Don’t Miss New Albums From MGMT, Real Estate, Hurray For The Riff Raff & More

New releases from JJ Grey & Mofro, Steve Gunn & David Moore and Can, as well as Owsley “Bear” Stanley’s latest Sonic Journal are also out today, Friday, February 23.

By Team JamBase Feb 23, 2024 6:50 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 MGMT, Real Estate, Hurray for the Riff Raff, JJ Grey & Mofro, Steve Gunn & David Moore, Can, and Owsley “Bear” Stanley’s latest Sonic Journal. Read on for more insight into the records we have ready to spin.

MGMT – Loss Of Life

MGMT return with Loss Of Life, their first album since 2018, which was released today through their new label Mom + Pop Music. The duo of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser worked with producer Patrick Wimberly on the new 10-track LP. Longtime MGMT collaborator Dave Fridmann once again mixed the album, as he has their last four. Christine and the Queens contributed to the song “Dancing In Babylon,” making it the first guest feature on an MGMT album. Additional production was provided by Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Richardson, along with Miles A. Robinson who served as associate producer and engineer. “All joking aside (never!), we are very proud of this album and the fact that it was a relatively painless birth after a lengthy gestation period, and are happy to be releasing this baby into the world with Mom+Pop,” MGMT stated. “Musically speaking, we are running at around 20% adult contemporary and no more than this, please.”

“Simply put, the guys did it again!,” writer/director/The Best Show co-host Tom Scharpling wrote in an essay about Loss Of Life. “They’re now five-for-five, which last time I checked gets you into virtually any Hall of Fame. This record projects an aura of undeniable warmth throughout, an album brimming with comfortable confidence. There are epic tracks and intimate portraits, a little bit of glam here, some psych-folk there. It’s a slice of magic that fits perfectly into the MGMT oeuvre while expanding the boundaries once again.”

Real Estate – Daniel

Real Estate issued their new album entitled Daniel, through Domino Recording Co. Real Estate tapped Grammy-winning producer Daniel Tashian (Kacey Musgraves) to helm the 11-track record. Tashian and the band — guitarists Martin Courtney and Julian Lynch, bassist Alex Bleeker, keyboardist Matt Kallman and drummer Sammi Niss — recorded their sixth studio album at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A. Justin Schipper contributed pedal steel guitar to several tracks. The band described their time recording Daniel, stating:

“In Nashville, all five members of Real Estate shared a rental, cutting up in close quarters after the imposition of separation of these last few years. Several days into recording, they were discussing album titles when someone suggested ‘Daniel,’ simply because it seemed funny to bestow a human name upon a record. Was it for Daniel Tashian? Maybe. Was it a nod to The Replacements’ Tim? Possibly. Was it the sign of a band that has now been around long enough to take its music seriously without taking itself or its perception too seriously? Absolutely.

Daniel is a record of wonderful pop songs, its string of hooks and stream of worry irresistibly connected in the way few bands have ever done better than Real Estate. But perhaps just as important, it is an expression of the self-acceptance that can come with maturity, with realizing it’s enough to be who you want to be.”

Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Past Is Still Alive

Hurray for the Riff Raff (Alynda Segarra) released a new album, The Past Is Still Alive, today through Nonesuch. Segarra recruited Brad Cook to produce the follow up to Hurray for the Riff Raff’s 2022 album, Life on Earth. Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis mixed the album, which sees contributions from Mogis’ Bright Eyes bandmate Conor Oberst, along with S.G. Goodman, Phil Cook, Anjimile, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, and more. Segarra spoke about the new album and lead single, “Alibi”:

The Past Is Still Alive is an album grappling with time, memory, love and loss, recorded in Durham, North Carolina a month after losing my father. ‘Alibi’ is a plea, a last ditch effort to get through to someone you already know you’re gonna lose. It’s a song to myself, to my father, almost fooling myself because I know what’s done is done. But it feels good to beg. A reckoning with time and memory. The song is exhausted with loving someone so much it hurts. Addiction separates us. With memories of the Lower East Side in the early 2000s of my childhood, mixed with imagery of the endless West that calls to artists and wanderers.”

JJ Grey & Mofro – Olustee

Swamp rockers JJ Grey & Mofro are back with their first album in nine years, Olustee, which arrived today via Alligator Records. The 11-track collection is acclaimed singer/songwriter JJ Grey and his band’s first self-produced album and marks the outfit’s return to Alligator, which previously released five JJ Grey & Mofro records between 2007 and 2013. Press materials described the long-awaited LP:

On Olustee (Grey’s first self-produced album), the North Florida-born and bred Grey sings his personal stories with universal themes of redemption, rebirth, hard luck, and inner peace. With his music, Grey also celebrates good times with lifelong friends, oftentimes mixing the carnal with the cerebral in the very same song. Fueled by his vividly detailed, timeless originals spun from his own life and experiences in the Northern Florida swampland, Grey’s gritty baritone drips with honest passion and testifies with a preacher’s foot-pounding fervor.

With Olustee, JJ Grey has once again pushed the boundaries of his own creative musical, lyrical and vocal talents, delivering an album that is destined to become a classic. Many of the songs are steeped in the mythical Southern stories of his ancestral Florida home and filled with people from JJ’s life. The songs overflow with the sights and sounds of the region as told through the eyes of a poet and sung with pure, unvarnished soul. The album’s eleven songs range from the raucous, celebratory first radio single, Wonderland, to an escape from an out-of-control wildfire in the title track, to the inward-looking closer, Deeper Than Belief. Singing of his own personal triumphs and struggles, his hopes and desires, his friends and family, Grey’s message is simple and strong — respect the natural world and always try to live in the moment. And never forget the importance of having a good time.

Steve Gunn & David Moore – Live in London

Guitarist Steve Gunn and pianist David Moore (of Brooklyn-based collective Bing & Ruth) released a new album, Live In London. As implied by the title, the pair recorded the album during a live performance held on April 10, 2023 at Cafe Oto in London. The concert was recorded by Billy Steiger and was the second-to-last show of the pair’s 2023 Spring Tour. Broken into five distinct passages, the album features largely improvised interaction between the guitarist and pianist. According to to press materials:

Using pieces that appeared on their collaboration album Let The Moon Be A Planet as loose armatures throughout their live set, Gunn and Moore expand and contract a sense of tension within the meditative calm of five new compositions, appearing in real time from rippling interplay between piano and guitar and between, and from a place of joy and camaraderie.

Can – Live In Paris 1973

Live In Paris 1973 is the latest installment of live archival releases from German krautrock icons Can. Recorded at L’Olympia in Paris on May 12, 1973, the recording features keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, guitarist Michael Karoli, drummer Jaki Liebezeit and bassist Holger Czukay, as well as — for the first time in the series — vocalist Damo Suzuki. Suzuki, who died on February 9 at age 74, was a member of Can between 1970 and 1973, leaving the groundbreaking group shortly after this Paris concert. Schmidt, the only surviving member of that lineup of the group, produced the live record alongside producer/engineer René Tinner. The release is broken up into five distinct segments and was culled from recordings found in the Spoon Records vaults and supplemented by fans.

Various Artists – Bear’s Sonic Journals: Sing Out!

The Owsley Stanley Foundation issued the 10th installment in the Bear’s Sonic Journals series, Bear’s Sonic Journals: Sing Out!, which was recorded by Owsley “Bear” Stanley and is the last known live recording by the Grateful Dead’s first soundman of any members of the legendary band. Bear’s Sonic Journals: Sing Out! was recorded by Bear on April 25, 1981, at the Berkeley Community Theater. Called a “mini-Woodstock” by Wavy Gravy, the concert featured performances by Grateful Dead guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, as well as a Rhythm Devils set performed by the Dead’s drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. Others on the lineup included fellow notable Bay Area musicians Country Joe McDonald, Kate Wolf and Rosalie Sorrels. The event was not only Bear’s final time recording any member of the Grateful Dead, it was the late legendary sound engineer’s last time recording a notable live concert. The Owsley Stanley Foundation further detailed Bear’s Sonic Journals: Sing Out!:

The 36-song, 3-CD set also contains a 50-page booklet with essays penned by Grateful Dead scholars, Nicholas G. Meriwether and Jesse Jarnow, original artwork by 3x-Grammy Award-winner Susan Archie, and previously unpublished photography from the night of this incredible show.


Compiled by Team JamBase.

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