New music.

After what seems like an eternity of no new releases from bigger-named recording artists, the next few weeks hold some potentially good stuff in store, like...

January 25 sees the release of not one, but two Bright Eyes records, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. How old is Conor Oberst now, 14? It's not in any way depressing that someone so young can make such intelligent music. And it's especially not depressing when he puts out two albums at once. Stereogum (who apparently won't link NB but no worries, dude, no worries) has "Landlocked Blues," a fantastic duet with Emmylou Harris, posted.

February 22 brings with it The Beekeeper, a new disc from everybody's favorite redhead crazy, Tori Amos. The nail seemed to be in the musical coffin with the trifecta of From the Choirgirl Hotel, To Venus & Back, and, most unfortunately, Strange Little Girls. But then Scarlet's Walk featured some very interesting yet accessible tunes, with "Gold Dust" being one of the best Tori Amos tracks since the early days. However, track titles like "Martha's Foolish Ginger" and "Hoochie Woman" are definitely cause for concern.

Also on February 22, Josh Rouse follows up the most excellent 1972 with Nashville. People have compared him to the Smiths, Belle & Sebastian, Nick Drake and others, though none of them quite applies. His music is definitely singular and full of wonderful, infectious melodies. And Nashville happens to be the name of one of the best movies ever made in the history of the universe, so it has to be good.

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