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10 New January Albums

Paste.com

Happy new year, everybody. As you struggle to keep those resolutions and catch up on all the great music from 2009 you may have missed, remember that the new year means new albums. After all, 2010 isn’t wasting any time. Below are 10 releases to look forward to in its first month (with apologies to Final Fantasy, Basia Bulat, Animal Collective, Los Campesinos! and Beach House, all quality artists who narrowly missed inclusion):

Kanye West – Storytellers CD/DVD[Roc-a-Fella – Jan. 5]
List of the Day excerpt: “We recently learned that Kanye West will release his VH1 Storytellers appearance as a CD/DVD set. As regular Paste readers know, we are big believers in this man’s music. And, indeed, we are already familiar with this Storytellersappearance, and can thus whet your appetite by revealing eight choice bits of Mr. West’s dialogue.” Nick Marino

Vampire Weekend – Contra [XL – Jan. 12]
Review (8.7/10) excerpt from Paste‘s December/January issue, on newsstands now: “Contra…displays a caliber of pop songcraft and melodic intuition that gives The Shins’ James Mercer a run for his harmony…[and] an emotional vulnerability and depth that Vampire Weekend’s darker musical cousins The Strokes always seemed too fashionable to plumb.” Jason Killingsworth

Jason Boesel – Hustler’s Son [Team Love – Jan. 12]
News item excerpt: “Boesel’s spent years drumming in Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes and Conor Oberst’s Mystic Valley Band… Still, having a crack team of collaborators doesn’t hurt. Boesel recruited quite a crew for Hustler’s Son, including Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett, Band of Horses’ Blake Mills, Orenda Fink, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, David Rawlings and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.” Justin Jacobs

Laura Veirs – July Flame [Raven Marching Band – Jan. 12]
Review (8.5/10) excerpt from Paste‘s December/January issue, on newsstands now: “July Flame is carefully composed, ever-deepening, glinting and glowing in new ways each time it’s played; there’s an inkling of something greater coming just around the bend, but for now it’s Veirs’ finest work.” Rachael Maddux

Spoon – Transference [Merge – Jan. 19]
Review (8.5/10) excerpt from Paste’s forthcoming February issue: “While they sound like the veterans they are on Transference, Spoon brings to this perspective the same prickliness and elusiveness that has informed all of its previous albums, and that has attracted devoted fans intent on parsing every word and note.” Stephen M. Deusner

Cold War Kids – Behave Yourself EP [Downtown – Jan. 19]
Forthcoming Paste interview excerpt: “What we wanted as a band was kind of ambiguous, and we were just in a place where we weren’t sure where we wanted to go with it,” Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willett says of the time spent making last year’s Loyalty to Loyalty. “We’re proud of the songs in that record, but where we came out of that was having a much stronger direction and realizing where we needed to go.”Interview by Christina Lee

Various Artists – Crazy Heart soundtrack [New West – Jan. 19]
Although you won’t often find Paste recommending the musical skills of actors Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell, when you throw our 100th favorite living songwriter into the mix, well, that changes things. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the soundtrack to the Bridges-led film (trailer here) includes a countrified mix of originals and classics from the likes of the aforementioned film stars as well as The Louvin Brothers, Townes Van Zandt, Buck Owens and many more. Austin L. Ray

Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing [DFA – Jan. 26]
Best of What’s Next excerpt from Paste‘s December/January issue, on newsstands now: “Free Energy’s debut album, Stuck on Nothing, starts with a cowbell, but really gets going when the good-time electric guitars launch into an extended harmonized solo. [The band’s] fist-pumping rock anthems induce visions of tie-dye and jean vests, beer in red plastic cups, and a general sense of some really memorable Friday night in suburban U.S.A. circa 1976.” Richard Parks

The Magnetic Fields – Realism [Nonesuch – Jan. 26]
News item excerpt: “As a sort of musical renaissance man, Stephin Merritt has come a long way with the Magnetic Fields (amongst other side projects), tweaking fluid pop tracks with his own production expertise and contributing as many instruments as he’s able to play for their past seven full-length albums.” Gage Henry

Patty Griffin – Downtown Church [Credential – Jan. 26]
Review (7.4/10) excerpt from Paste’s forthcoming February issue: “…there’s something about Griffin’s trilling pipes ricocheting through this vast and timeworn sanctuary that paints the album in an otherworldly, eternal hue as she dips deeply into gospel traditions.” Gage Henry

Honorable Mention: Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM [Elektra/WEA – Jan. 26]
Produced and co-written by Beck, you can listen to IRM’s self-titled track here and watch the rather awesome video for “Heaven Can Wait” here.