Forget January; February is when music heats up - A look at what 2014 will bring

By DYLAN BROWN of Inland360.com

click to enlarge Broken Bells are indie rockers Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the Shins.
Broken Bells are indie rockers Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the Shins.

The music world is gradually rousing from its Christmas coma. Bad Religion’s surprisingly traditional holiday album has been returned to its shelf with the same sense of confusion it was taken down with. Aside from Beyonce making waves with her iTunes album drop to end 2013, this year is taking a bit to get rolling, but here are a few exciting albums due out in 2014.

Broken Bells: “After the Disco” (Out Feb. 4)

The Shins frontman James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse reconvene for their second album and from the sounds of the single, “Holding On For Life,” an eerie apocalyptic resurrection of the Bee Gees, it will be one heck of a post-period piece.

Beck: “Morning Phase” (Out Feb. 14)

If the performance of “Wave” done live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is indicative of the hype surrounding the 12th record from the “Loser” alternative rock icon, it will be more like the well-orchestrated loneliness of “Sea Change” than the deranged garage rock of “Odelay.”

Sun Kil Moon: “Benji” (Out Feb. 11)

In “Ben’s My Friend,” acoustic guitar man Mark Kozelek, who named his current musical outlet after champion Korean lightweight boxer Sung-Kil Moon, sings about his friendship with Death Cab For Cutie leading man Ben Gibbard. He makes the mundane passage into middle age a remarkably frank, funny and intriguing segue into his new album.

Drive-By Truckers: “English Oceans” (Out March 4)

Southern but not aggrandizing Southern rock, country but not smarmy twangers, the Drive-By Truckers are like the perfectly flawed characters in their songs — the cheating pastor, the family in “Thanksgiving Filter.” They’re proud, vulnerable and ready for their 10th studio album.

Sam Smith: “In the Lonely Hour” (Out May 26)

Riding the ripple of “Latch,” a single from 2013 darling’s Disclosure’s No. 1 record, the Brit soul man ventures out on his own with singles like “Lay Me Down,” leading up to May’s debut.

Tycho: “Awake” (Out March 18)

With “Awake” already making the online rounds, expect to be swimming through more of the warm ambient tones that made producer Scott Hansen’s 2011 album “Dive” such a joy to fall into.

Brown may be contacted at dbrown@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2278. Follow him on Twitter @DylanBrown26.

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