Four artists to listen to in February

Kat Sampson

If you are going to have a bad month this year, make it February. It is the shortest month, often Austin’s coldest month and — for certain lonely singles — the saddest month. Whether you are celebrating love or sulking in isolation this Valentine’s Day, these artists have songs that touch on any emotion you
might experience. 

HAIM

This sister-turned-rock trio is right where they need to be. Despite having only one album under their belt, the Los Angeles natives had a year that would make any successful musician proud. HAIM spent 2013 and 2014 headlining musical festivals, such as Coachella, Austin City Limits and Glastonbury, and traveling for their Days are Gone tour. 

2015 looks even brighter for Este, Danielle and Alana Haim. For starters, the band was nominated for its first Grammy in the Best New Artist category, though they ultimately lost to Sam Smith. 

HAIM's latest fan? Taylor Swift. Swift recently announced via Instagram that HAIM will open for her on the 1989 tour.  

The trio’s album is loaded with ’80s pop-rock breakup songs perfect for a Valentine’s Day spent alone and perfect for contemplation generally.

Artists you might like — MS MR, Stevie Nicks, alt-J

Listen to Haim perform "The Wire": 

 

Sufjan Stevens

Not many musicians can pull off releasing psychedelic Christmas remixes or performing an hour-long set while donning fairy wings. The Detroit-born Sufjan Stevens did both and did them well. Next month, Stevens releases his seventh studio album, Carrie & Lowell, under his stepfather’s record label Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

It’s been five years since Stevens’ last non-Christmas album was released and fans are ravenous for his return. The 39-year-old has a strong following in Austin and tickets for his Bass Concert Hall show on May 12 sold out in minutes. At his best, Stevens’ songs are heavily instrumental and take a poetic and original look at topics of love and faith. 

Artists you might like — St. Vincent, Iron & Wine, Grizzly Bear

Watch the official album trailer for "Carrie & Lowell" now:

 

Bob Dylan

Tuesday marked the release of Bob Dylan’s thirty-sixth studio album, Shadows in the Night. Now available with an AARP discount on Amazon, Dylan’s album compiles ballads considerably slower than the songs that made him famous,  such as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Hurricane.” Some have argued that the slower, quieter pace of this album emphasizes Dylan’s weak vocals, but I’d argue the opposite. His voice is sweet like a grandfather’s who sings lullabies to his grandchildren (although at his worst, Dylan sounds like a tired Frank Sinatra or a Leonard Cohen cover artist). 

Luckily, the enigmatic crooner still has music in him, and, in an industry marked with record company debacles, Dylan still makes music with the label that put out his first album — Columbia Records.  

Artists you might like — Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell

Listen to Bob Dylan perform "Stay With Me," from his newest album:

 

Chaz Bundick

Chaz Bundick simply doesn’t stop. The 28-year-old formed his first indie band in high school and has since performed consistently under the stage names Toro y Moi and Les Sins. After releasing a number of albums as Toro y Moi, he took a break and spent the second half of 2014 touring and promoting Les Sins’ first album, Michael. The side project allowed him to explore electronic dance music without alienating his Toro y Moi fans. 

Last month, the South Carolina native announced his fourth studio album as Toro Y Moi. The album, What For?, featuring groovy, British ’60s-style pop song “Empty Nesters,” drops April 7. Bundick has hinted at eventually returning to his job as a graphic designer. For now, we should take all we can get from the indie-pop-chillwave-funk wunderkind. 

Artists you might like — Metronomy, Washed Out, Blood Orange 

“Empty Nesters” — Toro Y Moi

Listen to Toro Y Moi's "Empty Nesters":