Shopping List: Seven ‘February 18’ Albums You Should Consider Purchasing


Ah, another week and the necessity for new music.  February has been a slow month, particularly last week’s scant choice of releases.  The three most notable releases last week included two country music artists Eric Church (The Outsiders) and Frankie Ballard (Sunshine & Whiskey), as well as a more underrated R&B release from British singer Daley (Days & Nights)This week isn’t exactly stacked, but there are seven new releases worthy of your consideration, particularly if the music collection is becoming a bit uninspired! 

1

Candice Glover

Music Speaks

19 Records

R&B 

81hOVzIzucL._SL1500_After much delay, American Idol season 12 victor Candice Glover drops her debut album Music Speaks, led by single “Cried”.   Unfortunately, season 12 could be described as a ‘bust’ (at least in my eyes), so there isn’t a great amount of buzz surrounding this album.  Still, Glover possessed a powerful voice; don’t sleep on it!

2

Phantogram

Voices

Republic

Alternative/Electronic 

51p3B1Z95sL

My sole experience with indie-pop duo Phantogram (Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel) involves a Flaming Lips song called “You Lust” in which the duo guests.  If their work on that track is an accurate preview, sophomore album Voices their first album in five years – could be something special.  On their official Facebook page, Phantogram’s music is described as “a mix of organic and electronic sounds, with swirling guitar, spaced out synths, and chopped up samples and rhythms.” Sounds right up my alley! 

3

Cole Swindell

Cole Swindell

Warner Music

Country 

81XCKteKIXL._SL1425_One of my flaws as a music journalist as of late has been not giving enough love to country music – shame on me! I missed an opportunity with the release of Eric Church’s The Outsiders last week, the biggest music release last week, as well as Frankie Ballard’s Sunshine & Whiskey, but I’ll make sure I give Cole Swindell some press. Why – well he’s a newbie.  It is always difficult to breakthrough, particularly in the crowded market of country male singers.  Think about it folks, how many new country male artists have come and tried to dint the charts? Additionally, there seem to be fewer country female artists lately for whatever reason.  Regardless, Cole is the latest artist looking for a breakthrough.  

4

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Half the City

Single Lock Records

R&B

61lsC3OlbXL._SL500_AA280_Don’t let folks tell you that soul is dead – it ain’t. St. Paul & The Broken Bones, a Birmingham, Alabama based sextet, releases their soulful debut, Half The City on Tuesday.  There is a distinct difference between soul and contemporary R&B; his band is about the authenticity of soul.  Kudos St. Paul, kudos.

5

Talib Kweli

Gravitas

Javotti Media

Hip-Hop/Rap 

51CJao5-QfL._SY300_In recent times, rapper Talib Kweli hasn’t exactly lit up the charts (2007’s Eardrum Warner Bros. album did manage a no. 2 bow on the Billboard 200), but he keeps on releasing albums.  This year, following 2013’s Prisoner of Consciousness, TK releases GravitasWith a shortage of rap in 2013 – until the big-time Schoolboy Q release on February 25th – TK might just be the album to tide rap fans over.  

6

Noel Gourdin

City Heart Southern Soul

Shanachie

R&B 

817zTHyGpdL._SL1500_Underrated as albeit, Noel Gourdin quietly releases his third album, City Heart Southern Soul via Shanachie Records.  Gourdin’s previous efforts came courtesy of two different labels – major label Epic and indie powerhouse eOne.  Gourdin is no household name and likely will never achieve such status, but having personally reviewed his previous two LPs, I can attest to the fact that Gourdin is no slouch.  The man can sing!  Don’t sleep on him either!

7

Lost in the Trees

Past Life

Anti

Alternative

41PomL1OndL._SY300_Who exactly is Lost in the Trees?  Lost in the Trees is an indie-rock/pop group led by Ari Picker.  The group’s 2012 LP A Church That Fits Our Needs was an exceptional album that tackled the topic of Picker’s mother’s suicide.  Sure it had its sad moments given the heavy topic, but it was masterfully done.  One of the year’s most underrated and overlooked albums, A Church That Fits Our Needs truly showed off Lost in the Trees’ musicianship and incredible potential, blending sound compositional technique and exceptional lyricism.  2014 effort Past Life certainly has a tough act to follow, but it’s definitely worth checking out to see what this creative collective comes up with.

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