Bruce Springsteen, MGMT, Sam Bush, Bill Frisell & More Drop New Albums Today

Larkin Poe, Rising Appalachia, Fitz & The Tantrums, Deer Tick and Bright Eyes also have new releases available now.

By Team JamBase Nov 11, 2022 6:23 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 Bruce Springsteen, MGMT, Sam Bush, Bill Frisell, Larkin Poe, Rising Appalachia, Fitz & The Tantrums, Deer Tick and Bright Eyes. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.


Bruce Springsteen – Only The Strong Survive

Rock icon Bruce Springsteen returns with Only The Strong Survive, a studio album out today via Columbia Records featuring The Boss’ interpretations of 15 classic soul and R&B songs. The New Jersey native’s 21st studio album puts the focus on Springsteen’s vocal abilities as he recorded celebrated cuts from the catalogues of Motown, Gamble and Huff, Stax and more. Sam Moore provided guest vocals on an LP that also included contributions from The E Street Horns, Rob Mathes’ string arrangements and backing vocals by Soozie Tyrell, Lisa Lowell, Michelle Moore, Curtis King Jr., Dennis Collins and Fonzi Thornton.

“I wanted to make an album where I just sang. And what better music to work with than the great American songbook of the Sixties and Seventies? I’ve taken my inspiration from Levi Stubbs, David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin, the Iceman Jerry Butler, Diana Ross, Dobie Gray, and Scott Walker, among many others,” explained Springsteen. “I’ve tried to do justice to them all—and to the fabulous writers of this glorious music. My goal is for the modern audience to experience its beauty and joy, just as I have since I first heard it.”


MGMT – 11.11.11

Exactly 11 years ago today, on November 11, 2011, MGMT performed at New York City’s famed Guggenheim Museum. The performance was the second of two consecutive evenings of performances at the visually appealing museum. Recorded during those concerts on November 10 and 11, 2011, 11.11.11 is a newly released live album documenting the exhibition. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum approached MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser in Spring 2011 to craft a set of music for the Maurizio Cattelan retrospective titled All. The band wrote the all-original music as a reaction to the 130 pieces in the exhibit and performed it at both private and public events at the Guggenheim in November 2011. According to press materials, “MGMT’s live production featured a variety of LED lighting strips (a technology that was cutting edge at the time) lining the entire legendary spiral to the top of the museum.” The performances were also notable for being the “first time the Guggenheim had ever allowed art to be suspended from the ceiling” and “an event like this to take place amid the inner ring of the spiral.”

“We’re creating a musical experience that works for the building and for the construction and presentation of the Cattelan exhibit,” MGMT said back in 2011. “It’s an art exhibit done in a completely original way, so it deserves music which is completely original.”


Sam Bush – Radio John: Songs Of John Hartford

Bluegrass mandolinist Sam Bush honors another bluegrass icon with today’s release of Radio John: Songs Of John Hartford. As the title implies, the album contains Bush’s interpretations of nine of Hartford’s songs, alongside a new original. Bush first saw Hartford perform in person in 1969 while the former was still in high school. Years later, Bush’s band New Grass Revival was opening for Hartford, with Bush often joining Hartford onstage to perform songs from his landmark 1971 album, Aereo-Plane. The pair continued to collaborate up until Hartford’s death in 2001. Radio John: Songs Of John Hartford is Bush’s first studio album since 2016’s Storyman as well as his first with Smithsonian Folkways. The tribute album was a true solo endeavor, with Bush playing all the instruments — acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, electric bass, fiddle — save for the lone original and album finale, “Radio John,” which features a full band. The album was largely recorded while Bush was on vacation in Florida at a home studio set up by Donnie Sundal, co-owner of Neptone Recording Studio in Destin.

“In no time, we were laying down tracks (and [Sundal] engineered),” Bush said of the experience. “Only then did I realize this could be a true solo endeavor of my love affair with John Hartford’s music.”


Bill Frisell – Four

Master guitarist Bill Frisell returns with Four, his third album for Blue Note Records since joining the venerable jazz label in 2019. The album follows Frisell’s trio album Valentine, which Blue Note issued in 2020. Four, described as “a stunning 13-track meditation on loss, renewal, and friendships,” see Frisell accompanied by fellow Blue Note artists, Johnathan Blake on drums and Gerald Clayton on piano, along with Frisell’s longtime collaborator Greg Tardy on saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet. Produced by Lee Townsend, Four contains four previously recorded Frisell originals and nine new songs, including “Waltz for Hal Willner,” which is a tribute to the acclaimed producer and Frisell’s close friend. Describing the experience of making the album, Frisell stated:

“It was traumatic not to be with people [during the pandemic] so I picked up my guitar, and my guitar saved me. [During the recording sessions] everyone had the information, but it was super open as far as who plays what when. Without a bass, it was a little scary, but I wasn’t thinking so much about the instruments. It’s always more about the chemical reaction that’s going to happen. Everyone is just jumping into it all together, and then you find this way of talking with each other. You listen to Miles Davis’ quintet and maybe Miles is taking a solo, but it’s the cooperative thing that blows your mind. The album is capturing this first moment in time when we were, all four, together, playing these song. Music is incredible that way because we’ll never play these songs this way again.”


Larkin Poe – Blood Harmony

Sister act Larkin Poe fronted by Rebecca Lovell (guitar and keys) and Megan Lovell (lap steel and resonator guitar) issued their latest full-length studio LP, Blood Harmony, today. The pair co-produced the follow-up to 2020’s Self-Made Man with Tyler Bryant, who also happens to be Rebecca’s husband. Blood Harmony was recorded in large part at Rebecca and Tyler’s home studio. Additionally, the duo enlisted members of their longtime live band, namely drummer Kevin McGowan and bassist Tarka Layman, to contribute to the 11-track collection.

“When steering by your own stars, you never quite know where you’re going to wind up,” noted Larkin Poe. “Our true north is unique to us, and in following our true north without compromise, we have been out freewheeling this world on the ride of our lives. And it still feels like just the beginning. Blood Harmony is a creative step we are proud to have taken together as sisters. We grew these songs in a sweet part of our hearts and we hope they bring beauty.”


Rising Appalachia – Live From New Orleans At Preservation Hall

Rising Appalachia, the sibling duo made up of Chloe Smith and Leah Song, have released Live From New Orleans at Preservation Hall. The sisters cut their teeth busking on the streets of New Orleans, just steps from the historic Preservation Hall, having arrived in the city in 2007. In January 2021, during the height of the pandemic, Rising Appalachia was invited to record a livestream performance at Preservation Hall. The duo was accompanied by Aurora Nealand on clarinet and accordion and Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Branden Lewis on trumpet. The 12-track album includes live takes on James Blake’s “I Need A Forest Fire” and the traditional “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” alongside originals such as “Indigo Dance,” “Resilient,” and “Stand Like An Oak,” among others.

“New Orleans is super special for Leah and I,” said Smith. “We lived here for about seven years. It’s our soul home. We learned so much music here and we wrote so much music here. We lived there for seven years, soaking in the jazz and brass, the spirit of its people. Naturally, those sounds seeped into our music, as well as into our identity as Southerners.”


Fitz & The Tantrums – Let Yourself Free

Los Angeles-based neo-soul outfit Fitz & The Tantrums are back with their album, Let Yourself Free. The record marks the band’s first studio album since 2019’s All The Feels with vocalist Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick also releasing his debut solo album, Head Up High, under his FITZ moniker in 2021. Fitzpatrick noted that Let Yourself Free harkens back to the group’s 2010 debut:

“We are so excited for the world to hear our fifth studio album! For this record we really wanted to pull from our earliest influences and bring the through line of this band full circle. Tracks like ‘Silver Platter’ and ‘Steppin’ On Me’ really are a nod to our first album Pickin’ up the Pieces, while tracks like ‘Moneymaker’ take that influence and blast it into the future!”

Deer Tick – Divine Providence Reissue

Providence, Rhode Island’s own Deer Tick celebrate their landmark 2011 album, Divine Providence, with the release of an 11th-anniversary reissue today. The remastered collection features the original album and the band’s 2012 Tim EP along with a treasure trove of unreleased songs and never-before-heard alternate versions from the sessions. Deer Tick shared one of those unreleased songs, the live favorite “Cake & Eggs,” to preview the collection. Guitarist Ian O’Neil detailed sifting through the old material and discovering the studio recording of “Cake & Eggs”:

“One of the fun things about diving into the old Divine Providence tapes was hearing all the forgotten material we recorded. We found a somewhat unfinished take of ‘Cake and Eggs,’ a kind of irreverent love song in the style of John Prine and Iris DeMent’s ‘In Spite of Ourselves.’ I wrote with Nikki from Those Darlins and it quickly became a live staple and an important song for that era of Deer Tick. It’s surprising it never ended up on one of our records. Anyways, I slapped a new guitar track on there, Dennis and I recorded some new vocals, and now we’re happy to present this studio version of ‘Cake and Eggs,’ some eleven or twelve years after it was written. Enjoy.”

Bright Eyes – Companion EPs

Bright Eyes released the second batch of their Companion EPs reissue series. Today’s installment is made up of complementary EPs for 2002’s Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground and 2005’s acoustic I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and electronic Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. The Companion releases see the band going electronic for I’m Wide Awake and acoustic for the Digital Ash bonus tracks. Bright Eyes recruited a number of guests for the Companion EPs, including Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond), Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings and Maria Taylor. Among the new tracks are covers of Azure Ray’s “November,” Townes Van Zandt’s “Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel” and The Faint’s “Agenda Suicide.”

“It’s a meaningful way to connect with the past that doesn’t feel totally nostalgic and self-indulgent,” Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst stated. “We are taking these songs and making them interesting to us all over again. I like that. I like a challenge. I like to be forced to do something that’s slightly hard, just to see if we can.”


Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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