting wobbly grooves (‘Remembering Me’), house of mirrors harmonies (‘Moderation’) and sunstroke wooziness (‘Running Away’).” John

February 11

FoxesThe Kick

“The upcoming third studio album from English singer-songwriter Foxes was, like many others, due to be released in the early part of 2021. Moving the album out and bumping up the release of her EP means thirst for new music from Foxes is at a high. All written during lockdown, the artist has said that the album is all about freedom and starting anew.” Orlaith

Big ThiefDragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

“It takes guts to call your debut album Masterpiece, but it takes something more to follow through with three successive records that keep on making the same bid for greatness. Brooklyn’s Big Thief have been plying their incomparably fragile/fierce art folk since 2016, but the forced two year hiatus since Two Hands has lent the new release an extra buzz – with tracks like ‘Time Escaping’ and ‘Simulation Swarm’ already teasing a broader, more complex album than we’re used to.” Paul

Spoon – Lucifer On The Sofa

“Last time Spoon released a new album, I went on a bit of a journey that ended with re-buying their whole back catalogue on vinyl, so I’m a little afraid of what this one will bring. Lucifer On The Sofa is full of their trademark, cool-as-hell indie rock, but there’s a swagger here that is pure maximum rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Wild’ might be one of their best yet, a song whose DNA is 90% strut.” Mark

James MorrisonGreatest Hits

“Am I a die-hard James Morrison fan? No. Did he make up the soundtrack for much of my youth? Yes. James Morrison is hitting all the right notes for me with the release of his Greatest Hits album filled with hits including “refreshed” versions” of ‘You Give Me Something,’ ‘Wonderful World,’ and ‘Broken Strings’. The album also includes two new releases to showcase the singers unmistakably raspy vocals.” Orlaith

February 18

Khruangbin & Leon BridgesTexas Moon 

“When Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, two of the smoothest operators around, united back in 2020 for the four track Texas Sun, we knew we were in for a treat. Now the Texan titans are releasing its counterpart, Texas Moon, and though the latest taste ‘Chocolate Hills’ seems to reflect the sleepier suggestions of its title and hypnotic artwork, be sure to expect more irresistibly funky licks.” John

Beach HouseOnce Twice Melody

“Though one of the most anticipated indie records of the year given the dream pop duo’s standing, perhaps Beach House’s eighth album won’t arrive with the final impact of its peers given that three quarters of it has been drip-fed in monthly instalments since last November. Regardless, Once Twice Melody has already evoked towering immediacy (‘Only You Know’) and lingering, deep-rooted growers (‘New Romance’).” John

February 25

King Hannah – I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me

“Debut EP Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine saw King Hannah regularly pigeon-holed with Sharon Van Etten (that voice…) and Kurt Vile (that guitar…), but the tracks released from the band’s first feature-length sound smokier, nastier and much trickier to pin an influence on. There’s an evil alt-Bond song in ‘A Well-Made Woman’ and a halloween stomp to ‘Big Big Baby’, but it all burns slow and confident enough to feel like the start of something really original.” Paul

Superchunk – Wild Loneliness

“The last time we heard from the North Carolina quartet, they were on Trump-induced vitriolic form on 2018’s What A Time To Be Alive. It’s not like much has improved in the world since, but Superchunk sound notably breezier on singles ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘This Night’. Both would suggest that the resurgence they started with 2010’s Majesty Shredding is very much ongoing. If things are going to get better, then Superchunk is the perfect soundtrack to progress.” Mark

CMATIf My Wife Knew I’d Be Dead

“Dublin artist CMAT has quickly grown an incredibly loyal fanbase at home and further afield thanks to her country/pop sound and undeniably lovable personality. On her new album, CMAT pokes fun at her persistence in dating Virgos, embraces 80s Italo disco and gets fans excited for a string of live shows in 2022.” Orlaith

Tears For FearsThe Tipping Point

“Tears for Fears release their first album in 17 years this February. The Tipping Point sees the synth pop pioneers return after a long hiatus marked by personal bereavement and creative obstacles – but they are set to deliver an album both members are excited about. A fan since I was a kid, I’m looking forward to hearing it and to see them touring later in the year.” Phil

Avril LavigneLove Sux

“Avril’s new record is bringing her right back to her pop-punk roots with refined edges. She’s combining the old with the new in collaborations with Blink’s Mark Hoppus and Machine Gun Kelly. The album should be one of the pillars of the alt music revival in the US and UK, so it’s great to see a female act leading the charge, reminding all us elder emos what made us fall in love with the genre in the first place (and reminding us all of our cringe MySpace phases…).” Marie

SpiritualizedEverything Was Beautiful

“J. Spaceman described the experience of making the album like he’d been in training for it his whole life. The first two tracks that have been released, ‘Always Together With You’ and ‘Crazy’, both capture a beautiful solitude – music filled with birdsong as well as 16 different instruments played in 11 different studios. The result is some of the most beautiful sounding recordings that Spiritualized have ever released. A record for all those who thrived in lockdown.” Hannah

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