DC February 14 New Release Recap

Call us sentimental saps -- we can take it. It's Valentines Day. And new release day always makes our hearts go aflutter, particularly when there's some great music to be had. For those looking for some heartfelt lovesongs for the day, we'll put With Love from the always wonderful Rosie Thomas at the top of the list. In other less romantic outings, we have the latest from New England alt-popsters Winterpills, Chris Thile's rather incredible acoustic band Punch Brothers and the fine new album from singer/songwriter Drew Nelson. For a sweet retro/pop fix we suggest the debut from Sugar and the Hi-Lows (aka Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup) and for buskery folk/rock from England, the new album from The Dunwells. And lastly, the digital release Seeds from fine Canadian art-poppers Hey Rosetta! (CD come 5/1), something new and blues belter Audra Mae and her Almighty Sound and exquisite trip-hop by Poliça. See the full list with links below...

Rosie Thomas - With Love (Sing-A-Long Records) - We can't think of a nicer possible valentine than new music from the brilliant, witty and completely wonderful singer/songwriter Rosie Thomas... her first new album of original music in four years is all about the transformative and healing power of love -- something the Seattle/New York songwriter knows all about following a two year bout with a thyroid disorder and subsequent severe anxiety...No one can turn a sweet and tender melody into a beatific moment of such achingly sublime intimacy quite like Thomas...more DC

Winterpills - All My Lovely Goners (Signature Sounds) - After 2010's "bedroom affair" EP Tuxedo Ashes, New England's fine, woefully unheralded indie pop band returns with a more fully produced full length of finely crafted, lushly harmonied songs embellished with ambient seques and moods both deep and dark..."we were all pushing ourselves here to make something exciting, emotional, fresh and rocking,” says guitarist Dennis Crommet...the trademark chamber pop melodies and resplendent,entwined vocals that have been Winterpills' hallmark since ' 2005 debut remain happily intact...more DC

Punch Brothers - Who's Feeling Young Now (Nonesuch) - Assembled originally to support Nickel Creek frontman Chris Thile for a 2006 solo project, the collection of virtuoso acoustic players doesn't dwell in anything remotely "old timey" -- this is a completely modern, collaborative effort that often sounds more like swirling, densely layered classical minimalism and genre-blurring songcraft than simply some rural hootenanny. New album , the Brothers' third album and followup to 2010's Jon Brion-produced Antifogmatic, continues the stringed adventure with noted producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon) manning the studio board...more DC

Drew Nelson - Tilt-A-Whirl (February 14, Red House) - Michigan folk/rocker follows up his 2009 independent release Dusty Road to Beulah Land with this "grittier" collection that resides comfortably between the acoustic reflections of John Gorka and the midwestern roots-rock basics of John Mellencamp (or an electrified Nebraska via Bruce Springsteen)...with a Nashville-ian shuffle and distinctive bassline saunter, there's a solid alt-country feel to much of Nelson's rustic, heartfelt ruminations...along with some rich Hammond B-3 chords beefing up the mix, producer multi-instrumentalist Michael Crittendon and Bettye LaVette guitarist Brett Lucas give the proceedings an occasional jolt of electricity...more DC

Poliça - Give You The Ghost - Vocalist Channy Leaneagh and producer/electronica wiz Ryan Olson (GAYNGS) have merged their particular talents for dreamy alt-pop with a subtle, beat-friendly R+B tip with this mesmerizing new album. We knew they must be doing something right when we heard Leaneagh's subtley auto-tuned vocals and didn't have our usual reaction (disgust, dismay, disinterest) -- maybe it's the killer, hooky melodies, maybe it just fits with the whole updated lush trip-hop feel, but for some reason it just works. Bon Iver's Mike Noyce guests on the swirlingly percussive and atmospheric "Lay Your Cards Out"...more DC

Hey Rosetta! - Seeds (ATO Digital) - If you took the concept of "chamber pop" and adapted it in epic fashion for the big stage, you might end up with the music of Newfoundland's Hey Rosetta!. Originally conceived by songwriter/frontman Tim Baker as a way to put substantial meat on the bones of his solo songs, Hey Rosetta! has become one of the finest practitioners of intelligent, vigorous and sonically progressive "big picture" art/rock. With their 2008 album Into Your Lungs, Baker and band crafted a melodic masterwork of substantial heft and full-bodied dramatic power while providing a balance of intimate, intricate arrangements....more DC

Audra Mae - S/T (Side One Dummy) - Oklahoma-born songwriter and roadhouse belter has dramatically sharpened her tone and expanded her sound with the introduction of her band The Almighty Sound on her new self-titled new album. Her 2010 solo debut full-length The Happiest Lamb set the bar high with its jazzy retro feel and dark and moody corners, but this new project practically bursts at the seams with slow-roasted roots/rock power, soulful punch and Audra Mae's husky, ear-grabbing vocals. The soaring, stomping "Ne'er Do Wells" churns with a raw directness, reminiscent of less polished Grace Potter...more DC

The Dunwells - Blind Sighted Faith (Playing In Traffic) - Singer, songwriter and guitarist Joseph Dunwell and his brother David are the namesakes of this Leeds, England band charging headlong down the "Mumford" path of spirited British pub-folk. You can also add in a couple of cousins to the roster for a band that calls themselves "5 best mates" and who have been touring non-stop over the past couple of years, slowing building up a sizable fan base. Debut album , helmed by veteran producer John Porter (Elvis Costello, Ryan Adams) ais led by new single "I Could Be A King." The sound is tight, brisk and drenched in vocal harmonies...more DC

Amos Lee - As the Crow Flies (EP)
Anuhea - For Love
Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound - S/T DC
Drew Holcomb/The Neighbors - Chasing Someday (Deluxe)
Drew Nelson - Tilt-A-Whirl DC
Eisley - Deep Space EP
Emeli Sande - Our Version of Events (UK)
Heartless Bastards - Arrow
Hey Rosetta! - Seeds (US - Dig) DC
Holly Cole - Steal the Night/Live
Howlin Rain - The Russian Wilds
Isidore (Jeffrey Cain/Steve Kilbey) - Life Somewhere Else
Islands - A Sleep and A Forgetting
Keith Moody - Dreaming Out Loud
Kevin Gordon - Gloryland
Lianne La Havas - Forget EP (UK)
Mary Black - Stories from the Steeples (US)
Midnight Lion - Sleeping In the Woods (EP UK)
Phantom Limb - The Pines (UK)
Poliça - Give You the Ghost DC
Punch Brothers - Who's Feeling Young Now? DC
Rob Morsberger - Ghosts Before Breakfast
Rosie Thomas - With Love DC
Shearwater - Animal Joy
Sick Friend - The Draft Dodger
Isidore (Steve Kilbey/Jeffrey Cain) - Life Somewhere Else
Sugar & The Hi-Lows (Trent Dabbs, Amy Stroup) - S/T DC
Tennis - Young and Old
The Dunwells - Blind Sighted Faith DC
The Explorers Club - Grand Hotel
The Soft Hills - The Bird Is Coming Down To Earth
Winterpills - All My Lovely Goners DC