New Albums This Week: Death Cab For Cutie, Marcus Mumford, The Mars Volta, Gogol Bordello & More

Don’t miss these 12 new releases that came out this week.

By Team JamBase Sep 17, 2022 8:32 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 Death Cab for Cutie, Marcus Mumford, The Mars Volta, Gogol Bordello, Whitney, The Greyboy Allstars, The Beths, Julian Lage, Hot Buttered Rum, Con Brio, Ali McGuirk and The New Mastersounds. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Death Cab For Cutie – Asphalt Meadows

Death Cab For Cutie are back with a new album, Asphalt Meadows, out today via Atlantic Records. While work on the follow up to 2018’s Thank You For Today began before the pandemic took hold, the Asphalt Meadows sessions came to be highly representative of the strange silver linings lockdown presented in that it altered long held habits. Frontman Ben Gibbard recently told NME that the sessions for Asphalt Meadows made DCFC “feel like a new band.”

“So the very dim silver lining on such a terrible period is that it did give artists a lot of time to take a breath and get off the touring treadmill,” Gibbrd told NME. “That time definitely took me to some different places creatively that maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise. I certainly don’t think we would have had the record that we have, I think for better, without this period.”

The time also saw DCFC trying out new writing techniques, like passing songs ideas between each band member throughout a week, as well as producers, ultimately teaming up with John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten), who Gibbard found an immediate report with.

“One of those fast friendships where you’re just kind of finishing each other’s sentences,” Gibbard said of Congleton in NME. “I was just immediately completely taken with John. Sometimes the path you start on doesn’t end up being the path you take, but the path that you do take ends up being a far better one than your original plan. And that was certainly the case when working with John.”

DCFC’s fresh perspective, as well as a healthy retrospective, led to Asphalt Meadows. The band previewed the record with the singles “Roman Candles,” “Foxglove Through The Clearcut,” (a song Gibbard started writing 25 years ago) and “Here To Forever.”

Marcus Mumford – (self-titled)

Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford put out his debut solo album, (self-titled), on Friday via Capitol Records. Produced by Blake Mills, the 10-track effort was recorded at Sound City in Los Angeles after work started at Mumford’s home in England. A number of special guests contributed to the LP including Brandi Carlile, Clairo, Julia Michaels, Phoebe Bridgers and Monica Martin. Mumford detailed the genesis of (self-titled) and how he came to work with Mills during an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, revealing:

I started in January, was it January ’21, with this task ahead of me. I didn’t know at that point whether it was going to be for the band or for someone else or for me. I just said, ‘I need to reconnect with my songwriting muscles. They’ve gone into atrophy during COVID.’ I did a bit of scoring work and I did a bit of songwriting, but not enough that my… The songwriting muscles weren’t being exercised. I just went away. Said to the lads in the band, ‘Look, I’m going to go away and write. I don’t know what it’s for, but I’m just going to follow the creative. I’m going to set myself the task of writing as honestly as I can.’ It was at home in Devon, in England, in my little studio to start with. Then, because I have a US passport, as long as I did the quarantining the right way, I was able to come to LA. Once I’d started writing, I connected with Blake Mills, who I’d written a song with six years previously, and we’d taught together and I’d been a huge fan of his work for a long time, both his writing and his playing and his production. I took him ‘Cannibal’ in its infancy as a song and said, ‘Do you want to work on this with me? I don’t know what it’s for at the moment. It’s not for any particular record. I just want to flesh it out.’ We did that, came together quite quick. Then we moved straight on to ‘Grace’. And that was the second song. ‘Better Off High’ was the third. We just kept rolling and even up until like November ’21, I was refusing to refer to it as a record.

The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta

A decade has passed since the last The Mars Volta album was released. The duo of Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala return with the self-titled, The Mars Volta, their first album since 2012’s Noctourniquet. The duo previewed the 14-track self-titled LP with the singles “Blacklight Shine,” “Graveyard Love” and “Vigil.” Press materials for The Mars Volta noted:

The new album shakes loose some of band’s long-standing shibboleths, with only two tracks lasting longer than four minutes, and the dizzying, abrasive prog stylings of earlier albums absent. The Mars Volta pulses with subtle brilliance, Caribbean rhythms underpinning sophisticated, turbulent song craft. This is guitarist/composer Omar Rodríguez-López and singer/lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala at their most mature, most concise, most focused. Their sound and fury channeled to greatest effect.

Gogol Bordello – Solidaritine

Solidaritine is the eighth studio album released by Gogol Bordello. Arriving today on Casa Gogol/Cooking Vinyl, the new album is the band’s first LP since 2017’s Seekers & Finders. The 13-track Solidaritine was recorded with acclaimed producer Walter Schreifels. Guests who appear on the record include H.R. of Bad Brains on “The Era of the End of Eras,” and Ukrainian poet and novelist Serhiy Zhadan and electro-folk band Kazka on the single, “Forces of Victory.” The latter song was originally recorded for Gogol Bordello’s fourth album, 2007’s Super Taranta!, and appears on Solidaritine with reworked lyrics. Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz described Solidaritine, stating:

“This is music of survival and perseverance. That’s always been our main driving force. We just want to give the world a timeless album with messages of human potential and power … Our music was always about perseverance. Rock ‘n’ roll comes out of a real place. Take a group of people who have endured immigrant traumas and dislocation. They create music, get successful together, become more baroque and experimental, and experience some years of relative calm. All of a sudden, humankind encounters these problems like the pandemic and the war. This is when rock ‘n’ roll is the most necessary and where we perform the best … I started playing punk rock as a kid. So, I was going back to it. I realized music was a really great way to levitate above all of these trials of life.”

The Greyboy Allstars – A Town Called Earth: Immortal Edition

Funk and soul innovators The Greyboy Allstars reissued their long out-of-print 1997 sophomore album A Town Called Earth today via their own Knowledge Room Recordings and reissue label Light In The Attic. Arriving for the first time digitally and on vinyl, A Town Called Earth: Immortal Editon received the remastering treatment from Dave Cooley and Phillip Rodriguez at Elysian Masters from the original analog tapes.

Along with the original 10 tracks, A Town Called Earth: Immortal Editon also contains a previously unreleased cut, “Cassiopeia’s Chair,” described in a press release as “a tight yet breezy groover with a touch of the band’s skewed, cosmic sensibilities.” Additionally, the reissue contains liner notes from Greyboy Allstars mentor and collaborator Fred Wesley of James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic fame.

“It feels great to still be making music together as we revisit this seminal record,” saxophonist Karl Denson stated. “It was a great time in our lives, [when] we found like-minded artists and were able to do something on the scale of A Town Called Earth.”

Whitney – Spark

Chicago-based duo Whitney, Julien Ehlrich and Max Kakacek, present their album Spark today through Secretly Canadian. The new record follows the band’s 2019 LP, Forever Turned Around, and their 2016 breakthrough debut, Light Upon The Lake. In many ways, both those albums colored Spark as Forever Turned Around saw the band trying to replicate the success and sound of Light Upon The Lake, which led to the duo spinning their wheels as they had changed as people and musicians.

To get a fresh perspective, Ehlrich headed to Portland, Oregon after the end of a years-long relationship and Kakacek followed hoping to dodge the end of a long Chicago winter but also in hopes of writing with Ehlrich. A few days later, flights were grounded and the duo dug in in Portland as the pandemic took hold.

“We had time to just sit and watch the body of work grow in real time,” Ehlrich said of the period. “We were just stacking stronger and stronger songs on top of each other.” “Our favorite way to make records, the way we made the first one,” Kakacek added.

While the process was the same, the result is markedly different on Spark — a title that represents both the destruction and rebirth of fire, an ever-present aspect of 2020 Portland. The duo’s newfound sound is evident on the singles “Real Love,” “Twirl,” “Memory” and more.

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

New Zealand quartet The Beths released their album Expert In A Dying Field today via Carpark Records. Frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes’ songwriting on the record features sketches of relationships of all kinds and the subject matter examines the question: “what do you do with how intimately versed you’ve become in a person, once they’re gone from your life?” As per press materials for the album.

The band’s third full-length and the follow-up to 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers, Expert In A Dying Field saw The Beths taking to guitarist Jonathan Pearce’s studio in Auckland to craft most of the album toward the end of 2021. When New Zealand went back on a four-month national lockdown with the COVID-19 omicron surge, the band shot ideas back and forth remotely while rounding out the arrangements alone — an unfamiliar creative process for the close-knit quartet.

In February 2022, The Beths left New Zealand for the first time in years to tour the U.S. where they finished mixing on the road and finally wrapped the album with a three-day whirlwind session in Los Angeles. The resulting Expert In A Dying Field boasts “12 jewels of tight, guitar-heavy songs that worm their way into your head, an incandescent collision of power-pop and skuzz,” as per the press release. The Beths previewed the record with “Silence Is Golden,” the title track and “Knees Deep.”

Julian Lage – View With A Room

Guitarist Julian Lage released View With A Room, a new album recorded with fellow acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell, today on the seminal jazz label Blue Note Records. The album was produced by Lage’s wife, singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy, and features Lage’s frequent supporting musicians, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King. Glaspy worked at Brooklyn’s Bridge Studios with engineer Mark Goodell, who Lage credits with “wrangling this album into a sonic place that references what we love best about classic Blue Note records while still feeling utterly contemporary and unique to the sound of this band.” Lage discussed the album and working with Frissell, stating:

“There’s no one I would trust more than Bill Frisell to come into our trio ecosystem and be able to expand it while totally embracing it. It became a beautiful collaboration that achieved the Technicolor experience that I’ve been searching for. In so many ways, I’ve wanted to make this record for years. It comes from a line of musical inquiry: can you have lush orchestration combined with an organic sense of improvisation and the agility of a small ensemble? The answer came from some of the historical references that matter to me about the electric guitar. There’s a certain lineage that grows out of early pioneers like Jimmy Bryant and George Barnes and Charlie Christian, where there’s this almost electric volatility to the sound. It’s both beautiful and kind of sharp; it’s subdued and warm, but also kind of gritty. In thinking about the orchestration for this album, I wanted to foster the point of that arrow.”

Hot Buttered Rum – Shine All Night

Bay Area string band stalwarts Hot Buttered Rum return with a new album today, Shine All Night. The follow-up to 2020’s Something Beautiful saw the ban taking full advantage of the pandemic pause to craft new music. Shine All Night’s optimistic title is indicative of the band’s determination “to help provide some cheer in the times ahead, whether those times are brighter, darker or, as so often, somewhere in between,” as per a press release. Hot Buttered previewed Shine All Night with the lead single, “No Reason Why,” which, perhaps fittingly, was inspired by a dream banjoist Erik Yates had.

“I’ve become a believer in finishing songs fast – when I pick them up later, it’s best if they have some shape and weight to play with,” Yates stated in Bluegrass Today. “‘No Reason Why’ was half-formed when I woke up one morning in February ’22, pulled mainly from a dream, and I did my best to stay sleepy so I could get it all out.”

Con Brio – Seasons

Bay Area-based funk, soul and R&B ensemble Con Brio underwent a turbulent period before recording their latest release, Seasons, an EP which is out now. The band said farewell to frontman Ziek McCarter and keyboardist Patrick Glynn after long stints in the band. The remaining members did some soul searching and decided to move forward, enlisting powerhouse vocalist Sarah Clarke and multi-instrumentalist AJ McKinley to join. Con Brio took over an outdated and roughed up rehearsal space in Oakland and turned the facility into a modern recording studio, where the septet worked out the material on and recorded Seasons. Clarke brought a new dynamic to the mix both with her voice and songwriting abilities.

Ali McGuirk – Til It’s Gone

Burlington-based singer-songwriter Ali McGuirk issued her new album, Til It’s Gone, today through Signature Sounds. The nine-song album was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jonah Tolchin, who also played guitar. McGuirk recruited a number of musicians to back her on the album, including guitarist Jeff Lockhart, oranist Larry Goldings, bassist Nic Coolidge and drummer Kevin Clifford. Others who contributed to Til It’s Gone include vocalist Valerie Pinkston, percussionist Lenny Castro and Little Feat guitarist/mandolinist Fred Tackett.

“Fred Tackett came in and was casually telling stories about sessions he did with Ringo and Harry Nilsson like it’s not a big deal,” McGuirk stated. “It took me a minute to acclimate, but once the music started, everyone was so supportive and into the tunes.”

The New Mastersounds – The Deplar Effect

Leeds, England-birthed funk and soul quartet The New Mastersounds are back with The Deplar Effect, their 17th album. The members of the band assembled at the brand new facility Floki Studios in Northern Iceland to record the follow-up to 2019’s Shake It. Like that LP, The Deplar Effect features contributions from vocalist Lamar Williams Jr.. The sessions in the studio located down the valley of Eleven Experiences’ Deplar Farm in Troll Peninsula, Iceland marked the first time the group reunited in person following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Surrounded by beautiful weather, snowcapped mountains, water, and the coziness of the brand new studio in Northern Iceland, the group was able to hone in on new works with no distractions,” noted press materials heralding the album’s release. “The ‘effect’ of soaking in the experience and citing many moments of getting goosebumps and feeding off of the energy in the room after an extended absence inspired the album’s title The Deplar Effect.”

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

JamBase Collections