Coming up: the gigs and albums not to miss in February and March

The Observer’s pop critic picks the musical highlights for the rest of winter, from Elton John’s new record to Tame Impala on tour, plus the return of Animal Collective

The Prettiots

Bubbling under for more than a year, NYC ukelele grrrl duo the Prettiots finally release their debut album, featuring great songs about ex-boyfriends and suicidal tendencies. “On a scale of one to Plath, I’m like, a four,” sings Kay Kasparhauser.

Funs Cool is released on 5 February on Rough Trade

Elton John
New label, new lust for life: Elton John. Photograph: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Elton John

The rumour mill is spinning like a wonderful, crazy top for this upbeat 32nd Elton album; media reports suggest many in the singer’s close circle have departed and that Elton’s now-former label, Capitol, passed on it.

Wonderful Crazy Night is released 5 February on Mercury Records

Foxes, AKA Louisa Rose Allen, performing at Brighton Pride 2015. Photograph: Tabatha Fireman/Getty


She has already won a 2014 Grammy for a guest spot on a Zedd tune, and on a No 1 album with Rudimental. Last seen in an H&M ad campaign, homegrown pop starlet Foxes makes a concerted bid for her own big time with her second album, All I Need.

Out 5 Feb on Sony; Foxes’ UK tour starts 26 Feb

Money: Billy Byron, Jamie Lee and Charlie Cocksedge. Photograph: David Levene/Guardian

Money tour

Dour Mancunians Money have just released a new album, Suicide Songs, more expansive than their debut – strings, brass and the Indian dilruba combine to leaven the emotive payload. They’re around all month.

Tour starts 10 Feb, ends 23 Feb

Tame Impala
Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker (front) and Cam Avery at Splendour In The Grass festival 2015. Photograph: Jonny Weeks/The Guardian

Tame Impala tour

TI’s recent album, Currents, only magnified the Australian psych band’s appeal: adding tunes that stirred glistening funk into the band’s heady swirl. Even groovier live than on record, the five-strong touring band drop by for three shows in Manchester and London.

Tour stars 11 Feb, ends 13 Feb

Rokia Traoré.
Rokia Traoré’s new album deals with the fallout of war. Photograph: handout/Handout

Rokia Traoré

Malian superstar Rokia Traoré tackles the anguish of refugees caught up in the conflicts in west Africa in the company of producer John Parish, John Paul Jones, Toni Morrison and Devendra Banhart. Né So, the title of her sixth album, means “home”.

Né So is out on Nonesuch on 12 Feb

Halsey, AKA Ashley Frangipane, at Life Is Beautiful Festival, Las Vegas, September 2015. Photograph: Startraks Photo/Rex/Shutterstock


One of 2015’s most intriguing pop revelations, Ashley Frangipane, brings her New Americana to these shores; Ed Sheeran and The Weeknd are fans.

Tour starts 19 February, ends 23 February

Animal Collective
Animal Collective: Geologist, Avey Tare and Panda Bear. Photograph: Tom Andrew

Animal Collective

Their kaleidoscopic November single, FloriDada, recently spawned a video that risked triggering photosensitive epilepsy. Hopes are high for AnCo’s new record, Painting With, which features three core members and collaborations with John Cale and sax player Colin Stetson.

Released 19 Feb on Domino

Cavern of Anti-Matter
Cavern of Anti-Matter: Holger Zapf, Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth. Photograph: Joe Dilworth/PR

Cavern of Anti-Matter

Having released a number of below-the-radar cuts in years past, COAM – alias Tim Gane of Stereolab, cult drummer Joe Dilworth and Holger Zapf on synths – have a whole album’s worth of warm analogue loveliness.

Void Beats / Invocation Trex is out 19 Feb on Duophonic Records

Prince Rama: Taraka (left) and Niama Larson.
Prince Rama: Taraka (left) and Niama Larson. Photograph: Shawn LaChapelle

Prince Rama

Wayward psychedelic Brooklyn duo Prince Rama – sisters Taraka and Niami Larson – are readying a new album, Xtreme Now, which mixes extreme sports, art and “time dilation” (as you do).

Released through Carpark Records on 4 March


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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