What is it about February and new music?

Practically speaking, much of it likely has to do with not wanting to get lost in the pre-holiday white noise and giving enough time to recover from the slackening of attention that follows, but it’s nice to think of it as the creativity of the year slowly coming out of hibernation, giving some gigantic bear yawn before bounding out into the world, renewed and ready to do it all again but better.

And this month’s mixtape reflects just that, featuring the return of some of our favorite artists—Merrill Garbus’ Tune-Yards, whose just-release fourth album stands as her poppiest and perhaps strongest to date; Canadian musician Cecil Frena, who previously performed under the moniker Born Gold, and, before that, Gobble Gobble, and of whom we are very fond; Danielle Johnson AKA Danz AKA Computer Magic with her sophomore full-length out later this month (though, to be fair, she’s put out 10+ EPs and singles collections in the US and in Japan out over the past eight years; we did a now-old interview with Danz that still holds up for the interested); Sydney’s Middle Kids, who will celebrate their debut full-length in May; Philly’s most excellent Hop Along, who have a new one coming out in April; and, maybe most exciting off all, the long-awaited return of Wye Oak, with whom we kick things off.

Ever being ones to push our musical universe outward, we’re also highlighting many a newcomer, including Cape Town’s Amy Ayanda; the solo project of Columbus, Ohio’s Frances Litterski, Effee; NYC electronic duo Satellite Mode; Berlin-based artist O-SHIN; Queen of Smooth, Wafia, who’s based either in Australia or up the street (as with most musicians these days); some highly emotive electronic music from two more Australians—What So Not (AKA Emoh Instead AKA Chris Emerson) featuring a favorite find of 2016, Sydney musician BUOY; Manchester four piece New Luna with something catchy and promising; the very excellent undergrad Sidney Gish (we’ve got an interview with her we just did and should be posting next week); and Dublin band Cloud Castle Lake, whom we were lucky enough to catch earlier this week with an intimate set at Hotel Cafe, during which time our minds were fucking blown.

Honestly, if at least one of these bands doesn’t end up being your new favorite, we’re terrible at our jobs…technically being running a creative agency, but, in this case, consider us your new music sherpas. Please enjoy.