10 Albums To Watch For in February

New releases from Van Halen, Air, Mark Lanegan, Too Short, Sleigh Bells and more in store!

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud


We've got the leap-year jitters over here, because a whole lotta awesome is on the slate for release this month! Check out the ten most anticipated album releases for February 2012 below!


Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth (February 7)

A Different Kind Of Truth is Van Halen's first original studio album with singer David Lee Roth since the band’s classic multi-platinum album 1984. It's a true return of the ’80s cock-rock overlords, a screaming triumph for the feathered-hair dreamers who held on through a cinematically epic series of lineup changes, band implosions and shifting tides of musical fashion. That old familiar feeling has returned, the unique flare of excitement that comes from a muscle car rhythm section led by a six-string wizard and a singing sexual megalodon with an ego that made Kanye look like a kid flaunting his new Spider-Man underoos – and the pipes to back up the strut.

A Different Kind of Truth will be remembered as evidence that a band can endure every cliche in the book and return, with the right focus, obsessed dedication and mojo, to a sweet spot of rejuvenation – one that holds the hand of nostalgia but doesn’t go for the full embrace, leaning instead, wisely, toward evolution.

Read our review of A Different Kind of Truth.


Mark Lanegan Band — Blues Funeral (February 7)

It’s been eight years since the release of the incredible Bubblegum album, and while Lanegan’s been active in the ensuing years – he’s worked Queens of the Stone Age, Greg Dulli as Gutter Twins, and Isobel Campbell, among others, there's a special kind of excitement reserved for the man's solo work – particularly because six-string wizard Alain Johannes is his chief collaborator on the record.

If Death were a man of blood and bone, romantic notions would lead a wager that he'd have a voice akin to Mark Lanegan's – hypnotically magnetic, a whiskey-in-the-ashtray grit with supernatural depth. Lanegan's quality consistency leads us confidently through a spectral variety of sound that few other artists can convincingly achieve. His haunted romance and midnight hymns have reached new heights on Blues Funeral, and we're happily chasing the hearse down that old dirt road, once again.

Read our review of Blues Funeral.


Air — La Voyage dans la Lune (February 7)

Every new release from Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel is an exciting leap of ethereal soundscapes and enchanting scope. With Moon Safari, Talkie Walkie and The Virgin Suicides holding a firm grip on the term "modern classics," we now see the duo enter their French short film adaptation phase: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon) is a classic silent film by revered French director Georges Méliès, released in 1902. This legendary 16-minute film is widely considered one of the most important works in film history, and the very first to use science fiction as its theme, incorporating special effects that were very state-of-the-art at the turn of the 19th century. Spurred on by their work on this short movie, AIR decided to develop the project into a full album inspired by the film.


Of Montreal — Paralytic Stalks (February 7)

The band’s label promises their new release to be full of “dark ruminations on human existence, revenge, self-hatred, and [Kevin Barnes's] relationship with wife Nina,” while song titles include “We Will Commit Wolf Murder,” “Spiteful Intervention,” and “Exorcismic Breeding Knife.” Casually.


Field Music — Plumb (February 14)

Critically adored British brother act Field Music return with another indie-pop bag of tricks, one that's continuously surprising in its quality caliber. The first two singles, “(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing” and “A New Town,” are soulful and catchy as all hell. Keep en eye out for these guys.


Cursive – I Am Gemini (February 21)

The Saddle Creek stalwarts have announced the release of their seventh full-length album as a high-concept story of the surreal tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head.

Recorded in the summer/fall of 2011 at Omaha, NE’s ARC Studios and mixed at Red Room in Seattle, WA with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus The Bear, Isis), I Am Gemini is reportedly Cursive’s musically heaviest in years, which is quite literally music to our ears.


Sleigh Bells — Reign of Terror (February 21)

Sleigh Bells are back, and the atmosphere seems ripe for the Brooklyn noise-pop outfit to rise to new heights after making a strong impression on their 2010 debut, Treats. Guitarist Derek Miller (formerly of hardcore band Poison the Well) and singer Alexis Krauss are leaning more into the realm of intricate songwriting and production this time around, and If the deceptively pleasant “Comeback Kid” and balls-out power of “Born to Lose” are any indication, Reign of Terror is on track to kick 2012 right in the ass.


KiD CuDi & Dot Da Genius – WZRD  (February 28)

KiD CuDi's long awaited collaborative album with producer Dot Da Genius under the WZRD moniker is finally on the release slate, an exploration of new sonic territory between the two. Preview sounds have been promising, and anything CuDi sets his mind to generally turns to gold, so we're on board with this one. Also expect a tour for the band in 2012, kicking off in Europe before heading back to the States.


Too $hort – No Trespassing (February 28)

Bay Area and Hip-Hop legend Too $hort's 19th studio release will feature 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, and E-40, as well as Twista, Devin The Dude, Kokane and Richie Rich. The album is being promoted as "sonically more diverse" than recent projects, but never fear – "'bitch, suck my d—' anthems are balanced out by reflections on relationships, life and Harley Davidsons," according to the press release. Not to mention that the album features song titles like 'Respect The Pimpin',' 'Shut Up Nancy,' 'Boss,' 'Porno Bitch,' and 'Hog Ridin'.'


E-40 – The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil (February 28)

E-40 has announced plans to release three full length LPs in 2012, under the title The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil. 40 Water explained that the trio of LPs will all drop on the same day – February 28 – with a special edition triple pack following later in the year. The man is truly a one-man moneymaking army, as he's now an independent artist without any label or liaison responsibilities. No middleman means centralized power, which means we've got some fire to look forward to. The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil series is set to feature Brotha Lynch Hung, YG, T-Pain, Raheem DeVaughn, 2 Chainz, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle and the Hieroglyphics crew.