New Albums Arriving Today: Gorillaz, Christian McBride, Lucero, Philip Selway & More

Gina Birch and Neutral Milk Hotel also have new releases out today, Friday, February 24.

By Team JamBase Feb 24, 2023 6:20 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 Gorillaz, Christian McBride, Lucero, Philip Selway, Gina Birch and Neutral Milk Hotel. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Gorillaz – Cracker Island

Gorillaz continues a burst of productivity that has yielded four albums and an EP in six years with the release of Cracker Island today via Parlophone/Warner. The band masterminded by Damon Albarn tapped Greg Kurstin as the main producer of their eighth studio album with Remi Kabaka Jr. also contributing to the process that yielded the 10-track LP. The follow-up to 2021’s Meanwhile EP and the 2020 collection Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez was recorded at London’s Studio 13. While exciting collaborations are nothing new for Gorillaz, they called in an impressive array of artists to appear on Cracker Island that includes Stevie Nicks, Beck, Tame Impala, Thundercat, Bad Bunny, Adeleye Omotayo and Bootie Brown.

“When you work together, you’ve got to embrace each other’s joy, and how that is attained within the context of the session,” Albarn told Exclaim regarding his process of getting the most out of special guests. “If I was going to write a handbook on how to make collaborative pop music, it would be more a psychotherapy book than a music book — for myself included.”

Christian McBride’s New Jawn – Prime

Philadelphia born bassist Christian McBride released the second Christian McBride’s New Jawn album entitled Prime. The album features the acclaimed bass player accompanied by his bandmates trumpeter Josh Evans, saxophonist/bass clarinetist Marcus Strickland and drummer Nasheet Waits. The eight song album features the McBride originals “The Lurkers” and “Head Bedlam,” the tribute to Eric Dolphy written by Evans “Dolphy Dust,” Waits’ “Moonchild,” and the Transformers-inspired title track that was composed by Stickland originally recorded for his 2011 album Triumph of the Heavy Vol. 2. Those appear alongside covers of Ornette Coleman’s “The Good Life,” Sonny Rollins’ “East Broadway Run Down,” and Larry Young’s “Obsequious.”

“I think that all of us are at our prime as musicians. No, I’ll think positive – we’re almost at our prime. Going into the studio, I never really have a conscious goal in mind other than to let these three fabulous musicians fly. At this point, I just concentrate on making sure that these cats are in the most comfortable situation – or maybe not so comfortable, you know, so they might have to dig a little deeper. It’s a balance.”

Lucero – Should’ve Learned By Now

Memphis alt-country rockers Lucero are back with the follow-up to their 2021 album When You Found Me and 2018’s Among the Ghosts. But the new album, Should’ve Learned By Now, doesn’t carry the darkness its predecessors did. Frontman Ben Nichols and company — guitarist Brian Venable, drummer Roy Berry, bassist John C. Stubblefield and keyboardist Rick Steff — teamed back up with Grammy Award-winning engineer and mixer Matt Ross-Spang (John Prine, Jason Isbell) for Should’ve Known By Now. The band began cutting Should’ve Learned By Now at the famed Sam Phillips Recording Service before finishing up at Ross-Sprang’s newly-minted Southern Grooves Productions in Memphis.

“I had a particular sound I was looking for on each record and there was no room for any goofy rock ‘n’ roll or cute witticisms or even simply upbeat songs,” Nichols said of their previous LPs. “But now finally, it was time to revisit all of that stuff and get it out in the world. That’s how we got to the appropriately-for-us-titled album Should’ve Learned by Now. The album is basically about how we know we are fuckups and I guess we are ok with that.”

“He knows how to take the sounds we’re making on our own and just kind of polish them up in the right way. Or dirty it up in the right way,” Nichols added on working with Ross-Sprang. “Whatever it takes, he just kind of does it.”


Philip Selway – Strange Dance

Philip Selway today released his third solo album, Strange Dance. Perhaps most strange about Strange Dance is that the Radiohead drummer handed over the drumsticks to Valentina Magaletti for the album’s percussive elements. The 10-track album was produced by Marta Salogni and recorded at Evolution Recording Studios in Oxford, United Kingdom. Others recruited for the atmospheric project were guitarist Adrian Utley, multi-instrumentalist Quinta and cellist Laura Moody who also provided string arrangments. Additional parts were performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra conducted by Robert Ames, The Assemble Choir with arrangements by Juliet Russell, and the Elysian Collective. Selway detailed the making of the album, stating:

“One of the things I’ve liked about this record is it’s me as a 55-year-old not trying to hide that fact. It feels kind of unguarded rather than seeing that aging process as something that needs to be hidden. I wanted it to have that space so if you’re listening to it you can lose yourself in it. Almost like a refuge. The scale of it was very deliberate for me, from the outset. I wanted the soundscape to be broad and tall but somehow get it to wrap around this intimate vocal at the heart of it. There was a really lovely dynamic. Ideas happened easily. It was a really nice rapport between us all.”

Gina Birch – I Play My Bass Loud

Third Man Records released I Play My Bass Loud, the debut solo album from Gina Birch. The co-founding member of the influential feminist punk rock band The Raincoats, Birch is also an accomplished film and video director and painter. Birch recorded I Play My Bass Loud with producer Martin “Youth” Glover of Killing Joke at his studio in Wandsworth, England. The album features guitarist Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Wish I Was You,” and the title track features “no less than five female bassists, including The Modettes’ Jane Crockford and Emily Elhaj, bassist for Angel Olsen.” Regarding the 45-year rock veteran’s first solo album, which includes a retooled version of The Raincoats staple “Feminist Song,” Birch stated:

“The album distills my years of musical, political, and artistic life with these genre-breaking songs. It’s a personal diary using sounds and lyrics, full of fun, rage, and storytelling. There’s the whole thing about women playing their music and wanting to be heard, wanting acknowledgment or the space to do it. The bass is sometimes assigned as a lesser instrument, and yet because of reggae and the creativity of a lot of women players, it has always been a creative and phenomenal instrument. I always thought, if I open my big bay window upstairs and play my bass, I’m not some groovy young rapper. I’m this old white woman playing my bass guitar out of my window. I just want to stick my head out and yell down the street: HELL, I’M HERE, AND I’M PLAYING MY BASS LOUD!”

It was a fabulous experience to record at Youth’s in Wandsworth. Youth likes my passion and my bad guitar playing. I like his attitude, so calm and focused… in a Zen kind of way. We are in fact opposite sides of the same coin.

Neutral Milk Hotel – The Collected Works Of Neutral Milk Hotel

In 2011, Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum self-released a limited edition box set collecting the band’s recorded output which he issued through the label he ran with his mother, Neutral Milk Hotel Records. Today, The Collected Works Of Neutral Milk Hotel, was released digitally for the first time by Merge Records. Included is an expanded double LP edition of their 1996 debut album, On Avery Island and its acclaimed 1998 follow-up In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as well as digital versions of the 12-inch picture disc of Live at Jittery Joe’s, a previously unreleased live recording of “Little Birds,” and the “Holland, 1945” / “Engine” 7-inch single. The box set also comes with a remastered version of the 1994 7-inch Everything Is, expanded to its originally intended 10-inch EP format with additional songs from the era, such as “Unborn.” Also included is the 10-inch EP Ferris Wheel on Fire, Mangum primarily recorded in 2010 with longtime collaborator Robert Schneider of fellow Elephant 6 outfit The Apples in Stereo.


Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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