Today’s New Albums: Smashing Pumpkins, Miley Cyrus, Painted Shield & More
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 Balkun Brothers, The Smashing Pumpkins, Miley Cyrus, Painted Shield and Bombino. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Balkun Brothers – Here Comes The End Of The World
The Scoop: Balkun Brothers’ latest full length release, Here Comes The End Of The World, is out today via Auto Bon Records. Formed in 2010, the Hartford, Connecticut-based power duo consists of brothers Steve Balkun (guitar, vocals and thumb-bone bass) and Nick “The Hammer” Balkun (drums and vocals). The new album was produced, mixed and recorded on analog tape by renowned engineer Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio facility in Chicago. The seven-track record was mastered by Bill Skibbe at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Detroit, with White attending the mastering session. According to the band, Here Comes The End Of The World, “is their heaviest, most relevant and powerful album yet” and that “working with two of the rock scene’s best engineers to cultivate a gritty sound, the raw unapologetic songs [were] captured on tape and brought to life.”
The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr
The Scoop: Billy Corgan composed and produced all 20 tracks featured on the new The Smashing Pumpkins studio album, Cyr. The follow-up to 2018’s Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. finds Corgan joined by co-founding members guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin as well as more recent addition, guitarist Jeff Schroeder. Katie Cole and Sierra Swan contribute backing vocals to the Sumerian release.
“I was trying to bring myself into modernity,” Corgan said of the electronic-infused double album during an interview with the L.A. Times. “I got Logic, I got some beats going, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I started to feel like the Luddite who couldn’t evolve. But then I realized that when I first heard Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division, they were making very modern music by using the technology that they had at hand. So I had to get inside the choices that they made.”
Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts
The Scoop: Miley Cyrus recruited legendary rockers Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks to provide guest vocals on her long-awaited seventh studio album, Plastic Hearts. Dua Lipa also contributed vocals to the 15-track LP, out today through RCA. Cyrus worked with an array of producers on Plastic Hearts including Louis Bell, Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, The Monsters & Strangerz, Andrew Watt and Happy Perez. The album has a punk-rock inspired aesthetic that includes cover art shot by famed rock photographer Mick Rock.
Miley announced Plastic Hearts via a hand-written note in which she explained a 2018 wildfire that ravaged her home helped reinvigorate her creative process. “Nature did what I now see as a favor and destroyed what I couldn’t let go of for myself,” Cyrus wrote. “I lost my house in a fire but found myself in its ashes.” Plastic Hearts was made “in triumph and gratitude” according to the note.
Painted Shield – Painted Shield
The Scoop: Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard formed Painted Shield with singer-songwriter Mason Jennings, keyboardist Brittany Davis and drummer Matt Chamberlain. The band’s self-titled debut album, out today on Loosegrove Records, was completed while Gossard turned his attention to it after Pearl Jam’s tour in support of their 2020 album Gigaton was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chamberlain previously worked with Gossard during the former’s short stint in Pearl Jam in 1991. Jennings and Gossard released a collaborative 7-inch single in 2014 that included “Knife Fight,” which appears on Painted Shield. Three of the songs on Painted Shield feature drummer Josh Freese, while Chamberlin contributed to the other nine. Several of the songs were composed by Gossard sending instrumental demos for Jennings to add lyrics to.
“I’ve always got way too many irons in the fire,” Gossard told Rolling Stone. “It’s normal for me to have about 500 different items in a Dropbox file, bouncing around. And the last three months of the Pearl Jam record was really sort of Eddie [Vedder] going back in and taking a bunch of stuff and trying to focus it and trying to figure out how it all fits together in one spot. He did an incredible job with that, so I was off the hook a little bit there toward the end of that record, so I had some time.”
Bombino – Live in Amsterdam
The Scoop: Niger-born Tuareg guitarist Bombino (Omara Moctar) compiled 11 tracks for his first ever live album, Live In Amsterdam. The Partisan Records release was recorded at the Melkweg Oude Zaal in Amsterdam on November 7, 2019. Live In Amsterdam features a career-spanning set of material and finds his regular touring band joined by special guests Nigerian singer/actress Toulou Kiki and Anana Harouna of Kel Assouf. Bombino dedicates the record to rhythm guitarist Illias Mohamed Alhassane, a longtime member of his band who passed away in September. Live In Amsterdam contains the last recorded Bombino performance featuring Illias.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein and Andy Kahn.