Release Day Picks: May 17th New Album Highlights

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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 The National, Steel Pulse, Perpetual Groove, The Head and the Heart and Sam Cohen. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.


The National – I Am Easy To Find

The Scoop: The National was ready to enjoy a well-deserved vacation after releasing Sleep Well Beast in 2017 and touring behind the record. Instead, the band went back into the studio after frontman Matt Berninger received an email from filmmaker Mike Mills. The National decided to provide music for a short film Mills was putting together and today released the result of that work, I Am Easy To Find via 4AD. The 16-track LP was recorded mostly at Long Pond in Hudson Valley, New York with additional sessions held in Paris, Berlin, Austin and other locales. Sharon Van Ettne, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus are among contributors. “Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn’t because, ‘Oh, let’s have more women’s voices,’ said Berninger. “It was more, ‘Let’s have more of a fabric of people’s identities.’ It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn’t let that happen.”


Steel Pulse – Manipulation

The Scoop: Mass Manipulation is legendary U.K.-based reggae outfit Steel Pulse’s first new studio album in 15 years. The long-awaited follow-up to 2004’s African Holocaust features 15 new original songs and two “mystic interludes” written by frontman David Hinds. The album was co-produced by band members Sidney Mills and David Elecciri. “For when it comes to addressing the current issues of the world, we hope that [Mass Manipulation] will be able to sharpen the minds of man to uproot all negativity, and foster embracement,” vocalist David Hinds told Rolling Stone. “Presenting each and every one of us a higher level of consciousness for a harmonious future.”


Perpetual Groove – Perpetual Groove

The Scoop: In 2007, Perpetual Groove released the studio album LIVELOVEDIE. The classic lineup of Brock Butler, Matt McDonald, Albert Suttle and Adam Perry have finally unveiled the follow-up 12 years later. Perpetual Groove features seven new originals, all of which weren’t road tested before the band entered the studio. The album is out today via Harmonized Records. Jason Kingsland served as producer on an LP that took more time to record than all of the band’s past efforts combined. PGroove started the process by making demos at a studio in Atlanta and then met up with Kingsland for a long period of sessions at The Fidelatorium in North Carolina before returning to Atlanta to finish the record.


The Head And The Heart – Living Mirage

The Scoop: “This is literally the most work we’ve ever done on an album,” The Head And The Heart vocalist Jon Russell stated. “In my mind, the songs on this album are vignettes. Like ‘Brenda’ reminds me of when you’re a teenager at a house party. You’re surrounded by noise — ‘What am I doing here?’ — and a ray of light comes down and you notice this person. You’re like, ‘Maybe I will stay.’ These songs feel honest.” Since the release of 2016’s Signs Of Light, The Head And The Heart underwent lineup changes, as co-founder Josiah Johnson amicably departed, with Charity Rose Thielen’s husband, Matt Gervais, joining on guitar and former keyboardist Kenny Hensley returning to the group. Following a band trip to the Mojave Desert’s Joshua Tree National Park, the members reconvened for recording sessions at Appleton, Wisconsin’s The Refuge Fox Cities, Omnisound in Nashville, Barefoot Recordings in Los Angeles and elsewhere with co-producers Tyler Johnson and Alex Salibian and engineer Ryan Nasci.


Sam Cohen – The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears

The Scoop: Sam Cohen co-produced his sophomore solo album, The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears, with Danger Mouse (Brian Burton). Danger Mouse’s 30th Century also issued the 11-track follow-up to Cohen’s 2015 solo debut, Cool It. The single “I Can’t Lose” features a bass-and-drums loop created with The Strokes‘ Fabrizio Moretti. The former member of Apollo Sunshine and Yellowbirds, Cohen and Danger Mouse recorded the 11-track album at the former’s studio in Brooklyn. “Brian really helped me get motivated to make this record,” Cohen stated. “His support pushed me to get started, and to value myself as an artist. It came at a time when I needed to hear that from someone.”


Compiled by Andy Kahn and Scott Bernstein.