Today’s New Albums: King Gizzard, Broken Bells, Bonny Light Horseman, Ghost Light & More
Don’t miss these new releases out today, Friday, October 7.
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 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Broken Bells, Bonny Light Horseman, Ghost Light, , Moonalice, Courtney Marie Andrews, Will Sheff, The California Honeydrops, , Barrett Davis and SeepeopleS. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava
The unbelievably prolific King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard begin their three-album rollout in October today with the release of Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava via their KGLW label. The new record isn’t even the band’s first release of 2022, having issued the double album Omnium Gatherum in April, which followed another LP, March’s Made In Timeland. Today’s Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava sees the eclectic and intrepid group whipping up more magic on the spot in the lab. King Gizz’s creative process on Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava saw the band assigning each of the seven tracks with a beats-per-minute value. Moreover, each song is played in a different mode of the major scale: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. The feat is reflected in the first letter of each word in the title.
“All we had prepared as we walked into the studio were these seven song titles,” guitarist Stu Mackenzie said. “I have a list on my phone of hundreds of possible song titles. I’ll never use most of them, but they’re words and phrases I feel could be digested into King Gizzard-world. Naturally, each day’s jams had a different flavor, because each day was in a different scale and a different BPM,” Mackenzie continued. “We’d walk into the studio, set everything up, get a rough tempo going and just jam. No preconceived ideas at all, no concepts, no songs. We’d jam for maybe 45 minutes, and then all swap instruments and start again.”
Broken Bells – Into The Blue
Into The Blue arrived today as the third full length issued by Broken Bells, the project helmed by The Shins’ James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton). The duo’s last LP was 2014’s After The Disco. The new record is the first from Broken Bells to feature both samples and organic sounds from Mercer and Burton. Into The Blue also sees the friends and collaborators continuing to explore their mutual love of the eclectic. According to promotional materials, the album contains sounds ranging “from The Beatles to Pink Floyd, from ‘60s psychedelia to 70s rock and AM Gold, from ‘80s New Wave to ‘90s Trip Hop… and of course the formative Elephant 6 collective.”
Bonny Light Horseman – Rolling Golden Holy
Back with their second full length release, Bonny Light Horseman have released Rolling Golden Holy through 37d03d Records. The band comprising Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats) and Josh Kaufman originated in 2018 and released their self-titled, Grammy-nominated debut album in 2020. Like that record, Rolling Golden Holy was produced by Kaufman and features drummer JT Bates and bassist/saxophonist Mike Lewis. Writing sessions were planned shortly after the release of their last album, but the pandemic pushed those plans out a year. In spring 2021, the trio and their families retreated to Upstate New York for fruitful writing sessions held in the “yes, and” improvisational spirit that gave birth to the 10 new original songs making up Rolling Golden Holy. The album was tracked over two recording sessions, first held at Aaron Dessner’s Long Pond studio in Stuyvesant, New York and second at Dreamland in West Hurley, New York. Kaufman, Mitchell and Johnson collectively learned to play the dulcimer, each performing on the instrument on the record.
Ghost Light – The Healing
Ghost Light released their sophomore album, The Healing, today through Royal Potato Family. The seven-song album was recorded by guitarist/vocalist Tom Hamilton, keyboardist Holly Bowling, guitarist/vocalist Raina Mullen, drummer Scotty Zwang and bassist Dan Africano (after recording the album, Africano was replaced by former Turkuaz bassist Taylor Shell). The Healing follows the release of Ghost Light’s debut studio album, Best Kept Secrets in 2019.
“The story is less the fallout as it is the recovery,” Hamilton stated. “Sticking with it. Staying the course in the face of adversity, uncomfortable conversations or situations. The path to health and healing is often not the path of least resistance but the path of perseverance and doing the work.”
Sun Ra Arkestra – Living Sky
Legendary jazz ensemble Sun Ra Arkestra, under the leadership of the esteemed, 98-year-old saxophonist Marshall Allen further their influential legacy with the release of Living Sky. Out today on the Omni Sound label, Living Sky was commissioned by executive producer Ahmet Ulug, who recently launched Omni Sound. Ulug requested Marshall record music that was “Spiritual and hypnotic and to that effect down tempo, melodic and grooving… from the kora to EVI [Electronic Valve Instrument]; ancient to the future. Music that is accessible and healing in the COVID era.” The seven-track album includes original songs written by the group’s namesake, influential jazz pianist Sun Ra, who left the planet in 1993. Among those are “Night of the Living Sky” and “Somebody Else’s Idea,” the latter song was originally recorded in 1955 and again in 1970 for the 1971 LP, My Brother The Wind, Vol II. The Living Sky recording is the Arkestra’s first instrumental version. The album also presents Sun Ra’s arrangement of Frédéric Chopin’s “Prelude in A Major,” a take on “Wish Upon a Star” from the classic animated Disney film Pinocchio, as well as Allen originals “Day of the Living Sky,” “Marshall’s Groove” and “Firefly.” Living Sky was recorded at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse SoundWorks on June 15, 2021. The follow-up to the band’s 2021 album Swirling features contributions from 19 musicians, with a string section among the participants.
Moonalice – Full Moonalice Vol. 2
Bay Area-based Moonalice released the second EP of the year via Full Moonalice Vol. 2, which is out now on the Nettwerk label. The new installment marks the second recording by the group after expanding to a 10-piece band. The lineup currently consists of co-founding guitarist Roger McNamee, along with lead/pedal steel guitarist Barry Sless, bassist Pete Sears, drummer John Molo and keyboardist Jason Crosby alongside newcomers Lester Chambers and Dylan Chambers as well as the T Sisters Erika, Rachel and Chloe Tietjen. As with Vol. 1, Moonalice teamed with Grammy-winning engineer Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Pink, Norah Jones) to co-produce Full Moonalice Vol. 2. The follow-up EP presents covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band,” the Allen Toussaint-written/The Pointer Sisters-popularized “Yes We Can Can,” The Chamber Brothers’ “Love, Peace And Happiness,” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By,” a medley of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” and Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” and their original “Love Me Today.”
Courtney Marie Andrews – Loose Future
Singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews issued her new full length, Loose Future, today through Fat Possum Records. Andrews recorded the new album at Flying Cloud Studios, the upstate New York recording facility of labelmate Sam Evian (the moniker of Sam Owen). Owen also contributed to the album along with Bonny Light Horseman’s Josh Kaufman and Grizzly Bear’s Chris Bear. Loose Future follows Andrews’ Grammy-nominated 2020 album Old Flowers. “Whereas Old Flowers was a beautiful and emotional break-up record,” press materials noted, “CMA’s return with Loose Future is a bright, dynamic, falling-in-love record.” The 10-song Loose Future was previewed by the singles, “These Are The Good Old Days,” the title track “Losse Future” and “Satellite.” Regarding “Satellite,” Andrews stated:
I’ve written a lot of love songs, but there’s always a tinge of heartbreak. But “Satellite” is a love song without caveats. I wanted to look forward, and fall in love with the mystery of someone. Let love in, without questioning or instigating how it might hurt me. Sonically, I wanted to go to space. This kind of love isn’t earthbound.
Will Sheff – Nothing Special
Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff makes his solo debut with Nothing Special. The release out today on ATO Records. While officially a solo album, Sheff tapped many guests to contribute to the LP. Bandmates Will Graefe (guitar) and Benjamin Lazar Davis (bass) appear on the record as do singer/songwriter Christian Lee Hutson, Dawes drummer Griffin Goldsmith and Death Cab For Cutie pianist Zac Rae with guest vocals provided by Cassandra Jenkins and Eric D. Johnson. Nothing Special was tracked over the course of three separate sessions engineered by John Congleton (St. Vincent, The War On Drugs), Matt Linesch (Edward Sharpe, Gil Landry) and Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers, Conor Oberst).
Will Sheff shared the following in regards to the eight-song LP:
“When I was just a kid, I got caught up in the dream of being a rock and roll star. Like so many other young people, I fell in love with the idea of being called to this glorious path outside of ordinary life. And I ended up in a band with people who felt this same call – especially our brilliant drummer Travis Nelsen, who was like a brother to me. We would trade tales of hilarious antics and outrageous excess and tragic death like they were almost scripture. Travis and I fell out painfully, and he died in the early weeks of lockdown. I think a big part of Nothing Special centers around grieving for him, grieving for everything my friends have lost, grieving for the rock and rock and roll myth, and trying to open my eyes to a more transcendent reality.”
The California Honeydrops – Soft Spot
The California Honeydrops released their first full-length album of original music since 2018, Soft Spot, on their own Tubtone Records today. The new LP follows the band’s 2022 covers album, Covers From The Cave, as well as their 2020 EP Just One More, And Then Some. Recorded at the band’s Oakland studio with the help of engineer Jacob “Cubby” LaCally, Soft Spot saw the Honeydrops’ Lech Wierzynkski, Ben Malament, Beau Bradbury, Lorenzo Loera and Johnny Bones teaming up with collaborators Leon Cotter, Scott Messersmith, Oliver Tuttle and Miles Lyons. Malament detailed the sessions:
“The first thing many people say to us after watching the band perform on stage is ‘Man, you all LOVE to play together!’ That’s why Soft Spot is such an important album, because we didn’t get to play and hunker down as a full band like this for almost two years! After a few of us recorded the Covers from the Cave album, strictly from home for our quarantined fans, it was a pleasure and privilege to let loose all together in the beautiful Oakland studio, bouncing off each other with creativity, jokes, and sweat, with Thai food and donuts, day after day, night after night. The music on Soft Spot speaks that joy and diligence. Sometimes we recorded when we were hella sick or had pulled back muscles—getting older is tough! Sometimes we recorded on our birthdays and had cake next to the mics. When you get good sounds, you can’t stop! And all the sounds we were getting were good. Really good. And that’s when the recording is easy.”
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live in Colorado Vol. 2
The second installment documenting Bob Weir And Wolf Bros landmark 2021 Colorado run, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live in Colorado Vol. 2, is out today via Third Man Records. Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live in Colorado arrived in February. Like the first edition, Vol. 2 compiles live takes captured during Weir and company’s Colorado run which saw the band at Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver June 8 and 9 followed by two nights in Vail at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre June 11 and 12. The run saw guitarist Bob Weir, drummer Jay Lane, bassist Don Was, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and pedal steel player Greg Leisz teaming up with The Wolfpack string and horn section — cellist Alex Kelly, violinist Mads Tolling, trombonist Adam Theis, trumpeter Brian Switzer and woodwind specialist Sheldon Brown — for the first time in the band’s first shows back after the pandemic pause. Among its highlights, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live in Colorado Vol. 2 contains the complete “Terrapin Station Suite” split between the two nights at Red Rocks and more.
“This was our first quick tour with The Wolfpack,” Weir noted. “There’s a rawness to it that we’ll prolly never get again…”
Barrett Davis – The Ballad of Aesop Fin
Singer-songwriter Barrett Davis released his latest album, The Ballad Of Aesop Fin, which featured the JamBase-premiered single “Lazarus.” A native of Lake Toxaway in Western North Carolina, Davis was raised in a musical family: his father a guitarist, his mother a pianist, and his sister currently a professional opera singer. As a teen, Davis ventured to nearby Brevard where he saw local bluegrass outfit Steep Canyon Rangers and renowned drummer Jeff Sipe regularly perform. Coming full circle, Davis’ previously shared single, “Quiver,” features fellow North Carolina native Woody Platt of Steep Canyon Rangers. Davis, a self-described “musician-turned-carpenter-turned-musician,” was a member of the indie-folk band Foxfire, which was founded in 2011 and disbanded in 2014. Aaron Aiken — one of Davis’ former Foxfire bandmates who now fronts Pink Beds — produced The Ballad Of Aesop Fin and played mandolin and guitar. The Ballad of Aesop Fin also includes contributions from bassist JT Linville, banjoist Owen Grooms, keyboardist Derrick Gardner, Dobro/pedal steel/lap steel player Jackson Dulaney, pedal steel guitarist Ryan Stigmon, drummer Ryan Sargent, fiddler/cellist Noah Gardner and vocalist Johanna Davis.
“Aesop Fin is a mythical character, raised in the woods,” Davis said. “His dad is a moonshine runner, his mother nowhere to be found. Aesop finds a lover and ends up getting killed in a gambling incident, then she ends up tumbling into a waterfall – it’s symbolic of the vicious cycle of tragedies in these mountains of Appalachia.”
SeepeopleS – Field Guide For Survival In This Dying World
SeepeopleS issued their latest album, Field Guide For Survival In This Dying World, on frontman Will Bradford’s RascalZRecordZ label. Bradford played a number of the instruments on the album himself, and brought in some top-notch musicians to contribute to the album including guitarist Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), drummer Nikki Glaspie (Beyoncé, The Nth Power, Maceo Parker), pedal steel guitarist “Cowboy” Eddie Long (Taylor Swift, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, Hank Williams Jr.) and more. Bradford also teamed back up with longtime recording partner Will Holland (Pixies, Dead Can Dance, New Pornographers) to produce the record ay Boston’s Chillhouse Studios. Work on Field Guide For Survival In This Dying World began in 2017. Bradford had plans to release the album in 2020 and embark on SeepeoplesS 20th anniversary tour before COVID-19 sidelined live music. In 2021, SeepeopleS shared the Field Guide For Survival In This Dying World track, “It Feels Heavy” featuring The Nth Power’s Nate Edgar on bass, as well as vocalist Brooke Binion of theWorst.
“One of the few good things about the pandemic was that it was really the first time, as musicians, that everyone had time off the road to reconnect with each other. I was so depressed at the time, having my friends come to the rescue and get me pumped about the record again was, creatively, exactly what I needed. Also, in some ways, the convenience of the world ending while we were already making an end of the world album, certainly helped motivate us to follow through on finishing this record, and ultimately, this statement.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.