Release Day Picks: February 7th 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 Khruangbin & Leon Bridges, Antibalas, The Lone Bellow, Green Day, Makaya McCraven/Gil Scott-Heron and Christopher Paul Stelling. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun
The Scoop: Among the commonalities Khruangbin and Leon Bridges share is that both are from Texas and have each made their own imprint on modern soul music. So it was only a matter of time before Bridges and his “velvet voice” came together with the mostly instrumental Khruangbin. The two acts started to record Texas Sun on the road during a joint tour in 2018 and then put the finishing touches on the four-track EP in the studio with engineer Steve Christensen. “It was a very freeing process. As of now, I’ve done the LA thing, and as far as writing and collaborating with different producers, it was a really dope vibe to go out to Houston, to be in Texas and create this music,” Bridges told Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 of the Dead Oceans/Columbia Records/Night Time Stories Ltd EP. “And there were a lot of ideas that I had already been kicking around. And I love that during this process, we didn’t really go the linear way of writing songs. Some songs don’t have a chorus, or there’s not that big vocal moment during the chorus or whatever. But yeah, it was just a beautiful experience to be able to talk about my experiences coming up in Texas.”
Antibalas – Fu Chronicles
The Scoop: It’s hard to believe 20 years have past since Antibalas burst onto the scene. The band celebrates the occasion by harkening back to their Brooklyn roots on the Daptone Records studio album, Fu Chronicles. “Pre-gentrified Williamsburg serves as the backdrop for Fu Chronicles — voyaging back to the early days of when Antibalas and revered soul label Daptone Records spawned out of lead singer Duke Amayo’s kung fu dojo,” press materials announcing the six-track release explain. “A senior master of the Jow Ga Kung Fu School of martial arts, Duke Amayo along with Antibalas founder/baritone saxophonist Martín Perna guide listeners through an epic journey of where kung fu ingeniously intersects with Afrobeat on Fu Chronicles.” Antibalas recorded the follow-up to 2017’s Where The Gods Are In Peace during the summer of 2018 at the famed Daptone House Of Soul in Bushwick. Perna and Amayo worked with Gabriel Roth to produce Fu Chronicles, which features over 17 singers and musicians.
The Lone Bellow – Half Moon Light
The Scoop: Half Moon Light, out today on Dualtone Records, is The Lone Bellow’s first full-length album since 2017’s Walk Into A Storm. The band comprised of Zach Williams, Kanene Donehey Pipkin and Brian Elmquist worked on the new record with a number of collaborators. The National’s Aaron Dessner produced the 15-track LP at his Upstate New York studio. Others who contributed include Josh Kaufman on guitar and J.T. Baites on drums. Williams discussed the album’s collaborative nature, stating:
We already had a friendship with Aaron and a strong, shared understanding of our musical vision. It’s really important to us to be a part of a community of musicians. We like the collaborative, communal way of making something. Aaron showed us a new way of trusting and collaborating. His idea of bringing in Josh and J.T. was such a beautiful gift. The meekness that these friends brought to the table was something that we will never forget. A sense of controlled fury. Lightning in a shoebox.
Green Day – Father of All Motherfuckers
The Scoop: With 10 songs that clock in at a total of 26 minutes, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted pop-punk rockers Green Day’s 13th album, Father Of All Motherfuckers (or the censored Father Of All…), runs shorter than some EPs. Green Day announced Father Of All Motherfuckers, out today on Warner/Reprise Records, at the same time Weezer and Fall Out Boy announced new albums. The three bands also announced the joint worldwide Hella Mega Tour taking place this year. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong described the follow-up to 2016’s Revolution Radio in an Instagram post, writing (sic):
this record is The New!
soul, Motown, glam and manic anthemic. Punks, freaks and punishers!
The Dirty messy . The Stink. ,
The lyrics are like a party and lifestyle of not giving a fuck. The life AND death of the party. Not political. Surviving in chaos. The real shit.
Me @mikedirnt and @trecool of the Green Day cut through the bullshit. That’s how it’s always been for us. Everything else is fake. Frauds I tell ya!!
Rock has lost its balls. We’re gonna teabag all these mother fuckers. The baddest rock band on the planet that gives a shit. “Glorious” or “glorious anarchy” seems to be the word that keeps coming up that reflects
Dangerous songs for dangerous kids!
“Nothing says fuck you like a unicorn”
Love And kisses
Makaya McCraven/Gil Scott-Heron – We’re New Again – A Reimagining By Makaya McCraven
The Scoop: Chicago-based jazz musician Makaya McCraven’s new album on XL Recordings, We’re New Again, is a reinterpretation of Gil Scott-Heron’s final album, I’m New Here, which at the time was late legendary musician, poet and author’s first collection of new material in 16 years. McCraven’s reimagining of the latter, which XL issued almost 10 years ago to the date, is the second such full-length homage following Jamie xx’s 2011 remix album, We’re New Here. Scott-Heron died on May 27, 2011 at age 62. The 18-track We’re New Again combines elements from the 2008 I’m New Here recording sessions held by Scott-Heron and producer Richard Russell with “samples collected from McCraven’s improvised live sessions with new wave Chicago jazz musicians and vintage samples taken from McCraven’s musician parents’ recordings. It’s a musical situation that reconnects Scott-Heron with his hometown of Chicago, and a lineage of jazz and the blues that perfectly compliments his voice.”
Christopher Paul Stelling – Best Of Luck
The Scoop: “I really believe this record is the intersection where folk and soul meet,” producer Ben Harper said of singer-songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling’s fifth studio album, Best Of Luck. Harper and Stelling were joined during the recording sessions by drummer Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks, Dixie Chicks) and upright bassist Mike Valerio (Randy Newman, LA Philharmonic). The Asheville-based Stelling quit drinking prior to beginning work on the 10-track Best Of Luck, which was issued by ANTI- Records. “This record was about learning to trust the people around me,” Stelling stated. “If anything, after years of closely guarded decision-making I’m delighted by the results of this collaboration. This record has an undeniable sense of clarity. The songs are lean but never feel incomplete. Ben knew how to coax me out of my well-worn comfort zones, how to move fast and spontaneously and put me on the spot, and how to retreat and give me space to process things. People who know me have said they hear a lot more of me in this album than anything before. Realizing I couldn’t heal the world, I started to heal myself, and I couldn’t be more pleased by how that sounds.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein and Andy Kahn.