Best things we heard in February

Sam Atkins: A stacked release month full of exciting albums from artists I know very well and some that are new to me. I loved the return of personal faves like Shania Twain and P!nk, while the first albums from Skrillex in a decade are genuinely good and I’m not taking the piss when I say that.

There are two specific records I want to shout out, Raye‘s 21st Century Blues felt like a true debut album from someone who was continually told she wasn’t allowed to release a thing. I’ve only enjoyed it more and more since my review at the start of the month.

I also need to shout out country star Kelsea Ballerini whose Rolling Up The Welcome Mat EP is probably her best work to date. Really diving deep into a messy divorce and having to go through that in the public eye, songs like ‘Penthouse’ and ‘Blindsided’ are her greatest achievements as a songwriter. Getting to see her debut some of this EP on her first proper UK tour this month was definitely a highlight.

Tom Burrows: Those new releases are starting to ramp up. Kelela released Raven, an album I wrote about in our most anticipated albums top 10. It’s a subtle record which I’m still at the ‘admire’ stage rather than the ‘enjoy’ one. ‘Let It Go’ is a beauty though.

The month’s true highlights were individual songs for me. Indigo De Souza‘s ‘Younger & Dumber’ is an emotive stunner. Liv.e‘s ‘Wild Animals’ deploys piano in a gentle and beautiful way while eviscerating terrible men. And going much further back in time, the use of Funkadelic‘s ‘The Song Is Familiar’ in the finale of Atlanta was devastating.

If there’s one new album I’d recommend, it’d be U.S. GirlsBless This Mess. Few people do social commentary bangers like Meg Remy does, and my favourites on the album include a song about a personified tuxedo and one mourning the death of a rainbow. Sounds insane, but check it out

Rick Larson: This month saw good releases from veteran alternative stalwarts like Yo La Tengo, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Go! Team (much more on that one soon.) The best thing I heard was from another band with an over decade -long resume: Algiers with Shook. This album is an urgent, soulful manifesto of creating hope out of hurt. With a host of guest artists (including the prolific billy woods on the electrifying ‘Bite Back’), the Atlanta band combines post-punk, gospel, funk, hip hop, spoken word into a complex, rich stew. The commanding vocals of Franklin James Fisher stir the pot. Bracing stuff.

Also, on February 12, 2023, Rihanna ruled the Superbowl. As a bartender in New Orleans once cryptically told me, “RiRi must be protected at all costs.”


James Spearing: I didn’t find the time to listen to much new music in February. But even if I had, the outcome would still be the same. That’s right, as Fran already mentioned (threatened?), PBs is once again temporarily turning into an Anna B Savage fan site. in|FLUX is here and we are very happy about it. And once again following a Fran review of an album on the site (we’re agreeing far too much at the moment) I’ve got little more to add than just to go and listen to it yourself!

Matt Paul: Well most of the month I’ve been listening to Screaming Female‘s new album on repeat. Desire Pathway is big and anthemic alt-rock. And it really hits because Marissa Paternoster’s voice has so much weight. I haven’t been able to get enough of them since we first covered them all the way back in 2018

Beyond that, the Algiers album Shook was a real standout. Industrial and moody. Full of ideas and executed really well to create an urgent and engaging listening experience. Even if it is a little unsettling. Oh and if you haven’t heard it enough already: you should listen to in|FLUX by Anna B Savage. It’s pretty damn good. 

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