Phoenix, Seth Avett, The Lone Bellow & More Release New Albums Today

Rayland Baxter, BTTRFLY Quintet, Jason Carter, Tropical Gothclub and Tinariwen also have new albums out today.

By Team JamBase Nov 4, 2022 6:25 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 Phoenix, Seth Avett, The Lone Bellow, Rayland Baxter, BTTRFLY Quintet, Jason Carter, Tropical Gothclub and Tinariwen. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Phoenix – Alpha Zulu

Out today from Phoenix on Loyaute/Glassnote is Alpha Zulu, the French band’s first new album since 2017. The group — consisting of vocalist Thomas Mars, guitarist/keyboardist Laurent “Branco” Brancowitz, bassist Deck d’Arcy and guitarist Christian Mazzalai — self-produced the follow-up to Ti Amo. Alpha Zulu was recorded in Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which is located in the Palais du Louvre. Phoenix tapped Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig to contribute to the track “Tonight.”

The album was inspired in large part by longtime Phoenix friend and collaborator Philippe Zdar, who passed away in 2019. “We lost more than ever, almost,” Christian explained of Zdar. “We had many moments where we could feel his ideas. Jeté, that’s a word he would say, when you’re throwing something very fast.” The band persevered and selected an unusual space to create the LP with Paris locked down due to COVID. “We felt it would be a fantastic adventure to create something out of nothing in a museum,” Branco added. “And so with the pandemic, we could live exactly this scene, to be alone in an empty museum.”

Seth Avett – Seth Avett Sings Greg Brown

The Avett BrothersSeth Avett honors the work of acclaimed Iowa-based singer-songwriter Greg Brown with his solo album, Seth Avett Sings Greg Brown, which is out now on Ramseur Records. According to press materials, Avett “transcribed, interpreted and went deep inside 10 songs by the indie legend who’s been one of his guiding lights since he first heard him at age 15.” Avett co-produced the album with Dana Nielsen and recorded it primarily in various hotels around the country while touring with his band. Brown released his first album, Hacklebarney with Dick Pinney in 1974. Subsequent solo albums 44 & 66 and The Iowa Waltz were released in the early 1980s. Brown has released more than 25 albums, his latest 2012’s Hymns to What Is Left. Avett recently met Brown at his home in Iowa which he shares with his wife, fellow singer-songwriter Iris Dement. Avett will open The Avett Brothers’ show tonight at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre on with a Greg Brown-centric set. Regarding the project, Avett stated:

“When I heard Greg Brown’s music, it opened the door to a world of songwriting inspiration. Since then, I’ve been connecting to the arc of a man’s life and his story. It’s laid bare the simultaneous nature of the entire human experience in a way. With this record, I just hope listeners get an introduction to Greg Brown, and for anyone who can enjoy it, I hope it’s a bridge into a place that otherwise perhaps they wouldn’t have walked into.

“I wanted to explore, not just through listening, but through my hands, through my body, through my own vocal cords, what some of the deeper meaning of these songs are. They’re very malleable – lending themselves more easily to interpretation and discovery.

“He has such a unique, incredible kind of sage-like energy. The most confusing thing to me now is how in the world he made so many records, because as I know him, as a man in his seventies, the day is coming to him. He doesn’t seem to be chasing anything, and the idea of ambition is just hilarious, when coupled with his spirit and personality.

“I see him as a master songwriter. I don’t think all of this work is indicative of his narrative. There is an autobiography through his forty records, but he is speaking for us. Like all the great authors and poets speak for us. He is in those records fully, but there’s a lot more in them than just him …

“Before we met, I had sent him three songs. I think that helped open the door a bit and make him more willing to take me seriously. Otherwise, I’m just some dude coming out of nowhere, like, ‘I love your songs and I made this record.’”

The Lone Bellow – Love Songs For Losers

The Lone Bellow are back with their fifth studio album, Love Songs For Losers. The follow-up to 2020’s Half Moon Light saw the trio — frontman Zach Williams, guitarist Brian Elmquist and multi-instrumentalist Kanene Donehey Pipkin — recording, with help from bassist Jason Pipkin and drummer Julian Dorio, in the former Nashville residence of the late great Roy Orbison. Love Songs For Losers also marked the group’s first self-produced record. Williams detailed the new LP:

“One of the reasons we went with Love Songs for Losers as the album title is that I’ve always seen myself as a loser in love — I’ve never been able to get it completely right. The songs are looking at bad relationships and wonderful relationships and all the in-between, sometimes with a good deal of levity. It’s us just trying to encapsulate the whole gamut of experience that we all go through as human beings.”

Rayland Baxter – If I Were A Butterfly

Rayland Baxter returns with his first studio album of original music in four years. If I Were A Butterfly saw the singer-songwriter in a unique locale, an abandoned rubber band factory converted into the Thunder Sound recording facility. Described as “loss and existential ruminations on happiness and freedom,” Rayland finished If I Were A Butterfly shortly after the death of his father, renowned pedal steel guitarist Bucky Baxter. The singer-songwriter co-produced the record with ​​Tim O’Sullivan and Kai Welch. Previews included the title track, the aptly named “Rubberband Man” and “My Argentina.” Baxter drew inspiration from the sounds he found around him:

“Sometimes the bullfrogs in the pond outside would pulse in a certain tempo and I’d apply that to a song, or I’d hear a bird chirping and it would inspire me to add harmonica in a particular place. I could be walking around this massive building in the middle of the night and the air-conditioning would turn on, and it’d give me the idea to include a synth part that holds a similar note. I’d wait for those moments to happen and whenever I tried to force anything, the music usually rejected it.”

BTTRFLY Quintet – Coast

Supergroup BTTRFLY Quintet released their debut solo album, Coast, today. The ensemble features Denver-based musicians drummer Adam Deitch (Lettuce/Break Science), trumpeter Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom (Lettuce), saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic), keyboardist Borahm Lee (Break Science) and bassist/visual artist Hunter Roberts (Break Science). Described as a “soul-jazz fusion collective,” the artists formed the group to give themselves a new creative outlet during the early days of the pandemic. Adam Deitch explained the mission behind their sound in an interview with Live For Live Music, stating:

“We all just totally agreed on not doing what’s called straight-ahead jazz, which is more traditional jazz. We wanted to add something futuristic because we’re all in sort of modern groups and we dig modern sounds. But the idea to have songs in some different time signatures, have drum solos, sax solos, and that sort of thing, that comes from us having a love for jazz music and just American Black music in general and how to combine it all into a thing that represents us and where we’re at and something kind of different from what we’re known from.”

Jason Carter – Lowdown Hoedown

Del McCoury Band/The Travelin’ McCourys fiddler Jason Carter goes solo with his new guest-filled album, Lowdown Hoedown, which arrived today via his Fiddleman Records independent label. The record features a number of guests including the likes of Phish’s Jon Fishman, I’m With Her’s Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz, as well as Billy Strings, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Russ Carson, Dennis Crouch, Cody Kilby and Marty Stuart. The 13-song album includes covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Bird Song,” Bruce Hornsby’s “King Of The Hill,” John Hartford’s “The Six O’clock Train And A Girl With Green Eyes,” Vassar Clement’s “Kissimmee Kid,” and others. A native of Lloyd, Kentucky, Carter described how the area steeped in bluegrass traditions influenced his musicianship, stating:

“There’s a certain sound that’s up there that you just don’t hear anywhere else. I think that played a big part in how I sound today.”

Tropical Gothclub – Tropical Gothclub

Dean Fertita presents a new project, Tropical Gothclub, with his latest release of the same name via Third Man Records. The renowned multi-instrumentalist known for his work with Queens Of The Stone Age and The Dead Weather noted “Tropical Gothclub as a concept is futuristic nostalgia…going through the seven stages of escapism, understanding the subliminal messages I’ve been sending and receiving to myself, and letting fantasy take a machete to the darkest corners of my mind. I want subculture shock and volcanic rock.” Previously recording under the monikers Hello=Fire and The Waxwings, Tropical Gothclub sees Fertita expanding his creative output:

“I’m hoping the framework is in place with Tropical Gothclub that I can experiment with releasing art and music in the future without following the conventional cycles. My focus has been on other projects the last few years and really, this is no exception. But I unexpectedly found more time than I thought I had and was able to move within the space I was given, veer off course, and speed towards the cliff.”

Tinariwen – Kel Tinariwen

Four members of the Tuareg musical collective TinariwenAbdallah Ag Alhousseyni, Hassan Ag Touhami aka ‘Abin Abin,’ Kedou Ag Ossad and Liya Ag Ablil aka ‘Diarra’ — traveled to Abidjan in Ivory Coast in the summer of 1991 to record Kel Tinariwen. The group locally released their debut album on cassette in 1992 in their home country of Mali. Prior to today’s reissuing of Kel Tinariwen, Tinariwen’s first official release had only been heard by those trading tapes in the local community. Keltoum Sennhauser, the brainchild of the project explained the importance of cassette trading to the Touareg struggle for freedom and self-determination in the following statement:

“I think the cassette played a crucial role as a tool of communication, a tool that was very dear to us. It served to raise awareness and awaken the consciences of those who felt that everything was already lost, or that we didn’t have the wherewithal to win our struggle. It allowed the Touareg world to develop its own conscience and move forward. In our milieu, the only thing that can make us question ourselves is music. Because we listen to a lot of music, we love music, we love poetry. We don’t read. We’re not a people who read. So, the only reading we have, about ourselves and about the outside world, is music.”

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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