Release Day Picks: August 16th 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 Sleater-Kinney, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Rodney Crowell, The Hold Steady and Oh Sees. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold
The Scoop: Sleater-Kinney initially thought the follow-up to 2015’s No Cities To Love would be produced by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. However the trio of Carrie Brownstein, Corrin Tucker and Janet Weiss started to work with Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent behind the board and were so happy with the results they had her produce an entire album. The Center Won’t Hold is out today via Mom + Pop Records and between the time the album was announced and the present, the band has lost a member. Weiss departed Sleater-Kinney last month. Her work can still be heard on an LP with particularly personal content. “We’re always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person — ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness — in the middle of the chaos,” Brownstein said of The Center Won’t Hold.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats’ Nest
The Scoop: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard continue their prolific ways with Infest The Rats’ Nest, their 15th album since releasing their debut LP in 2012 and second of 2019. This time around, the Australian rockers mined their heavy metal influences for a particularly hard and heavy record. The ATO Records/Flightless LP features nine tracks, each of which is either written by or co-written by multi-instrumentalist Stu Mackenzie. “In fourth grade there was an older kid who was into Rammstein,” said Mackenzie of his history with metal. “I made friends with him and we put together a performance at our school assembly where we headbanged to ‘Du Hast’. I got whiplash, which I thought was pretty cool. That was my introduction to heavy metal, and soon Rammstein led to Metallica, Metallica led to Slayer, Slayer led to Kreator and Sodom. The German bands really kicked my ass and scared the hell out of me too. Later on, when I picked up a guitar I realized that shit was too hard to play, so I got into rock ‘n’ roll and garage. That was liberating.”
Rodney Crowell – Texas
The Scoop: Accomplished singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell recruited an impressive roster of special guests for his new album, Texas. The album features 11-new Crowell originals that focus on his native Lone Star state. Several fellow Texas-natives appear on the record, including Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack, Steve Earle, Billy F Gibbons, Lyle Lovett, Ronnie Dunn and Randy Rogers. The album also features Ringo Starr and Vince Gill, among others. “For the last few years, I’d been writing Texas-centric songs and revisiting some of my tunes from as far back as the mid-seventies,” Crowell stated. “Last year, I started referring to the collection of songs as the Texas album … Interestingly, it all started with Ringo Starr who, through a mutual friend, let me know he was keen to record a track. Before I knew it, Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson, Randy Rogers, Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill had climbed on board. Ray Kennedy and I took hold of the production reins, enlisted a cast of bad ass musicians and voilá, Texas was born. Man, was it a fun record to make.”
The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru The Passion
The Scoop: The Hold Steady’s seventh studio album, Thrashing Thru The Passion, was recorded during sessions held with engineer D. James Goodwin at The Isokon in Woodstock, New York. The record produced Josh Kaufman is comprised of five previously unreleased new originals recorded in 2019, along with five additional tracks that were digitally released between November 2017 and March 2019. Stuart Bogie, Dave Nelson, Jordan McLean and Michael Leonhart add horns and Annie Nero contributed additional backup vocals. “I’ve been saying for a few years now – since [keyboardist] Franz [Nicolay] came back- that this six-piece lineup of The Hold Steady is the best band we’ve ever been,” said frontman Craig Finn. “The new songs recorded by this version of the band are super exciting to us. It’s been a very fun and creative period for The Hold Steady.”
Oh Sees – Face Stabber
The Scoop: In this instance, it’s probably best to let the Oh Sees explain their latest double album, Face Stabber, out today on Castle-Face Records:
Hey there, human kids,
Lift your face out of the feed trough and pluck that feculence from your ears. Hark! A sonar blip from beneath the pile of bodies. Boop, blip ughhh….
People churning like a boiling swamp. Man, this din is nauseating.
The screen flickers for the first time this year with a transmission from two months in the future:
“the internet has deemed guitar music dead and you are free to do whatever the fuck you like ….long live the new flesh!”
This album is Soundcloud hip-hop reversed, a far flung nemesis of contemporary country and flaccid algorithmic pop-barf.
No songs about money or love are floating in the ether.
Just memories, echoes, foggy blurs
Blip-blop goes the scope
Bloated solos dribbling down your caved-in chest.
Human cattle like a beef avalanche, right on your burned out face hole.
Spider legs fuzz crawling in your brain.
Lots of curse words for your mom.
You’ve gotten the over-population blues, so let’s have some art for art’s sake.
What else are you gonna do?
Stare at the sky? Please…
50 carbon copies of you look back at you as you walk the streets.
Take a breath, you’re going to need it.
Take drugs, you’re going to need those just to stand in line at the air and water reclamation center soon enough.
There’s no fruit, buddy.
You’re at the bleak-peak.
They will squeeze you till you’re all squeezed out.
For fans of fried prog burn out, squished old-school drool, double drums, lead weight bass, wizard keys (now with poison), old-ass guitar and horrible words with daft meanings.
If you don’t like it then don’t listen, bub.
Back to the comments section with you!
Over and out
Compiled by Scott Bernstein and Andy Kahn.