In Praise of Shadows is a delirious dreamland of soulful vocals, D'Angelo-ish guitars and muted electronic beats. Its fourteen tracks are a contemplation on "the balance of light and dark, the painful things you have to heal from or accept, that bring you through to a better place," says the 25-year-old Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen. "It's about finding light in darkness - and realising that it's what got me here today."
Witching Hour (February 5), is redolent of American roots music soundscapes, rich with fiddle and mandolin and powerful, coursing tunes that are both philosophical and playful as they reflect on new parenthood and the swaying beauty of day-to-day life.
Witching Hour found Marlin and his band returning to The Butcher Shoppe studio — originally founded by the late legend John Prine — which had a long history and reputation as a proving ground for great Nashville sessions. It was where Andrew had recorded his first instrumental album Buried in a Cape. “The Shoppe’s recording engineer Sean Sullivan called me up saying the studio was closing and being turned into a condo,” Marlin says. “He asked if I wanted to make a record before they closed. We went in there and kind of went for it. It definitely felt like a last hoorah kind of vibe.” The studio’s history echoes throughout Witching Hour, which buzzes with an electric energy, whether it’s on the raucous and jubilant “Hawk Is A Mule” or the atmospheric, meditative passages of “Fireflies and Fairydust.”
On their third Smithsonian Folkways album, titled “Puentes Sonoros” (Sonic Bridges), Grammy-winning band Quetzal traverses past and present, rural and urban, Mexico and the United States. They draw from both their East L.A. rocker origins and their decades-deep engagement with the son jarocho, one of Mexico’s most prominent region-rooted folk musics, to establish their own voice of the here-and-now. The album, out February 12th, 2021, interlaces dreamlike audio memories of people, places, and experiences in the rural heartlands of Veracruz, Mexico, with a range of original creations—some reflective, some boisterous, and all a driving juggernaut of rhythmic forward motion.
Jim Keller has announced By No Means, his first studio album in seven years, will be released on February 12. Produced by Mitchell Froom (Randy Newman, Crowded House) and featuring Los Lobos legend David Hidalgo on guitar and an ace rhythm section of Michael Urbano (Todd Rundgren, John Hiatt) and Bob Glaub (Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon), By No Means contains eleven new original tracks, marking the next chapter in one of music’s most unique careers.
Over the course of their extraordinarily accomplished discography to date, Django Django have constantly headed left where others have gone right. Described by The Guardian as “capable of making music that sounds close to perfection”, they are known for their genre-defying eclectic sound and their new album Glowing in the Dark heralds, once again, the beginning of a thrilling new era for the band.
New Orleans rapper Pell announces glbl wrmng vol. 1 — a new conceptual project out February 19th. GLBL WRMG is a new NOLA-centric collective launched by Pell and music professional Nate “Suave” Cameron of 20+ local artists and producers including Malik NinetyFive, Jzzle, Jelly of Tank and the Bangas, Lil Iceberg, Kr3wcial, and more. glbl wrmng vol. 1 is an ode to the strength and resilience of their beloved hometown and emphasizes the city’s heroic survival.
“I wanted to make records with all my hometown friends that didn’t have to be just Pell records that could showcase the talent of New Orleans and what we had to offer,” Pell says. “I wanted to executively produce this record and then give us all something to call back on whenever we were on the road or outside of the city so that we could keep connecting and building together.”
Coming out on February 19, Fable & Fire — despite being an instrumental record — is as emotionally raw as anything Marlin’s done before. Recorded at Asheville, NC’s Echo Mountain Studio, its scope is grand and introspective as it reflects on the storm of the last year. Says Marlin: “Amidst global trauma, it’s difficult to feel like your own experience is unique and relevant. The record is a sonic account of how the journey within has no destination. It’s like looking at the stars and knowing you’ll never touch them, or believing in magic and seeing it for what it isn’t. This is my most honest work to date and without saying anything it somehow says it all. “