DC February 19 New Release Recap

A paucity of big names this week and one of the most noted -- Emeli Sandé -- isn't even being released in the U.S. (yet). Still, a relatively worthy batch of releases from the Aussie-bred (sm)art pop of Tarmac Adam (yes, they're named for the tarmac surface on runways -- did you know it was patented?), the aforementioned Brit superstar Ms. Sandé (she had the biggest album of 2012 in the U.K.), Midwest folk/rocker Samantha Crain and the surprisingly rough-hewn and rather appealing Americana-styled collaboration of Anders Parker and Kendall Meade. We've also got Canadian power-pop quartet Two Hour Traffic and the deep dense electronica (with amazing vocals) from Minneapolis singer Aby Wolf. Also out this week: Atlas Genius, Bobby Long, Jamie Lidell, Mark Kozelek, Nick Cave, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside and the Sin Fang offshoot from Seabear. Check out our features below with links to listen to music streams along with our full DC list of new releases below (with artist site links)...

Emeli Sandé - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (CD/DVD) (February 18 UK, US: TBA) - Heavily favored to win a Best Album Brit Award tomorrow night for Our Version of Events, this breakout Scottish star remains relatively unknown on this side of the pond despite some high-profile U.S. TV and showcase events...Our Version of Events became an event unto itself, skyrocketing to #1 in the U.K. and ending up as the best selling album of 2012 while the album's title track was lodged in the Top 10 for forty straight weeks...Sandé's remarkable rise began with a songwriting deal and it is her sophisticated, nuanced approach to the craft -- along with the ability to construct a memorable pop hook -- that elevates her music and these impressive live performances...more DC

Tarmac Adam - The History Effect (2/19) - A mere decade after releasing their debut Handheld Torch, the Aussie duo of songwriter Matt O'Donnell and multi-instrumentalist Steve Paix return with a dozen spry and accomplished (sm)art-pop songs...It's no wonder that Nick Seymour of Crowded House reprises his sideman role in Tarmac Adam -- both outfits favor the sweet melodic punch of a nicely turned out three-and-a-half minute song...One of the album's finest tracks, the wistful "You As Me", is lush and lovely throwback to an era when shimmering guitar lines, ticking percussion and some sweet vocal interplay (with Down Under singer/songwriter Maddy Hay) are all that's required or desired...more DC

Samantha Crain - Kid Face (February 19, Ramseur) - Third album of Americana-tinged folk/rock from the 25-year-old Oklahoma-raised songwriter follows up her acclaimed 2010 album You (Understood), a conceptual project with each song representing one particular personal interaction...Kid Face again mines Crain's uncluttered and assured songwriting and storytelling craft matched perfectly with a spare, no-frills production, courtesy noted Bay Area performer and studio maven John Vanderslice...Few of Crain's contemporaries can match her innate talent of marrying astute and sympathetic observational character-studies with simple yet compelling melodies...more DC

Anders & Kendall - Wild Chorus (February 19, Nine Mile) - Anders Parker and Kendall Meade have been friends and musical cohorts for well over a decade but the raggedly appealing Wild Chorus is their first shot at a real collaboration...“From the second we started planning and then from the moment we started writing, I knew it was going to work,” says Kendall...Scott Minor, who had played with Meade in Sparklehorse, produced the project (the album takes it's title from Minor's Knoxville, Tennessee, studio)...There's a distinctive nostalgic aura throughout the album's eleven folk/rock tracks, from the Byrds-ian jangle and harmony (and mighty fuzztone denouement) of "Dreamers On the Ground" to the SoCal 70's pop feel of the aptly titled "Across The Years"...more DC

Two Hour Traffic - Foolish Blood (February 19) - Canadian band revels in a resurgence of classic power pop with their new Blood, combining the energy of 70's punk and new wave with a bracing shot of retro Brit Invasion melody, harmony and shiny guitar riffs...An altered lineup and a new producer Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, the Sadies, the New Pornographers) finds the band focusing to an even greater degree on a sound unfettered by trendy indie rock hipness. Lead track "Last Star" is a good example of what the band's bio refers to as "upbeat pop bangers" or what we called "crisp three-minute songs that sound like they've been found on some stray cassette under the front seat of your best friend's car." Stream "Audrey" after the jump and the full album at the band's site...more DC

With her remarkable vocal range and distinctive style, Minneapolis' Aby Wolf has never felt the need to be tied down to any one specific genre, instead embracing and exploring everything from stripped acoustic folk to deep, dense electronica and that special Twin Cities hybrid of modern R+B/funk with a hip-hop tip -- all with an adventurous flair for intriguing vocal arrangements. New February 19 album Wolf Lords finds the singer working alongside noted local songwriter, producer and beat-master Grant Cutler -- and now fellow Wolf Lord, it would appear -- and lead track "Permission" dives into the swirling Bjork-ian deep end of dense synthesized backing and dazzling electronic beats. It's anthemic pop splendor highlighted by Wolf's incandescent singing and caught in a slo-mo time warp, a soaring hymn that almost sounds too big to be contained by mere kilobytes. Organic? Hardly. Impressive? You bet...more DC

DC New Releases for February 19:

Aby Wolf - Wolf Lords
Anders and Kendall - Wild Chorus
Atlas Genius - When It Was Now
Beat Mark - Howls of Joy
Big Wreck - Albatross
Bobby Long - Wishbone
Cathy Heller - Breaking Free
Concrete Knives - Be Your Own King
Darwin Deez - Songs for Imaginative People
Emili Sandé - Live @ The Royal Albert Hall (CD/DVD UK)
Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) - Helen Burns EP
Inc. - No World
Jamie Lidell - S/T
Josh Kumra - TBA (UK)
Leddra Chapman- The Crowds and Cocktails (UK)
Mama Kin - The Magician's Daughter (2/22 AUS)
Mark Kozelek - Like Rats / Live
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
Psychic Ills - One Track Mind
Robben Ford - Bringing It All Back Home
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside - Untamed Beast
Sam Shelton - Reservoir
Samantha Crain - Kid Face
Sin Fang (Seabear) - Flowers
Susan James - Driving Towards the Sun
Tarmac Adam - The History Effect
The Apprentices - Light A Match (2/22 AUS)
The Slide Brothers - Robert Randolph Presents
The View - Cheeky For A Reason (U.S.)
Todd Clouser's A Love Electric - The Naked Beat
Two Hours Traffic - Foolish Blood