February is all about music, award shows and things getting ‘Darker’


Here are some of the best and highest-profile new releases in music, movies, TV and more on the horizon in February. As always, dates are subject to change without notice.

1. Lift to Experience, “The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads” (Mute)

Once upon a time (and they always did have a “once upon a time” feel to them), there was a band from Denton called Lift to Experience. They were a band once, and now they are again. Sort of.

Part gospel as imagined by the son of a Texas Pentecostal preacher, part shoegaze as imagined by guys who listened to a bunch of My Bloody Valentine, part pure Texas weird, Lift cut a cult-like swath in the late ’90s Texas underground. The band came together around singer/guitarist Josh T. Pearson and bassist Josh Browning in 1996, releasing an EP in 1997 with a pal on drums. That friend bounced and they hooked up with Andy “The Boy” Young on drums, played extremely loud shows and worked on “The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads,” a deeply odd concept album about the end times, Texas and the fact that USA was the center of the word “Jerusalem.”

Eventually released mere months before 9/11 on Bella Union, the then-young British label run by Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie, the double-disc “Texas-Jerusalem,” with its weird Pen and Pixels-ish cover and unflattering mix, never completely hit as hard as it should have. But its end-time feel made it a cult classic for a certain generation of sensitive young person.

The band fell apart soon after its release. Pearson did odd jobs, struggled with various demons and put out a few solo records. Seeing him opening for My Bloody Valentine at Austin Music Hall was somehow as weird as seeing MBV itself. Young played in Western Arms, with Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, and the Flowers of God. Browning plays bass in the Fort Worth outfit Year of the Bear.

Last year, Lift was invited by Garvey to play the Meltdown Festival in London and a couple of warm up gigs in Texas, including one at the Barracuda last June.

And, now, months after it was announced, Mute has finally gotten around to reissuing “Texas-Jerusalem” both remixed (the band never liked the original mix) and remastered. It will be available digitally first, on vinyl and as a deluxe vinyl box set, which will feature the band’s April 15, 2001, Peel session and the ’97 EP. The LP and box set formats also come with a download for the original mix. (Digital version out Feb. 3, LP and box set later this year.)

2. “Powerless” (NBC). Instead of being a melodrama on the CW about a superpowered being, this superhero show from the DC Comics/Warner Bros. empire is a sitcom on NBC about the folks who try to protect us little folk from the damage superheroes cause. It stars Danny Pudi, Ron Funches and Christina Kirk. (Feb. 2)

3. Surfer Blood, “Snowdonia” (Joyful Noise). Singer/guitarist John Paul Pitts and drummer Tyler Schwarz have rebuilt Surfer Blood after the death of guitarist Thomas Fekete, who died of cancer last year. (Feb. 3)

4. “Santa Clarita Diet” (Netflix). This new comedy stars comedy vet Drew Barrymore and comedy newcomer Timothy “Justified” Olyphant as suburban married real estate agents to whom something comical and horrific happens that changes their lives … forever! (Feb. 3)

5. “Legion” (FX). Austinite and Fargo creator/showrunner Noah Hawley executive produces this Marvel Comics show starring Dan “Downton Abbey” Stevens as the schizophrenic son of Charles Xavier. Co-starring Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Katie Aselton, Jemaine Clement and Bill Irwin. The first run will only have eight episodes (which, quite frankly, is what “Luke Cage” and the second season of “Daredevil” should have had). (Feb. 8)

6. Lupe Fiasco, “DROGAS Light” (1st & 15th / Thirty Tigers). This new album from the hip-hop sensation features guest spots by Ty Dolla $ign, Rick Ross and Big K.R.I.T. (Feb. 10)

7. Chuck Prophet, “Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins” (Yep Roc). The Americana singer-songwriter returns with a “California noir” partially inspired by the lonesome death of Bobby Fuller. (Feb. 10)

8. Dua Lipa, “Dua Lipa” (Warner). The debut album by the British-Albanian pop singer/model. (Feb. 10)

9. Tinariwen, “Elwan” (ANTI-/Epitaph). The new record by the most famous Tuareg band on the planet features guest appearances by Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan, Matt Sweeney and Alain Johannes. (Feb. 10)

10. “Fifty Shades Darker.” Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan return as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in this sequel to 2015 epic “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is one of the funniest movies of this decade (probably not intentionally). (Feb. 10)

11. “John Wick: Chapter 2.” I am apparently the only action-movie-enjoying critic on the planet who wasn’t taken with the Keanu Reeves picture “John Wick,” but I am looking forward to this follow-up. Will the dog survive “Chapter 2”? We’ll see how it goes. (Feb. 10)

12. “The 59th Annual Grammy Awards” (CBS). James Corden hosts. Who will make political statements as they get their little gold phonograph? Possibly everyone.

13. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO). Sure, the final season of “Girls” also starts on this night, but much more importantly, the best news show on television (OK, other than “Frontline”) is back! (Feb. 12)

14. Ryan Adams, “Prisoner” (PAX AM/Blue Note/Capitol). Well, Ryan, if you want to make an allegedly 1980s-rock-inspired album, getting Don Was to produce it is certainly the way to go. (Feb. 17)

15. Alison Krauss, “Windy City” (Capitol). The Americana goddess’s first solo LP in 17 years is a collection of covers. I was hoping for an album of just complaining about Robert Plant. Ah, well. (Feb. 17)

16. Robert Randolph & the Family Band, “Got Soul” (Sony Masterworks). The pedal steel master hangs out with Darius Rucker, Anthony Hamilton and Cory Henry on this, the band’s first album since 2013. (Feb. 17.)

17. Dirty Projectors, “Dirty Projectors” (Domino). First music since 2012 for this act, which is probably just pretty much guitarist/songwriter David Longstreth at this point. Word has it it’s a breakup album about former bandmate Amber Coffman (who has her own solo record coming out later this year). Solange, Tyondai Braxton, Mauro Refosco and Dawn Richard all guest star. (Feb. 24)

18. The Feelies, “In Between” (Bar/None). Man, all the old folks are putting out records. This is the second album this decade and sixth LP overall for these indie rock godfathers, who celebrated their 40th year of existence in 2016. (Feb. 24)

19. Old 97’s, “Graveyard Whistling” (ATO). New music from Ryan Adams and these Americana lifers in the same month? Somewhere, Statesman music critic (and former “No Depression” co-editor) Peter Blackstock is firing up the turntable. (Feb. 24)

20. “The 89th Academy Awards” (ABC). Jimmy Kimmel hosts. Who will make political statements as they get their little gold statue? Possibly everyone. (Feb. 26)



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