Release Day Picks: March 6th 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 Stephen Malkmus, Steep Canyon Rangers, Green Leaf Rustlers, Jonathan Wilson, Brownout, Garcia Peoples, Sadler Vaden, William Tyler, Caroline Rose, Mandy Moore and Cream. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques
The Scoop: Stephen Malkmus’ new solo album Traditional Techniques, follows his 2019 solo album, Groove Denied. Out today on Matador Records, Traditional Techniques is Malkmus’ third solo album issued without Pavement or his backing group The Jicks. The roots of the 10-track LP go back to recording sessions at Portland’s Halfling Studio for the 2018 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks album, Sparkle Hard. Malkmus was inspired by the variety of acoustic instruments housed in the facility, including several Afghani types, and centered the new album around his 12-string acoustic guitar. Malkmus returned to Halfling to record Traditional Techniques with in-house engineer/arranger Chris Funk of The Decemberists. Accomplished guitarist appears throughout the new record.
Steep Canyon Rangers – Be Stil Moses
The Scoop: While they may play traditional instruments, there’s nothing traditional about Grammy-winning bluegrass band and Asheville, North Carolina natives Steep Canyon Rangers’ approach to their greatest hits album featuring the Ashville Symphony Orchestra (ASO). Entitled Be Still Moses and out on Yep Roc Records, the LP is the brainchild of renowned Asheville producer Michael Selverne and ASO executive director David Whitehill — who wanted to break down the barrier between Asheville’s symphonic scene and its vibrant roots music foundation — came to fruition in the brilliant team up of SCR, legendary soul singers Boyz II Men and the Asheville Symphony on the critically acclaimed single “Be Still Moses.” The aptly monikered album of the same name is an extrapolation of the SCR/ASO collaboration, reimagining some of the Rangers’ best and most successful songs from 2007’s “Call The Captain” to 2018’s “Let Me Out of This Town” as well as the title track to the band’s 2015 chart-topping album Radio.
Green Leaf Rustlers – From Within Marin
The Scoop: Supergroup Green Leaf Rustlers have put out their debut album, From Within Marin, on Silver Arrow Records. The band features Chris Robinson joined by Pete Sears, Barry Sless, John Molo and Greg Loiacono. Recorded live during a handful of early 2019 shows in California’s Marin County by legendary engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson, From Within Marin contains the Rustlers’ takes on such songs as JJ Cale’s “Ride Me High,” The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations” and “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan. “The Green Leaf Rustlers are a Marin County hippie hayride,” said Robinson. “Rockin’ and rollin’ through our favorite classic cosmic country covers and keeping the good people dancing the night away under star-filled western skies.”
Jonathan Wilson – Dixie Blur
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonathan Wilson is back with Dixie Blur, the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2018 album, Rare Birds. The fact that Wilson found time to record and release an album in 2017-2018 while acting as musical director, guitarist and vocalist on Roger Waters’ massive Us + Them tour is a testament to his work ethic. But Dixie Blur, metaphorically speaking, sees Wilson returning home to his southern roots both musically and personally. The native North Carolinian left his Los Angeles home and headed to Nashville to record Dixie Blur at Cowboy Jack Clement’s renowned Sound Emporium Studio with an ace group of Nashville musicians including fiddler Mark O’Connor, guitarist Kenny Vaughan, bassist Dennis Crouch, pedal steel player Russ Pahl, woodwinds expert Jim Hoke, drummer Jon Radford and keyboardist Drew Erickson. Using outside musicians was a departure for Wilson as the multi-instrumentalist usually plays everything himself. But bringing in a band allowed him to record live with minimal overdubs, capturing the energy of the moment on songs like “So Alive,” “Korean Tea” and “69 Corvette.”
Brownout – Berlin Sessions
The Scoop: Austin-based Brownout’s first album of original music in eight years, Berlin Sessions, was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The album is also the band’s first with lead singer Alex Marrero, who appeared on Brownout’s Black Sabbath tribute album, Brown Sabbath. The band recorded Berlin Sessions in Buda, Texas at guitarist Beto Martinez’s Lechehouse Music studio. Martinez detailed the experience in a statement:
The ideas came swift and there was much experimentation in recording techniques and instrument usage. Steve Berlin was very hands on with implementing new sounds and tones through effects or otherwise. I not only played on the record but recorded it at the same time. After placing mics and setting the recording gear, I had to play parts I had either just written or just learned all while watching meters and the tape machine to make sure it was all recording correctly with Steve Berlin sitting directly behind me. It was a nerve wracking and trying experience, yet a very fulfilling learning process.
Garcia Peoples – Nublu 10-10-19, NYC
The Scoop: New Jersey psych-rock act Garcia Peoples played New York City club Nublu on October 10, 2019. The band issued a live album recorded that night aptly titled Nublu 10-10-19, NYC via Beyond Beyond is Beyond. Garcia Peoples was in the midst of a five-night residency at Nublu when they “abandoned the plan” and “surrendered to the unknown.” Nublu 10-10-19, NYC features a 50-minute version of “One Step Behind,” the title track from the album the residency was celebrating, and includes guitarist Tom Malach’s father Bob Malach on sax. The band’s debut live album was recorded by NYC Taper’s Eric Pier-Hocking and mastered by Brian J. Sulpizio.
Garcia Peoples bassist Andy Cush wrote the following about the show:
Listening back to the recording of this show, I remember standing onstage, eyes closed, deep in concentration, hoping everything would hold together the way it’s supposed to. It was the first (and to date the only) time we’d ever played “One Step Behind” live as an ensemble with Tom’s dad, the great saxophonist Bob Malach, who’d overdubbed his contributions to the album version after the basic tracks were already in place. Naturally, and happily, hardly anything went quite the way we expected onstage. The music on this tape is at its most alive when you can hear us abandoning the plan and surrendering to the unknown.
From the outset, we knew we wanted to push ourselves at this show to take “One Step Behind” as far out as possible, searching at its boundaries for previously undiscovered zones. I like to think we found a few. In particular, there’s a groove-oriented stretch in the middle that we played with more openness than ever before, which—for me, at least—has directly impacted the performances we’ve given since then. Perhaps by the time this tape comes out, we’ll be exploring territories of “One Step Behind” that we didn’t even realize existed back when it was recorded. A map only gets you so far. Sometimes you just have to follow the sound.
Sadler Vaden – Anybody Out There
The Scoop: Guitarist and singer-songwriter Sadler Vaden returns with his sophomore solo album, Anybody Out There? via Dirty Mag Records / Thirty Tigers. But don’t let the word sophomore fool you, Vaden is a seasoned veteran having fronted his own successful band Leslie in his native South Carolina, toured and recorded with Drivin’ N Cryin’ and is currently a member of Jason Isbell’s outfit The 400 Unit. Vaden also recruited veterans to help him realize Anybody Out There? with engineering from multi-platinum producer and longtime collaborator Paul Ebersol as well as mastering from Grammy winner Richard Dodd. Recorded in Vaden’s adopted hometown of Nashville, the result is a strong, 10-song set full of catchy guitar hooks reminiscent of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers as well as deft song smithery that sees Vaden reflecting on the paradoxical nature of the modern world, namely that the more connected we are the further apart we seem to drift. That theme is front and center on the single “Modern Times” and expanded upon with “Golden Child” and “Next To You.”
William Tyler – Music From First Cow
The Scoop: Guitarist William Tyler composed the music for the Kelly Reichardt-directed feature film, First Cow, which also comes out today. Released by Merge Records, Music from First Cow features eight songs written and performed by Tyler on guitar and dulcimer. The film is set in the early nineteenth-century Pacific Northwest and stars John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones. “William Tyler turned up at the First Cow edit room with his several guitars, a dulcimer, and long fingernails,” Reichardt said. “He got right to work, picking and strumming — it was all as good as it could be.”
Caroline Rose – Superstar
The Scoop: Caroline Rose’s cinematic new album, Superstar, was inspired but such cult-classic films as The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, Mulholland Drive and Drop Dead Gorgeous. The 11-track follow-up to 2018’s Loner, was written, produced and recorded in Rose’s home studio. Additional parts were tracked on a portable recording unit Rose set up backstage at venues while on tour. “I realized at some point that I’m not going to fit into any one box, and maybe that’s a good thing,” Rose stated. “This record is me embracing being an outsider making my own path. To me, there’s both humor and horror in hubris and what it takes in order to be successful. I wanted to make a story out of those parts of myself that I find largely undesirable and embarrassing, then inject them with steroids.”
Mandy Moore – Silver Landings
The Scoop: Silver Landings is the first album from Mandy Moore since the 2009 release of Amanda Leigh. Just over a year ago, Moore detailed a turbulent relationship with her ex-husband Ryan Adams that she indicated had a major impact in the delay in releasing new music. Moore, who also maintains a successful acting career, worked on the new album with her longtime collaborator Mike Viola and her current husband, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith. Jason Boesel, Chris Walla, Natalie Hemby and Lori McKenna are among those receiving co-writing credits across the album’s 10 tracks.
Cream – Goodbye Tour Live 1968
The Scoop: Legendary trio Cream — consisting of guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker embarked on their final tour in 1968. Goodbye Tour Live 1968 features three complete concerts from the U.S. portion of the run in October 1968 and their last U.K. concert on November 26, 1968. All told, the UMe compilation contains 36 tracks including 29 that had never previously appeared on CD. Nineteen of those have never been released in any form while 10 were only available on DVD. Famed journalist David Fricke provides liner notes telling the tale of the band’s last tour.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.