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Posted at 4:38 PM ET, 02/ 3/2009

February Mixtape

By David Malitz

After the dreary touring months of December and January, things pick back up in February. There's plenty of variety packed into 28 days. Want blissed-out electro-pop? Check out Passion Pit at the Black Cat. A young R&B star ready to go from big to BIG? Ne-Yo is for you. Zydeco royalty? C.J. Chenier at Wolf Trap. Outlaw country cool? Kris Kristofferson closes the month at Sixth and I Synagogue. Five choices here, 15 more after the jump.

"Sleepyhead" - Passion Pit (Feb. 3, Black Cat)
This blog buzz band describes its sound as "blissed-out, euphoric pop that uses a lot of electronics." As we told you yesterday, the show is not sold out.

"R.L. Burnside" - Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm (Feb. 3, Iota)
Drummer Cedric pays tribute to his grandfather, the late blues great R.L. Burnside, with this appropriately gritty number.

"Aeon" - Antony and the Johnsons (Feb. 3, Sixth and I Synagogue)
Antony Hegarty's voice is one of the most unique and expressive instruments in music today.

"For Every Drop" - Sonya Kitchell (Feb. 4, 11, 18, Jammin' Java)
The not-quite-20-year-old singer-songwriter has a maturity beyond her years, but that doesn't mean she's boring.

"Ain't No Reason" - Brett Dennen (Feb. 6, State Theatre)
This singer-songwriter's mostly fluffy and agreeable pop songs could make him the next Jason Mraz. Y'know, if that's your thing.

"Owen's Heart" (video) - The Laughing Man (Feb. 7, Velvet Lounge)
I caught this band on inauguration night at the Brightest Young Things 92-hour party and was immediately intrigued by the moody, minimal arrangements and vocals. Imagine a more stripped-down, ragged version of the Walkmen and you might be close.

"Come Saturday" - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Feb. 9, Black Cat)
Holy C-86! Leave it to resurrected Slumberland Records to find this New York band that hits every indie-pop/shoegaze sweet spot there is.

"Doves and Stones" - Gary Louris and Mark Olson (Feb. 10, Birchmere)
The two songwriters who formed the core of Americana faves the Jayhawks have reunited to make more tuneful, slighty twangy alt-country.

"Slipped Dissolved and Loaded" - Lambchop (Feb. 11, Black Cat)
The Nashville group specializes in highly-nuanced country-soul-chamber rock. Not too many other bands can claim that.

"Dounia" (YouTube video) - Rokia Traore (Feb. 12, Wolf Trap)
The Malian singer-songwriter shines on this slow-building dirge that deftly mixes and matches sounds from multiple continents.

"Mount Hope" - Pygmy Lush (Feb. 17, Black Cat)
Not all hardcore bands would switch things up and attempt to make an album of ramshackle front-porch folk. And that's probably for the best. But Pygmy Lush did just that and the results are all as pleasing as this 90-second ditty.

"Throw Your Hands Up" - The So So Glos (Feb. 17, The Red & the Black)
This New York group does its best to channel the Clash and ends up with a bratty, catchy, screamy punk tune that probably sounds best in a tiny club.

"Miss Independent" (YouTube video) - Ne-Yo (Feb. 18, Constitution Hall)
I include this one because it's one of 2008's better singles, but also because Julia would have my head on a stick if I didn't.

"I Got a Woman" - C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band (Feb. 18, Wolf Trap)
A member of zydeco's royal family charges through a high-octane live version of the Ray Charles classic. More washboard!

"Knickerbocker" - Fujiya and Miyagi (Feb. 19, 9:30 club)
"Vanilla, strawberry, knickerbocker glory." After listening to this insistent electro-rocker you'll have that line stuck in your head for a long while even though you won't have any idea what it actually means.

"Anywhere But Here" - Cross Canadian Ragweed (Feb. 25, Birchmere)
If you like a little bit of country and a little bit of rock-and-roll, check out this perennial buzz band on the roots circuit.

"Plate Tectonics" - The Old Ceremony (Feb. 26, Iota)
This Raleigh, N.C., group regularly gigs at Iota, where it will celebrate the release of its new album, "Walk on Thin Air," a collection of smart, "pop noir" songs.

"Fear" - Benjy Ferree (Feb. 28, Black Cat)
The best local album of the year? It's certainly the early leader. Ferree leaves the dusty folk-rock behind for a glammed up, T. Rex-inspired sound on "Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee."

"Un Dia" - Juana Molina (Feb. 28, Iota)
You can hear elements Tropicalia and the African trance music made famous (you know, relatively speaking) by Konono No. 1 in this addictive track from the Argentinian singer.

"This Old Road" (YouTube video) - Kris Kristofferson (Feb. 28, Sixth and I Synagogue)
The outlaw country star/actor/general badass proves that he's still got it on this somber title track from his most recent album.

By David Malitz  | February 3, 2009; 4:38 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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suggestion for next month's mixtape: harvard grads d.a. wallach and maxwell drummey of chester french. i've been a fan for over a year now, and their debut album will be coming out in the spring. a must hear!

'people' is my favorite although right now their single is 'she loves everybody' (heard on entourage a couple years ago).

Posted by: silvergurl | February 6, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

ooops. should be in april's mixtape. chester french is coming to 930 in april.

Posted by: silvergurl | February 6, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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