Today’s New Albums: Arcade Fire, Sharon Van Etten, Kikagaku Moyo & More

Graham Nash, Belle & Sebastian and Warpaint also have new releases out today, Friday, May 6.

By Team JamBase May 6, 2022 6:15 am PDT

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 Arcade Fire, Sharon Van Etten, Kikagaku Moyo, Graham Nash, Belle & Sebastian and Warpaint. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Arcade Fire – WE

Arcade Fire released their sixth studio album, WE, today. The new LP is the band led by Win Butler’s first studio album since 2017’s Everything Now. Butler co-produced WE with longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich as well as with his bandmate and wife Régine Chassagne. The album was largely written and recorded during the pandemic in New Orleans, El Paso and Mount Desert Island, Maine. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe on his Apple Music 1 program, Butler detailed the inspiration behind the title for WE.

“George Orwell is sort of one of my great heroes, and he has an essay called ‘Why I Write’ that I read when I was 15. And in it, he says, ‘Never use a long word if there’s a short word that means the same thing.’ And to me, we is one of the most meaningful words with the least number of letters, so it’s a very potent word. It’s tough to define as well.”

WE is the last Arcade Fire studio album to contain contributions from Win’s brother Will Butler, who left the band shortly after the record was announced. The LP also features the legendary Peter Gabriel on the WE track ‘Unconditional II (Race and Religion)” led by Chassagne. Win revealed Gabriel’s contribution in his hometown newspaper the Montreal Gazette.

“[Gabriel] came to the studio and we had a day to work on it,” Butler said. “He does this thing where he double-tracks his voice, high and low. As soon as he put the high vocal down, I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s Peter Gabriel.’”

Arcade Fire, however, previewed WE with the singles, “The Lightning I, II” and “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid).” As he told Zane Lowe, Butler drew inspiration for “The Lightning II” from the plight of Haitian refugees as well as Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s callous handling of the refugee situation while “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” is Win giving advice to his son for the future.

Sharon Van Etten – We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten released her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, today through Jagjaguwar. The follow-up to 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow was co-produced by Van Etten and Daniel Knowles. The 10-track LP was recorded and engineered by Van Etten at her newly constructed home studio in Los Angeles. While Van Etten provided the bulk of the instrumentation on the record, members of her touring band, drummer Jorge Balbi, bassist Devon Hoff and multi-instrumentalist/live musical director Charley Damski, made additional contributions. Van Etten opted to not share any singles off We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, which does not include the prior released songs “Used To It” and “Porta”

“I wanted to approach this release differently, to engage my fans in an intentional way, in an effort to present the album as a whole body of work,” Van Etten explained. “These 10 songs are designed to be listened to in order, at once, so that a much larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience can be told.”

Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island

Kikagaku Moyo’s fifth and final album, Kumoyo Island, arrived today. The psychedelic rockers recorded and produced the album in the familiar confines of Tsubame Studios in Tokyo, where they recorded some of their earliest material, as well as in their Guruguru Studio in their adopted home of Amsterdam.

“In many ways Kumoyo Island represents the culmination of a journey for Kikagaku Moyo,” press materials for the album noted. “While their decade-long career can be summarized as a series of kaleidoscopic explorations through lands and dimensions far and near, there’s a strong intention in each of their works to take the listener to a particular place, however real or abstract they may be. In that sense, the title and cover art for the band’s fifth and final album draws you into a magical mass of land surrounded by water—but the couch suggests that ‘Kumoyo Island may not be a fleeting stop, but rather a place of respite, where one could pause and take it all in.”

Graham Nash – Graham Nash: Live

Two-time Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Graham Nash spent September of 2019 touring the Northeast with concerts in which he played his first two solo albums, 1971’s Songs For Beginners and 1974’s Wild Tales, in their entirety. Out today via Proper Records is Graham Nash: Live, a live album featuring all 20 tracks from Songs For Beginners and Wild Tales captured during the September 2019 run. Songs For Beginners includes such standouts as “Military Madness,” “Simple Man” and “Chicago/We Can Change The World,” while Wild Tales is highlighted by “Oh! Camil,” “You’ll Never Be The Same” and “Prison Song.”

“I’ve been trying to figure out why Songs For Beginners and Wild Tales [were] so popular and I think it’s that intimacy and that immediacy of my emotions,” noted Nash in a press release announcing Graham Nash: Live. “We’re supposed to learn from history and it doesn’t appear as if we’re learning much. Songs like ‘Military Madness’…is that not relevant today? The hope that we can change the world, isn’t that still relevant today? I’m very flattered that my music seems to have lasted this long, but I’m also a little upset that we have to keep singing a song like ‘Military Madness’ right up to the present. Enough already!”

Belle & Sebastian – A Bit Of Previous

Belle & Sebastian have released their ninth studio album, A Bit Of Previous, via Matador Records. Described by the seven-piece band as, “one the most diverse and thrilling entries in Belle & Sebastian’s catalog,” that features “big, occasionally delirious pop moments,” the new record serves as the follow-up to 2015’s Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance. The Scotland natives self-produced and recorded the 12-song LP in their hometown of Glasgow, with contributions also coming from Brian McNeill, Matt Wiggins, Kevin Burleigh and Shawn Everett.

“We did it together, us and the city,” said frontman Stuart Murdoch. “This record was the first ‘full’ LP recording for B&S in Glasgow since Fold Your Hands Child, 1999. We clocked in every morning, we played our songs, we wrote together, we tried new things, we took the proverbial lump of clay, and we threw it every day.”

Warpaint – Radiate Like This

Los Angeles-based Warpaint return today with Radiate Like This, their first full-length release in six years. The band, guitarist Emily Kokal, bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, drummer Stella Mozgawa and guitarist Theresa Wayman, began working on the new record with co-producer Sam Petts-Davies before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The impact of the pandemic pushed back the release of the album and allowed the band to take longer to complete it while recording separately in their home studios. According to press materials, “The result is a body of work that is sharper and more focused than any of their previous, each song as tight, beguiling and proud as a diamond.”

“I was saying the other day that we should’ve called this album ‘Exquisite Corpse,’ but it was already taken,” Kokal jokingly stated in a reference to the title of Warpaint’s 2010 debut EP.

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

JamBase Collections