Today’s New Albums: Greta Van Fleet, Garage A Trois, Norah Jones, Paul McCartney & More
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 Greta Van Fleet, Garage A Trois, Norah Jones, Paul McCartney, Portugal. The Man, The Polyphonic Spree and The Brother Brothers. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Greta Van Fleet – The Battle At Garden’s Gate
The Scoop: Michigan-based rockers Greta Van Fleet today unveils their sophomore studio album, The Battle At Garden’s Gate, through Lava/Republic. The 12-track follow-up to 2018’s Anthem Of The Peaceful Army was recorded with producer Greg Kurstin in Los Angeles. The Battle At Garden’s Gate comes after and was informed by the group’s time spent touring the world in support of the highly-successful Anthem Of The Peaceful Army.
“The Battle At Garden’s Gate is about hope and overcoming the challenges that humanity faces,” explained GVF’s Sam Kiszka. “We live in a world powered by superficial institutions and this album is a reminder that it’s up to us to sing out of the silence.” Kurstin added, “Hearing these songs evolve into expansive soundscapes took me on an amazing journey. I love that they explored these complex song structures, and the band reached for chords, melodies and lyrics that stretch beyond the usual. Most of all, I admire that Greta Van Fleet have stayed true to themselves.”
Garage A Trois – Calm Down Cologne
The Scoop: The original Garage A Trois lineup are back with their first new studio album in 22 years. Guitarist Charlie Hunter, saxophonist Skerik and drummer Stanton Moore issue Calm Down Cologne today via Royal Potato Family. The trio reunited in 2019 for a series of shows and used an afternoon at Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho facility in Seattle to record the mostly improvised five-track follow-up to 1999’s Mysteryfunk. Randall Dunn engineered the LP which features the music as it was played that afternoon with the exception of a few edits. The album’s title track, the only composed piece, includes Calm Down Cologne’s lone overdub, vocals from Seattle-based singer Christa Wells.
“Getting to make this record with two of my long-time musical collaborators was a pure joy,” noted Moore. “We took a decidedly old school approach to making this one. During the day of what was to be our third night at Nectar Lounge, we carried the drums, uncased, with the cymbals still on the stands, across the street and placed them in the studio. We were getting sounds within minutes. We recorded for a few hours, carried the drums back and played the gig. No muss, no fuss.”
Norah Jones – ‘Til We Meet Again
The Scoop: For the first time in her career, singer-songwriter Norah Jones has released a live album, ‘Til We Meet Again. Out today on Blue Note Records, ‘Til We Meet Again contains 14 tracks recorded between 2017 and 2019. The album features contributions by percussionist Marcelo Costa, guitarist Jesse Harris, bassist Jesse Murphy, flutist Jorge Continentino, drummer Brian Blade, bassist Christopher Thomas and organist Pete Remm. The collection presents Jones performing songs from 2002’s Come Away With Me (“Don’t Know Why,” “I’ve Got To See You Again,” “Cold, Cold Heart”), 2012’s Little Broken Hearts (“After The Fall”) and 2016’s Day Breaks (“Flipside,” “Tragedy”). The record ends with a solo piano rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” from a concert that took place at Detroit’s Fox Theatre just days after Chris Cornell died following his performance at the same venue.
Paul McCartney – McCartney III Imagined
The Scoop: Paul McCartney III Imagined arrives as a digital release today. The album features a star-studded cast reworking songs from Paul’s album, McCartney III, which arrived in December 2020 and completed a trilogy of true solo records Paul created in various states of isolation beginning with his 1970 self-titled solo debut and 1980’s McCartney II. Curated by Macca himself, McCartney III Imagined contains entries from Damon Albarn, St. Vincent, Phoebe Bridgers, Anderson .Paak, Khruangbin and more. Paul shared previews of the album beginning with Dominic Fike’s “retro-futuristic R&B,” as per a press release, interpretation of “The Kiss Of Venus” followed by Beck’s 80s-tinged rendition of “Find My Way” and finally Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien on a punk rock rave up of “Slidin.”
Portugal. The Man – Oregon City Sessions
The Scoop: The Scoop: Portugal. The Man released their Oregon City Sessions digitally today via Approaching AIRBalloons/Secretly Distribution. PTM recorded the LP live in December 2008 at a Portland recording facility with no overdubs or retakes. Described as a “snapshot of young raw talent before they won awards, before they sold millions of records, before they headlined festivals,” the live studio album offers a glimpse of a hungry, hard-touring band fresh off the trail and armed with a road-tested set. “The first few years of PTM were whirlwind,” guitarist John Gourley recalled in a statement. “We didn’t have a place to live so we were pretty much either recording or touring. We were so wide-eyed coming out of Alaska that every day was an exciting new adventure. I think you can see it in our playing.” Oregon City Sessions contains songs from the band’s early albums including OCS opener “Church Mouth” and title track to their 2007 LP; as well as “1989” from their 2008 record, Censored Colors; a cover of The Beatles’ proto-metal rocker “Helter Skelter”; and preview track “The Devil.”
The Polyphonic Spree – Afflatus
The Scoop: The Polyphonic Spree released a surprise album of covers, Afflatus. The album was recorded live in early-2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit during a single session held at the band’s home studio.
“It was inevitable that the Spree would end up doing this,” frontman Tim DeLaughter stated. “We were asked to play a covers show at The Kessler Theater in Dallas and were ready to go, but with the shutdowns starting to happen around the country, we made the last-minute call not to perform. We had all been together for weeks rehearsing, so we decided to get the band together at our home studio and record the entire show live in one take, just to capture it. We knew it was probably going to be the last time we saw each other for a long time, and the next day, everything started to close.”
The 10-track Afflatus features Spree covers of songs by Rush, The Rolling Stones, Wings, Bee Gees, Daniel Johnston, INXS, Barry Manilow, ABBA, The Association and The Monkees.
The Brother Brothers – Calla Lily
The Scoop: The Brother Brothers released their sophomore album, Calla Lily, on Compass Records. David Moss and Adam Moss, identical twin sibilings born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, wrote and recorded 10 new songs for the follow-up to their 2018 debut Some People I Know. The album was produced and mixed by Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, Washington. The record features the Moss brothers backed by bassist Dave Speranza, drummer Brian Kantor, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, guitarist Mike Robinson and Taylor Carroll adding tambourine. David Moss is credited on Calla Lily with guitar and cello, while Adam Moss played fiddle, wurliztzer, B3 organ and tambourine.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.