Today’s New Albums: Wilco, Bruce Hornsby, Bright Eyes & Dopapod

Check out these new releases out today, Friday, May 27.

By Team JamBase May 27, 2022 5:58 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 Wilco, Bruce Hornsby, Bright Eyes and Dopapod. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Wilco – Cruel Country

As the title intdicates, Cruel Country sees Wilco returning to their country roots. The follow-up to 2019’s Ode To Joy was recorded by the band — Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, Pat Sansone and Nels Cline — in Chicago at their The Loft recording facility. The 21-track, double LP was cut almost completely live with minimal overdubs and no baffles separating the musicians. “It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise,” Tweedy said. “But when it’s working the way it’s supposed to, it feels like gathering around some wild collective instrument, one that requires six sets of hands to play.”

Further discussing the choice to embrace the country genre, Tweedy stated:

“More than any other genre, Country music, to me, a white kid from middle-class middle America, has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind—which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States. And because it is the country I love, and because it’s Country music that I love, I feel a responsibility to investigate their mirrored problematic natures. I believe it’s important to challenge our affections for things that are flawed. Country music is simply designed to aim squarely at the low-hanging fruit of the truth. If someone can sing it, and it’s given a voice… well, then it becomes very hard not to see. We’re looking at it. It’s a cruel country, and it’s also beautiful. Love it or leave it. Or if you can’t love it, maybe you’ve already left.”

Bruce Hornsby – ‘Flicted

Pianist and composer Bruce Hornsby put out a new album today entitled ’Flicted via his Zappo Productions imprint. The 12-track LP completes a trilogy started with 2019’s Absolute Zero that continued with 2020’s Non-Secure Connection focusing on songs based on film “cues” he wrote for director Spike Lee. Co-produced with Tony Berg, ’Flicted features guest appearances from Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig, singer-songwriter Blake Mills, vocalist Z. Berg, keyboardist Ethan Gruska, Danielle Haim of HAIM and yMusic’s Rob Moose.

Bruce also recruited his longtime backing band, The Noisemakers, to contribute to ’Flicted. The album includes a reworking of Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business,” the first time Hornsby released a cover on one of his LPs. Wayne Pooley and Ariel Rechtshaid provided additional production.

“I was giving myself chills when I was writing these songs,” Hornsby explained during an interview for an upcoming The JamBase Podcast episode regarding the songs he composed based on the Spike Lee cues. “It’s a totally different method of writing songs and when you’re able to give yourself chills, you know you’re on the right track.”

Bright Eyes – Companion EPs

The first installment in Bright Eyes’ Companion reissue series arrived today via Dead Oceans. The ambitious project sees frontman Conor Oberst along with bandmates Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott re-releasing all nine of their studio albums as well as Companion EPs featuring re-recorded songs — along with a cover that influenced the band during the era — from the LPs beginning today with 1998’s A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997 and Letting Off The Happiness along with 2000’s Fevers and Mirrors and their corresponding Companion EPs. Another component of the Companion EPs is Bright Eyes teaming with other artists for the reimagined songs and covers. The first installment boasts contributions from Phoebe Bridgers, Waxahatchee, M. Ward and Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond).

“My thing was [the EPs] had to sound different from the originals,” Oberst said. “We had to mess with them in a substantial way. It’s a meaningful way to connect with the past that doesn’t feel totally nostalgic and self-indulgent. We are taking these songs and making them interesting to us all over again. I like that. I like a challenge. I like to be forced to do something that’s slightly hard, just to see if we can.”

Dopapod – Dopapod

Out today from jam quartet Dopapod is a self-titled studio album. The 11-track effort features a mix of brand new compositions and a few reworked songs that date back to 2014. Dopapod self-produced their seventh studio album and tapped Curtis Peel to create an accompanying animated film. Additionally, the band tasked former lighting designer Luke Stratton to design the Building A Time Machine tabletop board game, which is folded into the album’s vinyl packaging. Dopapod arrives after the band took a year-plus hiatus that ended in April of 2019. The group put their focus on a follow-up to 2019’s Emit Time upon a return from the hiatus that was cut short by the pandemic.

“The hiatus allowed us to redefine ourselves, and carry on with a lot of new energy. It was a restorative opportunity and helped us move forward,” noted drummer Neal Evans. “We definitely came back with new energy and new intention.”

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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