Today’s New Albums: Keller Williams, Eric Krasno, Animal Collective, Mitski & More

Cate Le Bon and Black Country, New Road also have new albums out today.

By Team JamBase Feb 4, 2022 6:15 am PST

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 Keller Williams, Eric Krasno, Animal Collective, Mitski, Cate Le Bon and Black Country, New Road. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Keller Williams – Grit

The ever-prolific Keller Williams celebrates his birthday today with the release of his 27th studio album, Grit. The multi-instrumentalist devoted his past two efforts to collaborations in 2020’s Cell with Erothyme and 2019’s Speed with The Keels. Grit features KDub on a variety of instruments including guitar, drums, bass, piano and vibraphone. As usual, Keller went with a one-syllable title for the eight-track LP, which arrives on vinyl late this summer.

“2022 brings us the new album Grit, something we have all needed a lot of the past few years,” explained Williams. “Recorded throughout 2021, it explores the life of a stage performer, the failure of a fair-weather fisherman and of course, an accidental dosing.”

Eric Krasno – Always

Guiarist Eric Krasno’s fourth solo album, Always was released today via Mascot Label Group. The 10-song album serves follow-up to 2019’s Telescope that was released under his Kraz moniker. The Soulive and Lettuce co-founder recorded Always at San Francisco’s famed Hyde Street Studios with co-producer Otis McDonald, who also plays bass in Eric Krasno & The Assembly.

“Before 2020, I was having a good time, but I wasn’t grounded at all,” Krasno stated. “I was going from gig to gig. I was always running around without a purpose. During the last year, I found my people in terms of my wife and son. I’ve created a family who will always be there for me. That’s what the album is about. If you take away a message of love and the Always concept, that’s great. Most of all, I want to put you in a happy place. In the past, I personally just felt like I was a guitarist, songwriter, and a producer. Now, I feel like a fully formed artist.”

Animal Collective – Time Skiffs

Experimental group Animal Collective is back with their first album, Time Skiffs via Domino, since 2016’s Painting With. Recorded by Animal Collective’s Avey Tare (Dave Portner), Deakin (Josh Dibb), Geologist (Brian Weitz) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) over the course of 2020, the group tapped Marta Salogni to mix the record. Press materials for the new LP compared Time Skiffs’ to the band’s 2007 album, Strawberry Jam, and noted that the “nine songs are love letters, distress signals, en plein air observations, and relaxation hymns, the collected transmissions of four people who have grown into relationships and parenthood and adult worry.”

“But they are rendered with Animal Collective’s singular sense of exploratory wonder, same as they ever were,” the press release continued. “There are harmonies so rich you want to skydive through their shared air, textures so fascinating you want to decode their sorcery, rhythms so intricate you want to untangle their sources. Here is Animal Collective past 20, still in search of what’s next.”

Animal Collective previewed the LP with a number of singles and visuals beginning with “Prester John” — a weaving of two compositions by Portner and Lennox — and followed by “Walker,” Lennox’s tribute to late British singer-songwriter and producer Scott Walker with a video directed by Dave and his sister Abby Portner, “Strung With Everything” and “We Go Back.”

Mitski – Laurel Hell

Laurel Hell is singer-songwriter Mitski’s new studio album, arriving today on Dead Oceans. The 11-track follow-up to 2018’s well-received Be the Cowboy, was produced by Mitiski’s longtime collaborator Patrick Hyland. The majority of the songs on the new record written in 2018 or prior. Laurel Hell was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the final mix completed in May 2021. According to the artist, “Laurel Hell is a soundtrack for transformation, a map to the place where vulnerability and resilience, sorrow and delight, error and transcendence can all sit within our humanity, can all be seen as worthy of acknowledgment, and ultimately, love.” The album was previewed with the singles “Working for the Knife” and “The Only Heartbreaker,” the latter a co-write with Dan Wilson, marking the first such collaboration of her career.

“I needed love songs about real relationships that are not power struggles to be won or lost,” Mitski stated. “I needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself. I make mistakes all the time. I don’t want to put on a front where I’m a role model, but I’m also not a bad person. I needed to create this space mostly for myself where I sat in that gray area.”

Cate Le Bon – Pompeii

Cate Le Bon’s new album, Pompeii, is out today on Mexican Summer. The singer-songwriter’s sixth full-length studio release follows her 2019 LP, Reward. The nine songs on Pompeii were written primarily on bass while Le Bon was completely isolated in a self-described “uninterrupted vacuum.” Playing every instrument besides drums and saxophone, Le Bon recorded Pompeii in Cardiff, Wales with frequent cohort, co-producer Samur Khouja. Another regular collaborator, Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa contributed “jazz-thinking percussion” parts remotely from Australia. Le Bon shared the below statement regarding Pompeii:

Pompeii was written and recorded in a quagmire of unease. Solo. In a time warp. In a house I had a life in 15 years ago. I grappled with existence, resignation and faith. I felt culpable for the mess but it smacked hard of the collective guilt imposed by religion and original sin.

“The subtitle is: You will be forever connected to everything. Which, depending on the time of day, is as comforting as it is terrifying. The sense of finality has always been here. It seems strangely hopeful. Someone is playing with the focus lens. The world is on fire but the bins must go out on a Tuesday night. Political dissonance meets beauty regimes. I put a groove behind it for something to hold on to. The grief is in the saxophones.”

Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There

The second album by Black Country, New Road is available today with the release of Ants From Up There on Ninja Tune. The follow-up to the British rock band’s acclaimed debut album, 2020’s For The First Time, comes with an atmosphere of uncertainty about the band’s future following the just-announced departure of lead singer Isaac Wood due to mental health issues. The band, which currently consists of guitarist Luke Mark, keyboardist May Kershaw, bassist Tyler Hyde, drummer Charlie Wayne, saxophonist Lewis Evans and violinist Georgia Ellery, intends to continue, and indicated work on new material has already begun. The 10-track Ants From Up There was recorded in summer 2021 with the band’s lontime live engineer Sergio Maschetzko at Chale Abbey Studios on England’s Isle Of Wight.

“We were just so hyped the whole time,” Hyde stated. “It was such a pleasure to make. I’ve kind of accepted that this might be the best thing that I’m ever part of for the rest of my life. And that’s fine.”

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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