The Runout Grooves with John Earls: Arlo Parks interview, plus previewing Foo Fighters and Slowthai
Each fortnight, leading music journalist John Earls goes deep on new releases, examines the latest vinyl issues and talks to a rising new star.
Release The Tracks - the pick of the next fortnight's new albums
While January had excellent albums from Arlo Parks, Shame and Bicep, it's taken until February for 2021's first huge name to release an album.
After first working with big-hitting pop producer Greg Kurstin on Concrete And Gold, Foo Fighters have gone even poppier on Medicine At Midnight. It's their most upbeat album in years, living up to Dave Grohl's promise that he wanted to make an upbeat record despite reaching his fifties. Bonus points if you can spot the musical influence of Level 42, which Grohl and Taylor Hawkins have also been citing. Pre-order Medicine At Midnight here.
In the six years since The Staves' previous album, the Staveley-Taylor sisters have endured enough relationship heartbreak and family loss to fill a triple album. You'd wish for calmer times to inspire their next record, but gorgeous atmospherics make Good Woman their richest, most haunting album yet. Pre-order Good Woman here.
Loosely part of the South London scene that spawned Shame, Fat White Family and Goat Girl, it seems to have taken an age since their initial EP for Black Country New Road to release debut album For The First Time.
More concise and less sprawling than their wonderfully unpredictable live shows, there's still a dizzying range of styles here. An album bearing repeated listening, you'll have a blast detecting Tindersticks, Bill Callahan, The Fall, Belle And Sebastian and even They Might Be Giants, making an intense album that's worth the wait. Pre-order For The First Time here.
Ten albums in, Sunn O))) are still discovering new territories. Vocals! Drum machines! A Metallica cover! It's still doomy and hypnotic, of course, but Flight Of The Behemoth is relatively playful and as good a place as any for newcomers to start. Pre-order Flight Of The Behemoth here.
February 12 is led by Slowthai's return. After the spot-on depiction of modern Britain on his Mercury-nominated debut Nothing Great About Britain, second album Tyron sees Slowthai look inside himself.
After his stupid behaviour towards host Katherine Ryan at NME Awards, Slowthai doesn't flinch from his failings - but he appears to deserve a second chance and is as compelling and complex about himself as he was about working class life. Pre-order Tyron here.
Longtime friends and Manchester contemporaries of The 1975, the association helped Pale Waves into the Top 10 with their 2018 debut My Mind Makes Noises. Three years on, second album Who Am I is a more distinctive, confident album with stronger vocals from Heather Baron-Gracie and a tauter sound honed on tour.