Release Day Picks: April 12th New Album Highlights
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 Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby, Norah Jones, Glen Hansard, Anderson .Paak, Broken Social Scene, Shovels & Rope, Cris Jacobs, Bibio and Chris Forsyth. Read on for more insight into the other records we have all queued up to spin.
Trey Anastasio – Ghosts Of The Forest
The Scoop: Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio recorded Ghosts Of The Forest with Phish drummer Jon Fishman and Trey Anastasio Band bassist Tony Markellis last year during three days of sessions held at Trey’s The Barn recording facility in Vermont. Produced by Anastasio, the nine-track album was written by the guitarist after the death of his childhood friend Chris “CCott” Cottrell. Other events in Anastasio’s life helped inform the contents of the record’s material, which he described as “some kind of mid-life crisis on a record,” such as TAB keyboardist Ray Paczkowski undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor and the 2009 death of Anastasio’s sister. Engineer Vance Powell incorporated ambient sounds he recorded outside of The Barn into the Ghost Of The Forest mix. “[Cottrell] liked it when I ripped it on the guitar. Period. End of sentence,” Anastasio told Rolling Stone. “So when I made this record after he died I just said that to Fish and Tony, ‘I’m just going to play a lot of guitar.’ There’s no overdub crap for most of it. It’s real.”
Bruce Hornsby – Absolute Zero
The Scoop: Famed keyboardist Bruce Hornsby has finally released the long-in-the-making follow-up to 2016’s Rehab Reunion. The 10-track Absolute Zero is out today via Zappo Productions/Thirty Tigers. Justin Vernon, yMusic, The Staves, Blake Mills, Jack DeJohnette, Sean Carey, The Orchestra of St. Hanks (Frost School/Univ. of Miami) and Bruce’s touring band, The Noisemakers are among musical contributors. While Hornsby took on most of the production duties, Vernon, Tony Berg and Brad Cook assisted with additional production. The record’s final track, “Take You There (Misty)” was co-written with legendary Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Absolute Zero was inspired by both the Virginia native’s work with filmmaker Spike Lee, a relationship that dates back to 1992, and his love of literary fiction. “Hornsby’s songs, both in spirit and memory, function collectively as a homage to fiction writing that, while often poetic, takes no prisoners,” as per a press release.
Norah Jones – Begin Again
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Norah Jones went the single route by unveiling a number of new songs over the past year. Norah compiled those singles with additional tunes for the full-length record Begin Again, which is out now on Blue Note. Jones’ seventh studio album fittingly contains seven tracks and was produced by Doveman, a.k.a. Thomas Bartlett. Included within are collaborations with Barlett and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Brian Blade and Chris Thomas are among the musicians Norah recruited to back her on the LP.
Glen Hansard – This Wild Willing
The Scoop: Glen Hansard’s embraced “a spirit of openness to invention and experimentation” for his fourth solo album, This Wild Willing. Recorded in France at Black Box studios and produced by David Odlum, the 12-track effort features Hansard backed by a diverse set of musicians that includes classically-trained Iranian musicians the Khoshravesh brothers and electronic musicians Deasy and Dunk Murphy (Sunken Foal). “This collection of songs is mainly made up of those that came through while improvising and following the melodic lines and threads,” Hansard stated.
Anderson .Paak – Ventura
The Scoop: In 2014 it was Ventura, 2016 Malibu and 2018 Oxnard. Now, in 2019, Anderson .Paak takes us to another California city with Venutra. Executive produced by Dr. Dre and recorded at the same time as Oxnard, Paak’s guestlist for Ventura includes legendary soul singer Smokey Robinson, Lalah Hathaway, Andre 3000, Brandy, Jazmine Sullivan, the late Nate Dogg and others. “Growing up in Oxnard gave me the grit and the church to find this voice of mine,” said Paak. “One town over I went further and found my depth. The duality of each place inspired me greatly and from that I made two albums at the exact same time but held one back because that would have been too many songs to perform live for you all! I like ending things on an even number so welcome to Ventura.”
Broken Social Scene – Let’s Try The After – Vol 2
The Scoop: Broken Social Scene returns with their second EP of 2019 – Let’s Try The After – Vol. 2. “The theme is to continue,” shared Kevin Drew about the release. “Sickness, suicide, uprise, love, death, betrayal, hurt, joy, sex, communication, battles and divisions … Let’s just get to their after and start building again. How do we do it within the isolation of self prescribe empty popularity? How does the ego revolt? How does the heart win? Can it? Maybe after we will find out.” Both volumes of Let’s Try The After will available together tomorrow as part of special Record Store Day vinyl package.
Shovels & Rope – By Blood
The Scoop: Wife/husband duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent have been busy since the release of 2016’s Little Seeds. The folk duo issued the second installment of their collaborative Busted Jukebox covers project, curated the High Water Festival (soon to take place for a third straight year in North Charleston, South Carolina), was the subject of the Shovels & Rope: The Movie concert film and worked with illustrator Julio Cotto on the children’s book C’mon Utah!. The couple recorded By Blood last year in their newly built home studio. The 10 songs on the new record are said to be “vignettes that focus on vulnerable, human characters laid bare, while the textures are gritty, sweeping, and profound.”
Cris Jacobs – Color Where You Are
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Cris Jacobs underwent several life changes since the release of his 2016 album, Dust to Gold, getting married and becoming a father among the most influential. Those events helped inform Color Where You Are whose title comes from Jacobs’ decision to ditch waiting for inspiration and instead “color[ed] where he was.” The album issued by Blue Rose Music was self-produced and recorded with Jacobs’ band mates, bassist Todd Herrington, drummer Dusty Ray Simmons and guitarist Jonathan Sloane. “I booked the studio time with very little written and put a gun to my head,” said Jacobs. “I had no choice but to just tap whatever emotional spaces I was in and whatever was going on around me and create as honestly as I could.”
Bibio – Ribbons
The Scoop: Bibio (Stephen Wilkinson) returns to more standard songwriting structures with his lates release on Warp Records, Ribbons. The 16-track effort follows Bibio’s 2017 ambient work, Phantom Brickworks. Wilkinson took a largely acoustic-led approach to recording Ribbons while still incoroporting signature electronic elements alongside finger-picked guitar. The songs on the album were partly inspired by “‘60s and ‘70s psychedelia, soul, ambient, electronic and field recordings.”
Chris Forsyth – All Time Present
The Scoop: Guitarist Chris Forsyth recorded All Time Present with keyboardist/saxophonist Shawn E. Hansen, bassist Peter Kerlin and drummer Ryan Jewell. The album was reocorded and mixed over seven days by Jeff Zeigler at Kawari Sound in Wyncote, Pennsylvania in October 2018 and at Uniform Recording, in Philadelphia in November and December of last year. All Time Present is Forsyth’s first album solely under his name since the release of 2013’s Solar Motel. The album track “The Man Who Knows Too Much” was tracked by Forsyth alone with Jeff Zeigler on a cassette synthesizer called an Onde Magnétique. Fellow Philadelphian Rosali Middleman contributed additional vocals to the “Dream Song.”
Compiled by Jeffrey Greenblatt, Andy Kahn and Scott Bernstein.