Though February is the shortest month, it always seems to feel the longest; Winter still grasps on tightly, even though all you can think of is the impending warmth of springtime. Amid the polar vortexes, the piling snow, and the droughts, however, the music released this month helps to escape to a near future of blissful abandon. The summery sounds of St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, and SKATERS remind us of a time that lies just over the horizon. Check out our full list and escape along with us.
Top 10 Songs of February 2014
1. Angel Olsen – “High & Wild”
As one of the standout tracks off Angel Olsen’s brilliant sophomore record Burn Your Fire For No Witness, “High & Wild” shows Olsen struggling with the reality of a failed relationship. “You don’t sing so high and wild,” she sneers at an aloof lover – “You might as well be blind cause you don’t see me anymore.” Angel’s melancholy but powerful vocals are backed by jangling guitars, a loose baseline, and an infectious piano line that make it hard not to hit repeat 15 times.
2. Beck – “Unforgiven”
Beck’s Morning Phase generally sticks to a homogeneous mood, but once “Unforgiven” hits midway through the record, the music veteran’s vision arrives in full-force. The dazed-out sound of this track is a journey worth repeating.
3. Spiritualized – “Always Forgetting With You (The Bridge Song)”
This track is part of the Space Project compilation, a collection of songs that incorporate sounds taken from outer space. Here, Spiritualized crafts a beautiful song about Neptune that embodies the ethereal feeling of being in love.
4. St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”
St. Vincent’s new self-titled album is perhaps her most accessible to date, but without sacrificing her beloved zaniness. Annie Clark is a master of catchy yet complex music, and on “Digital Witness,” it appears she’s made her most convincing push for mainstream success.
5. Karen O & Ezra Koenig – “The Moon Song”
This charming duet by indie rock stalwarts Karen O (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) captures the magic set forth by the soundtrack of Spike Jonze’s Her. The sincerity and beauty in this little folk song leaves us wondering why more films don’t invest as much thought into their soundtracks.
6. SKATERS – “Miss Teen Massachusetts”
New York inspired post-punk and garage rock guitar licks are of no shortage on SKATERS’ new LP, Manhattan. The young band never captures the grit of their inspiration as well as on this cut, though. “Miss Teen Massachusetts” is an anthem that will soundtrack moments of immortality at NYC rooftop parties. It’s the sound of being young.
7. Phantogram – “Bill Murray”
Phantogram are experts in the art of rousing electronic-indie, but on the playfully titled “Bill Murray,” lead singer Sarah Barthel displays just how emotive her vocal range can be. The pulsing synths of this song coupled with the icy backdrop of her voice provide one of the highlights from Phantogram’s breakout album, Voices.
8. Schoolboy Q ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Collard Greens”
The mix of Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar is a fiery one. The combined street-cred swagger of these two budding MCs is pinned against trippy production, perfecting the new formula for of-the-moment hip-hop.
9. Juan Wauters – “Sanity Or Not”
This time around The Beets frontman veers off on his own for the release of his folk pop record N.A.P. North American Poetry. “Sanity or Not” instantly reminds us of the silly DIY attitude that Juan’s fans have come to adore, as he shouts about whether he’s mentally insane or not over a foot-tapping rhythm.
10. Sun Kil Moon – “Carissa”
After listening to the opening track on Sun Kil Moon’s sprawling and painfully honest album, Benji, we were left with one simple reaction: “…Shit.” The heavy-hitting sadness of loss is ingrained into this cut, and after one listen, you’ll find yourself mourning the passing of the title character as though she were a friend.