DC February 26 New Release Recap

We've been scrambling to try and keep on top of all the fine releases hitting this week and despite our best efforts we're still coming in late and, frankly, a bit short. Just not enough hours in the day, as they say. Still, we've got plenty to offer up including the long-awaited debut Mutual Friends from the German/Swiss female duo BOY, the latest from Swedish alt-poppers Shout Out Louds, Colyn Cameron's excellent Wake Owl debut Wild Country and Miracle Temple, the magnificent second album from Mount Moriah. But wait -- that's not all! If you act now, you also get Ed Harcourt's Back In the Woods, the full-blown label release of Ivan And Alyosha's All The Times We Had and the latest from Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. Also on tap: new music from The Mavericks, Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace and A Place At the Table, the soundtrack collaboration by The Civil Wars and T Bone Burnett. Check out our features, links to stream and peruse the full DC list below...

Ed Harcourt - Back Into the Woods (February 25, CCCLX) - Sixth studio album from the praised British tunesmith is a self-described "restoration project where you find all this incredible wallpaper lurking behind the wood paneling"...if 2010's Lustre had a more epic scope in style and production, Woods is a true "solo" album, stark and uncluttered, the result of a six-hour recording session at London's famed Abbey Road Studios with Harcourt accompanying himself on piano or guitar...After a few years of observing his "go to" status as one of the best collaborative co-writers out there, it's great to hear Harcourt dig deep into his own personal repertoire...while the economic nature of these rather naked recordings lends a "demo" quality to the production, the bare-bones style actually ends up bringing Harcourt's formidable gifts into sharp focus...more DC

Mount Moriah - Miracle Temple (February 26, Merge) - Eagerly anticipated follow up to the North Carolina based band's brilliant self-titled debut, an album we described as "acoustic, ragged and worn in just the right places, turning on a dime to frayed, majestic rock edges"...Miracle Temple's dozen new songs find founding members Heather McEntire (vocals) and Jenks Miller (guitar) -- who co-produced with Mark Nevers -- expanding their folk/rock foundations with an assured and steady vision, incorporating regional "new south" alt-country elements with a modern, if subtle, indie edge...There's a profound 3am intimacy taken to a larger, wide-screen scale on DC faves like "Younger Days", "Eureka Springs" and superbly cinematic album closer "Telling the Hour"...Our take: easily one of 2013's best albums...more DC

The definitely non-boy Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass are BOY, a Hamburg-based duo armed with a bundle of smart, often breezy alt-pop songs on their well-received debut album Mutual Friends, already released in Europe and the U.K. and now hitting the U.S. this week. After meeting up at music workshop in Hamburg, Steiner and Glass began writing and performing together and then, over a nearly two and half year period, laying down tracks in Berlin at the home studio of producer and multi-instrumentalist Philipp Steinke. "We made about 10 versions of most of the songs," says Sonja. "So they have evolved over the course of time. And some of them have ended up sounding completely different from the way they began"...more DC

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Good Light (February 25) - Nashville songwriter Holcomb marked two major events since the release of his fine 2011 album Chasing Someday: his 30th birthday and the birth of his first child Emmylou with wife (and bandmate above) Ellie -- both helping define the attitude and feel of his new songs...Says Holcomb: "This album perfectly tells the story of this new stage in my life"..."Good Light mixes full-throttle Americana music with an introspective singer / songwriter approach. It sounds like the South. It sounds like Tennessee." -- American Songwriter...more DC

Performing songwriter Colyn Cameron is creative principal at the core of Wake Owl, a Vancouver folk/rock collective that's been creating some critical waves and solid buzz up north since the release of their excellent 2011 debut EP Wild Country in Canada. Since we first tipped you to Wake Owl last April, Cameron has signed to Vagrant here in the U.S. and Wake Owl will make its first stateside appearance with the digital release of Wild Country on January 29 (CD will follow February 26). The loose and limber strumfest is kicked off by the stately title track, the jangle of guitars and toe-tapping 4/4 pulse setting the stage for Cameron's multi-tracked harmonies with a whiff of 70's Laurel Canyon incense...more DC

Fourth album Optica (February 26, Merge) from Sweden's alt-popping Shout Out Louds finds the band looking to follow up their fine, frill-resistent 2010 album Work with what they describe as an "eagerness to please no one but ourselves this time around." Where Work found frontman/songwriter Adam Olenius and SOL working with respected indie producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins), Optica was recorded over an 18-month period at an intimate Stockholm studio and produced by the band themselves with "sixth man" and engineer Johannes Berglund...more DC

Treading down the lonely, desolate introspective folk path blazed (quietly) by the likes of William Fitzsimmons and the more subdued side of Damien Rice, 24-year-old London songwriter Keaton Henson delivers his scathing, bruised tales of lament in a whispered tone. A graphic illustrator by trade who has suffered from severe panic attacks, Henson has nonetheless found his own quavering voice with a series of haunting songs that arrived last year with his acclaimed debut album Dear...(The Guardian: Henson's "private agony is proving addictive"). Second full-length Birthdays (February 25 UK, April 9 U.S.) comes on the heels of last fall's "Sweetheart What Have You Done to Us", an EP with an eerie, echoing title track that created some serious critical and bloggy angst-fest buzz, diehard fans picking apart his forlorn lyrics and professing major love-osity...more DC

Ivan and Alyosha began rather simply five years ago as Seattle duo Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbury, singer/songwriters who swiped their name from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. After releasing a pair of promising EP's -- The Verse, The Chorus from 2009 and the last year's excellent Fathers Be Kind -- and expanding to a foursome, Ivan and Alyosha are ready for their close-up with All The Times We Had, a rather infectious and unpretentious fan-funded full length that was self-released in August for a blink of they eye and is now slated for full national rollout February 26 via Dualtone. Co-produced in collaboration with keyboardist/engineer Chad Copelin, All The Times We Had doesn't veer far from what we've described as "gloriously hummable and inventively twisty melodies intact to stand up to the most meticulous retro comparisons...more DC

Forgive us for sensing what we thought was a uniquely chilly Scandinavian vibe from Brighton-based British songstress Marika Hackman. Maybe it was the name. Or perhaps the distant, detached style that marks the songs from her forthcoming debut EP That Iron Taste. Whatever it is, Hackman's particularly bleak, world-weary approach has caught the ear of a number of Brit critics and radio types and drawn comparisons to Nico and Syd Barrett of all people. Like the works from those enigmatic legends, Hackman's songs have a dark underside of mystery while exposing an edge that's more serrated than scalpel sharp...more DC

DC February 26 Releases:

10,000 Maniacs - Music from the Motion Picture
Amanda Brecker - Blossom
Ana Moura - Desfado 
Atoms For Peace (Thom Yorke) - Amok
Bloc Party - Truth EP (UK)
BOY - Mutual Friends (U.S.)
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Good Light
Duologue - Song & Dance (UK)
Ed Harcourt - Back In the Woods (UK)
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell  - Old Yellow Moon
Escondido - The Ghost of Escondido
Gold Fields - Black Sun
Hadden Sayers - Rolling Soul
Ivan & Alyosha - All The Times We Had (Label Release)
Jesse Dee - On My Mind/In My Heart
Joan Armatrading - Starlight
Johnny Marr (Smiths) - The Messenger
Justin Hayward - Spirits of the Western Sky
Karine Polwart - Traces (U.S.)
Keaton Henson - Birthdays (U.K.)
Kieran Ryan - S/T (3/1 AUS)
Marika Hackman - That Iron Taste EP
Mark Seymour & The Undertow - Seventh Heaven Club (3/1)
Misty Miller - Girlfriend EP
Mount Moriah - Miracle Temple
Mozart's Sister - Hello EP
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - International Magic Live at the O2 (DVD)
Shout Out Louds - Optica
Sally Shapiro - Somewhere Else
Steafan Hanvey - Nuclear Family
Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) - The Raven That Refused to Sing
Sunshine - S/T
Syd Barrett - Opel/Barrett/Madcap Laughs Reissues
Taddy Porter - Stay Golden
The Civil Wars & T Bone Burnett - A Place at the Table Soundtrack
The James Hunter Six - Minute By Minute
The Mavericks - In Time
Tim Chaisson - The Other Side
Various - Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin Tribute)(CD)
Wake Owl - Wild Country EP (U.S.)
Wayne Hancock - Ride
Woodpigeon - Thumbtacks and Glue (UK)