Release Day Picks: April 26th New Album Highlights

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Each week Release Day Picks profiles new LPs and EPs Team JamBase will be checking out on release day Friday. This week we highlight new albums by Josh Ritter, Anders Osborne, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Foxygen, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Kevin Morby, The Mountain Goats, Craig Finn, Nils Lofgren, Kiefer Sutherland and JJ Cale. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.


Josh Ritter – Fever Breaks

The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter tapped Jason Isbell to perform on and produce his new album. Fever Breaks, a collection of 10 songs available now through Pytheas Recordings/Thirty Tigers, was recorded at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A. Ritter’s 10th studio album finds him backed by Jason Isbell & The The 400 Unit. Josh picked Matt Ross-Spang to engineer the LP, after additional recording and mixing at Sound Emporium. “The songs are very reflective of the times in which they were written,” Ritter told Rolling Stone. “As we started coming together and playing, the songs that felt like they were gonna work really jumped out as obvious. From there on, after we recorded in August [2018] we had this really nice time to stop and listen and let the songs marinate a little bit. In that time, the world has just become even crazier. There’s a lot of the record that feels reflective of the moment it was in.”


Anders Osborne – Buddha And The Blues

The Scoop: Anders Osborne left his home in New Orleans to record a new album far from the Crescent City. He selected Chad Cromwell to produce and play drums on Buddha & The Blues, an LP that was put out today on his Back On Dumaine Records imprint, which was recorded at Brethren Studio in Ojai, California. Anders’ band for Buddha And The Blues features a bevy of legendary session musicians including guitarist Waddy Wachtel (Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, Linda Rondstadt, Warren Zevon), bassist Bob Glaub (Jackson Browne, John Lennon, Don Henley), Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ keyboardist Benmont Tench, Cromwell (Neil Young, Mark Knopfler, Joe Walsh) on drums and backing vocalist Windy Wagner (Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart). “Osborne set out to complete his initial vision; clean, classic, and most certainly thumpin’,” reads a description of the album in a press release. “The mellow, pacific vibes never overshadow Osborne’s greasy and groovy New Orleanian nature; it could even be argued that their symbiotic relationship could or should have been explored more thoroughly before now.”


Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Mettavolution

The Scoop: Acoustic-metal duo Rodrigo y Gabriela today released their latest studio album, Mettavolution via ATO Records. The seven-track follow-up to 2014’s 9 Dead Alive contains six new originals as well as a 19-minute cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” The title comes from Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero’s passion for learning about Buddhism, the history of human evolution and the potential of our species. “‘Metta’ is a Sanskrit word for the meditative condition that produces compassion and benevolence. It is a ‘practical state of mind’ as well,” said Quintero. “[It’s] something you practice like an instrument to become a better citizen, in a more evolved place.”


Foxygen – Seeing Other People

The Scoop: Foxygen, a duo consisting of Sam France and Jonathan Rado, have released the follow-up to 2017’s Hang. Seeing Other People is out today via Jagjaguwar. France and Rado wrote and produced their sixth studio album at Sonora Recorders in Los Feliz, California. The pair tapped Shawn Everett to engineer and mix the nine-track LP. Legendary drummer Jim Keltner contributed to the album. “I remember a quote from Rado sticking with the press a few years ago about how we’d lived every rock n roll cliche in, about, one year,” France wrote in a letter that accompanied news of Seeing Other People’s upcoming release. “Well, here’s the album about it.”


King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishies

The Scoop: The 14th studio album by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Fishing For Fishies, is out today via ATO/Flightless Records. “We tried to make a blues record,” stated frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.” The album follows the group’s five separate full-length releases that came out in 2017. The nine-track Fishing For Fishies features the singles “Cyboogie,” “Boogieman Sam” and the title track.


Kevin Morby – Oh My God

The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Kevin Morby’s fifth solo album, Oh My God, was partly inspired by the “oh my god” lyric in his 2015 single, “Beautiful Strangers.” The 14-tracks making up the secular, religious-themed concept album were recorded with producer Sam Cohen at his Brooklyn-based studio. “This one feels full circle, my most realized record yet,” Morby stated. “It’s a cohesive piece; all the songs fit under the umbrella of this religious theme. I was able to write and record the album I wanted to make. It’s one of those marks of a life: this is why I slept on floors for seven years. I’ve now gotten the keys to my own little kingdom, and I’m devoting so much of my life to music that I just want to keep it interesting. At the end of the day, the only thing I don’t want is to be bored. If someone wants to get in my face about writing a non-religious religious record? Thank god. That’s all I gotta say.”


The Mountain Goats – In League With Dragons

The Scoop: The Mountain Goats leader John Darnielle composed the 12 songs on the band’s latest album, In League With Dragons. Recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios with engineer Matt Ross-Spang, the record features Darnielle on guitar, Jon Wurster on drums, Peter Hughes on bass and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas. Darnielle wrote this about In League With Dragons:

This album began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard, for which some five to seven songs were written. When I’m focusing on a project, I always distract myself from the through-line with multiple byways, which are kind of like mini-games within the broader architecture of a long video game. As I worked on the Riversend stuff, weird noir visions started creeping in, probably under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia (a Sicilian author, he wrote mysteries) and Ross MacDonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse, which a friend from Port Washington gave me while I was in the thick of the writing. I thought these moods helped complicate the wizards and dragons a little, and, as I thought about my wizard, his health failing, the invasion by sea almost certain to wipe out half his people, I thought about what such a person might look like in the real world: watching a country show at a midwestern casino, or tryout pitching for an American League team years after having lit up the marquees. Finally, I wrote the title track, which felt like a drawing-together of the themes in play: rebellion against irresistible tides, the lush vistas of decay, necessary alliances. I am earnestly hoping that a new genre called “dragon noir” will spring from the forehead of nearly two years’ work on these songs, but, if not, I am content for this to be the sole example of the style.


Craig Finn – I Need A New War

The Scoop: The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn recorded his new solo album, I Need A New War, in Upstate New York during sessions held throughout 2018. Finn linked up with regular collaborators producer/multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman, drummer Joe Russo and engineer Dan Goodwin. The same group worked with Finn on his previous albums, Faith In The Future and We All Want The Same Things, which join I Need A New War in completing a trilogy. The new record features horn contributions provided by Stuart Bogie, Raymond Mason and Dave Nelson and backing vocals by Annie Nero and Cassandra Jenkins. “[M]ore so than any of my previous records, these songs turn the lens on New York City — my home for the last 18 years,” Finn stated. “NYC itself is a city of constant change, throwing its own considerable weight on the people who live there. A number of these songs reflect on the inevitability of the city’s forward motion. And, perhaps, forward motion is everything. The characters in the songs on this record, and the last two, are trying to keep up and keep their heads above water. They succeed or they don’t, but their stories are the tales of their attempts at pushing ahead.”


Nils Lofgren – Blue With Lou

The Scoop: Blue With Lou is veteran guitarist Nils Lofgren’s tribute to his late friend and collaborator Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground. Back in 1978, Lofgren paired music he had composed with lyrics written by Reed, resulting in 13 new song demos. Of the 13 demos, Reed recorded three for his 1979 solo album Bells and Lofgren went on to record five in subsequent years, including three on Nils. The E Street Band guitarist’s album includes the remaining five previously unheard demos, as well as the title track tribute to Reed and a tribute to Tom Petty in the form of “Dear Heartbreaker.” Recorded at Lofgren’s home studio and co-produced by Nils and his wife Amy Lofgren, the album features longtime collaborators Andy Newmark on drums and Kevin McCormick on bass, along with vocalist Cindy Mizelle. Renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis also contributed to a new recording of the Lofgren/Reed original “City Lights.”


Kiefer Sutherland – Reckless & Me

The Scoop: Actor Kiefer Sutherland has been focusing on his music career as of late. His sophomore full-length album, Reckless & Me is out today through BMG. “I asked myself,” said Sutherland, “‘what is the thing that I love about acting, and music?’ ‘What is the common denominator?’ For me it’s storytelling and music is a very different way of doing it.” For Reckless & Me Sutherland worked with producer Jude Cole. The follow-up to 2016’s Down In A Hole features 10 tracks. Once again, Keifer delivers a collection of material that mixes Americana with rock and country. The album is said to, “highlight his gift of soulful storytelling” as per press materials announcing the LP.


JJ Cale – Stay Around

The Scoop: JJ Cale’s widow Christine Lakeland Cale and his manager Mike Kappusmarks compiled the 15 previously unreleased tracks that make up the posthumously released, Stay Around. Cale, who died in 2013 at the age of 74, released his final album, Roll On, in 2009. The song “My Baby Blues” was written by Lakeland Cale and recorded with JJ in 1977. The rest of the 14 tracks on Stay Around were previously unheard. “I wanted to find stuff that was completely unheard to max-out the ‘Cale factor’… using as much that came from John’s [JJ’s] ears and fingers and his choices as I could, so I stuck to John’s mixes,” Lakeland Cale stated. “You can make things so sterile that you take the human feel out. But John left a lot of that human feel in. He left so much room for interpretation.”


Compiled by Andy Kahn and Scott Bernstein.