Don’t Miss New Albums From Blur, Molly Tuttle, Andrew Bird, Greta Van Fleet & More

Guided By Voices and Nils Lofgren also have new releases out today, Friday, July 21.

By Team JamBase Jul 21, 2023 6:05 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 Blur, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Andrew Bird, Greta Van Fleet, Guided By Voices and Nils Lofgren. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Blur – The Ballad Of Darren

Blur return today with the release of their first album in eight years, The Ballad Of Darren. The Brit-pop group consisting of Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree – recorded The Ballad Of Darren with producer James Ford in London at Albarn’s Studio 13 and at his makeshift studio in a barn located in Devon. The 10-track album is the band’s first since 2015’s The Magic Whip and ninth overall. Regarding The Ballad Of Darren, each of the members of Blur shared statements:

“This is an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now,” Albarn stated.

“The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention,” Coxon stated. “Sometimes just a riff doesn’t do the job.”

“For any long-term relationship to last with any meaning you have to be able to surprise each other somehow and somehow we all continue to do that,” James stated.

“It always feels very natural to make music together,” Rowntree stated. “With every record we do, the process reveals something new and we develop as a band. We don’t take that for granted.”

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway – City Of Gold

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway are back with a new album, City of Gold, the follow up the guitarist and her group’s Grammy-winning 2022 album, Crooked Tree. Captured at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, City of Gold saw Tuttle teaming with bluegrass great Jerry Douglas — who also added resonator guitar to the record — to produce the new LP and co-wrote most of the material with Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor. Tuttle detailed City of Gold:

“When I was a kid, we took a field trip to Coloma, California to learn about the gold rush. I’ll never forget the dusty hills and the grizzled old miner who showed us the nugget around his neck. Just like gold fever, music has always captivated me, captured my heart, and driven me to great lengths to explore its depths. On my new album I dug deep as a songwriter (with Ketch Secor) and co-producer (with Jerry Douglas) and surfaced with a record that celebrates the music of my heart, my life, the land where I grew up, and the stories I heard along the way.

Andrew Bird – Outside Problems

Andrew Bird released Outside Problems, a companion of sorts to his 2022 album, Inside Problems. Recorded mostly outdoors in Ojai, California, the nine tracks consists of instrumental improvisations. Several of the tracks informed songs that appeared on Inside Problems. Bird described the process, stating:

“There are two notable things about this album. One, none of these songs were recorded with the intent of making an album, I just happened to capture moments of melodic exploration over a period of time. You can hear themes from Inside Problems throughout the album, including on the song ‘Epilogue,’ just without concern for bridges and choruses and the band. I’m able to capture the sound of music in everyday life, a surprisingly hard thing to do. I was playing for the joy of it and to get these ideas out of my head. To hear them in a room. There is no room.

“Second, these pieces were recorded primarily outside in Ojai, California. I’m no stranger to recording outside as with the Echolocations series. My plan was to record Inside Problems/em> outside but the leaf-blowers made that difficult … Deep in the pandemic, far from the city and album campaigns and Instagram strategies, getting back to the original point of it all.”

Greta Van Fleet – Starcatcher

Grammy-winning rockers Greta Van Fleet return with their mystical new album, Starcatcher, today. Helmed by renowned producer Dave Cobb, GVF cut the follow up to 2022’s The Battle At The Garden’s Gate at Nashville’s storied RCA Studios. Greta Van Fleet began the Starcatcher rollout with the epic “Meeting The Master” and also shared singles “Sacred The Thread” — inspired by frontman Josh Kiszka’s trademark jumpsuits — “The Falling Sky” and more. Bassist/keyboardist Sam Kiszka spoke about some of the big questions he sees Starcatcher addressing.

“When I imagine the world of Starcatcher, I think of the cosmos,” he said. “It makes me ask a lot of questions, like ‘Where did we come from?’ or ‘What are we doing here?’ But it’s also questions like, ‘What is this consciousness that we have, and where did it come from?’”

“We had this idea that we wanted to tell these stories to build a universe,” drummer Danny Wagner added. “We wanted to introduce characters and motifs and these ideas that would come about here and there throughout our careers through this world.”

Guided by Voices – Welshpool Frillies

Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, ever-prolific Ohio-born rockers Guided By Voices released their 38th studio album, Welshpool Frillies. The band’s second full length of 2023, Welshpool Frillies follows La La Land and last year’s pair of full length releases, Crystal Nuns Cathedral and Tremblers and Goggles by Rank. The band has released a total of eight new albums in the past three years. The current lineup of Robert Pollard, Bobby Bare Jr., Doug Gillard, Kevin March and Mark Shue recorded Welshpool Frillies live to tape in a Brooklyn basement with producer Travis Harrison. Other recent albums had been recorded remotely due to the pandemic. According to the band:

“The catchy ear worms in these new songs are undeniable, as the kinetic energy of the band is captured in its most raw and pure form. The album is brash, no-frills, and punky, inspired by the wiliness of 90s-era GBV.”

Nils Lofgren – Mountains

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame multi-instrumentalist Nils Lofgren might be best known for his tenures backing Bruce Springsteen in the E Street Band and Neil Young as part of Crazy Horse, but he’s also a fine solo artist who can sing and song-write at the highest level. Examples can be found on Mountains, his latest solo offering. The 10-track collection arrived today via Cattle Track Road and features an impressive list of guests. The late David Crosby makes a posthumous appearance while others adding to album include Neil Young, Ron Carter and Ringo Starr. Lofgren recorded Mountains at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona with longtime pal Jamison weddle engineering. Nils tapped his wife Amy to co-produce.

“I just started writing,” Lofgren explained to Ultimate Classic Rock of a period of the pandemic that led to Mountains. “I didn’t edit myself; whatever I wrote came out – rough, gentle, in between. So long as I was excited about it, inspired, I saw it through. It’s got all the different sides you might normally expect from me. It’s a very emotional record. It came out better than I hoped.”

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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