K. Michelle, "Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart?" (Atlantic)
Even if you hate reality TV and find its stars untalented, you have to pay attention to Michelle. She first made herself known through VH1's wildly combative "Love & Hip Hop" franchise. Then she landed her own program, "K. Michelle: My Life." There's a hilarious cattiness in the character she plays on camera. On her sophomore album, that same flair peeks through on the theatrical, space-soul "Something About the Night." The grand "Build a Man" delivers an assertive message. But this powerhouse vocalist and songwriter also is capable of great tenderness, nuance and understatement. "God, I Get It" offers finesse and focus at a time when life is a blur. "Hard to Do" and the aching ballad "Maybe I Should Call" recall the soft sonics and arching melodicism of early R. Kelly. The title "Drake Would Love Me" sets listeners up for something funny or cocky, but instead presents heartbreak at going unnoticed in the face of passion. Michelle forges a fine album out of confidence and conviction.
A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer
Catfish and the Bottlemen just won the BBC Music Awards for the equivalent of best new artist. The Welsh rock band is on "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Wednesday and headed to Minneapolis on Feb. 21 at the 7th Street Entry. Preview "The Balcony," due out Tuesday, at Pandora. tinyurl.com/m4brzd7