DC January 29 New Release Recap

A lengthy and typically esoteric mix of releases this week: powerhouse singer Trixie Whitley, daughter of legendary guitarist Chris Whitley, releases her Fourth Corner debut, Fiction Family -- Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek -- return with their second album Reunion, Swedish songstress Elin Ruth comes stateside with her new eponymous release and Ben Harper teams up with famed harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite for a raucous and soulful album of blues/rock. Also out this week: Tegan and Sara's heavily pop makeover Heartthrob, new music from eclectic Austin singer/songwriter Aimee Bobruk, the U.S. debuts from Vancouver alt-pop trio Hey Ocean! and Brit folkie Lucy Rose, the Rumours Deluxe Edition (and box set) from Fleetwood Mac, a lovely new album from Irish singer Heidi Talbot and the self-titled debut from California (sm)art/pop trio Yellow Red Sparks. See the full release listing and DC features (with links to music streams and more) below the jump...

Since the release of his groundbreaking 1994 debut, Welcome To The Cruel World, Ben Harper has been raising the bar for modern blues artists, dragging the form kicking and screaming into the 21st century while remaining true to its cherished roots. In fact, it was at a legendary meeting many years ago that Harper first jammed with blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite. “It all goes back to that John Lee Hooker session,” Harper says. “Even John Lee mentioned it, saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, you guys…that’s good...You should stay with that. Do that.’” Harper and Musselwhite have been friends and musical compatriots ever since, with each making appearances on the other’s solo albums...more DC

It’s hard to believe it’s already been four years since we first crossed paths with Fiction Family. Co-founders Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek met several years back when their respective groups performed at San Diego’s annual Street Scene festival. The two prolific performers started swapping song ideas and recorded Fiction Family’s self-titled debut exclusively on their own, but when it came time to take the show on the road, they “adopted” bassist Tyler Chester and drummer Aaron Redfield and now the Family classifies itself as a full-fledged four-piece...more DC

After four well-received albums and numerous radio hits, Swedish singer/songwriter Elin Ruth packed up and headed to New York City where she looked to take a breather and rekindle her creative spark. She returned empty handed and frustrated artistically but she did find love (and future hubby) -- and thus a reason to move back to NYC. Her songwriting was also inspired along with her desire to play live and Elin Ruth -- who dropped her last name Sigvardsson in the process -- has been finding her way in the new surroundings, playing local clubs and readying her fourth album as a self-titled American debut...more DC

In possession of a voice that The New York Times has described as "both awestruck and tender", former Cherish the Ladies member Heidi Talbot returns with her fourth solo project Angels With Without Wings (January 29, Compass), a lovely album of modern Irish folk that bridges traditional influences with a more modern songwriting approach. Talbot continues to marvel as both accomplished singer and, more recently, songwriter, working with longtime friend and writing partner Boo Hewerdine as well as cowriting new songs with Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote). In addition to her own band led by husband and producer John McCusker, Angels also brings in an impressive array of accomplished guests to the studio including legendary guitarists Mark Knopfler and Jerry Douglas...more DC

California songwriter Joshua Hanson expands his songs with the help of Goldy (drums and vocals) and Sara Lynn (upright bass, piano, vocals and banjo) for Yellow Red Sparks, a trio specializing in slightly askew cinematic alt-pop songs with a strong folk-sy streak. Following up a pair of digital EP's, Hanson and crew release their self-titled full-length January 29 led by the completely winning new chamber-pop songcraft of "Monsters With Misdemeanor" and "Yellow Red Sparks." Produced by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly) and mixed by Grammy award winner Ryan Hewitt (Avett Brothers) the Yellow Red Sparks debut longplayer delivers timeless-sounding adult (sm)art/pop with the trio's special brand of harmony-rich melodies and Hanson's droll lyricism...more DC

The Danger of Light (1/28 UK), the third album from Switzerland's Sophie Hunger, is as diverse, bold and adventurous as we've come to expect from this extraordinary -- and sadly underexposed -- performing songwriter. Recorded in Europe and the U.S. and produced by Adam Samuels (Daniel Lanois, John Frusciante), Hunger taps into her background in jazz, classical and theater to deliver an array of artful and dramatic songs in mostly English with a few in German and French...more DC

To say that Austin-based songwriter Aimee Bobruk likes to color outside of the lines, musically speaking, would qualify as a pretty serious understatement. It's not surprising that Bobruk, who cites silent movies, painting and cartoons as influences, named her January 29 album after the phonetic spelling of her name -- /ba:'brook/ -- this is an musician who brings a distinctive visual focus to her art, as if she wants to see what others might hear...more DC

Aimee Bobruk - /ba.’brook/
Amor de Días - The House At Sea
Ancient History - Tracks
Being There - Breaking Away (UK)
Ben Harper/Charlie Musselwhite - Get Up!
Biffy Clyro - Opposites
Blue Sky Riders (w/Kenny Loggins) - Finally Home
Buke and Gase - General Dome
Charlie Winston - Running Still
Dale Watson - El Rancho Azul
Ducktails - The Flower Lane
Elin Ruth - S/T
Emmy Rossum - Sentimental Journey
Eric Burdon - Til Your River Runs Dry (U.S.)
Fiction Family - Reunion
Fionn Regan - The Bunkhouse Vol. I: Anchor Black Tattoo (UK)
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (35th Anniv. Deluxe Edition)
Frontier Ruckus - Eternity of Dimming
Heidi Talbot - Angels Without Wings
Hey Ocean! - IS (U.S.)
Indians - Somewhere Else
Jacob Jones - Good Timin' In Waynetown
La Big Vic - Cold War
Leagues - You Belong Here
Lisa Loeb - No Fairy Tale
Local Natives - Hummingbird
Lucy Rose - Middle of the Bed (U.S. EP)
ON AN ON - Give In
Onward Chariots - This Is My Confession
Radar Brothers - Eight
Sophie Hunger - The Danger of Light (UK)
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood/30th Anniv. Ed. (1/29)
Tegan and Sarah - Heartthrob
The Ruby Suns - Christopher
Trixie Whitley - Fourth Corner
Yellow Red Sparks - S/T
Y La Bamba - Oh February (DIG EP)