DC January 15 New Release Recap

Not exactly a heavyweight week for releases though, as always, we find a few things to strike our fancy. Yo La Tengo's Fade is already being heralded as one of the veteran indie band's best, Erin McKeown gets her political ya-ya's out in a big way on the blistering and brilliant Manifestra, L.A. band of singers and songwriters The Rescues are back with the wonderfully titled Blah Blah Love and War and the roots-rocking couple of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland -- aka Whitehorse -- get an official stateside release of their excellent second album The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss. On the other side of the pond, U.K. neo-folkie Al Lewis prepares his Battles and Ireland's critical darlings Villagers release the quite amazing {awayland}. Also up: something new from singer/songwriter Seth Glier (more about him soon), a teaser EP from Willy Mason, the 12-12-12 star-studded Sandy Relief charity CD, Dolly Varden's For A While and the fine soundtrack to the civil rights documentary West of Memphis. See our selected title features below, link to stream tracks and see the full list of titles below...

It should come as no surprise to learn that acclaimed songwriter Erin McKeown had decided to chuck the whole label thing and go it alone. Or that she would fully embrace her political activism in her songwriting. As she puts it, "Everything had to change." Forthcoming fan-funded January 15 album Manifestra -- a word she coined to describe "a clear action from a female perspective" -- promises to flex those newly independent creative muscles, gathering up a slew of lyrically charged songs and finding some able creative and studio support from guests like Anais Mitchell, Ryan Montbleu, David Wax Museum and even TV punditress Rachel Maddow...more

Adrianne Gonzalez (AG), Kyler England, Rob Giles, and Gabriel Mann are all L.A.-based singers, songwriters and seasoned solo performers. When they join forces they're also The Rescues, a singing/songwriting band specializing in exuberant and sophisticated pop/rock songs that exhibited a pronounced Fleetwood-Mac-ian flair. Now after a rough patch of soul-searching and bewilderment with the "business" of music and free of label constraints and pressures, The Rescues have regrouped for a long-awaited fan-funded album Blah Blah Love and War...more

To say that Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland of Whitehorse possess a certain chemistry would be to state the obvious. The two Canadians have, after all, been married since 2006. But the duo's appealingly raw and rough hewn second album The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss (Six Shooter), summons a special sympatico to their own particular varietal of roots rock that goes beyond any romantic ties. Together they combine for a potent mix of simmering alt-country and roots/folk wrapped in Doucet's razor sharp guitar lines and the pair's vibrant harmonies...more

Welsh Music Prize nominee Al Lewis crafts songs that are proudly, unapologetically old school, a fond throwback to a time when U.K. folk merged with crisp pop production, when songs like "Year of the Cat" and "Tea For the Tillerman" emanated from 70's college dorm rooms and car radios. The 28-year-old songwriter's third album Battles has already garnered praise for it's refined but refreshingly direct pleasures drawing on equal measures of artisan skill and heartfelt sincerity. In a stroke of luck, Lewis was able to travel 4000 miles to record his new songs with producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars) at the helm, a pairing that brings the project a luxuriant acoustic atmosphere...more

reat performances -- a worthy cause. It doesn't get simpler or better than that with the 12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief at New York City's Madison Square Garden to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. To continue the effort, Columbia Records will release a specially-priced 24-track album of the benefit's best moments on January 15 including tracks from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Who, Roger Waters, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Chris Martin of Coldplay. And who doesn't want Adam Sandler's version of "Hallelujah"? All proceeds of the digital album and a minimum of $6.50 per CD album will go to the relief fund...more

More DC New Releases:

Aly Tadros - The Fits
Anita Baker - Only Forever
Blaudzun - Heavy Flowers
Brave Baby - Forty Bells
Christopher Owens - Lysandre
Dolly Varden - For A While
Green Day -  ¡Tré!
Jared Salvatore - Compass Out
Kate Armiger - Fall Into Me
Plantman - Whispering Trees (UK)
Serafina Steer - Moths Are Real (UK)
Seth Glier - Things I Should Let You Know
The Capsules - Northern Lights & Southern Skies

Willy Mason - Don't Stop Now EP
Villagers - {awayland} (UK; US: 4/9)
West of Memphis - Soundtrack
Various - 12/12/12: Concert for Sandy Relief
Yo La Tengo - Fade