Today’s New Albums: Jennifer Hartswick, Built To Spill, Afghan Whigs, Son Little & More
Santigold, Charley Crockett, Stick Figure, Marlon Williams, Madison Cunningham, Ozzy Osbourne and Futurebirds & Carl Broemel and Satsang also have new releases out today, Friday, September 9.
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 Jennifer Hartswick, Built to Spill, The Afghan Whigs, Son Little, Santigold, Charley Crockett, Stick Figure, Marlon Williams, Madison Cunningham, Ozzy Osbourne, Futurebirds & Carl Broemel and Satsang. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Jennifer Hartswick – Something In The Water
Renowned vocalist, trumpeter and composer Jennifer Hartswick put out her latest solo album, Something In The Water, today via Christian McBride’s Mack Avenue Music Group imprint, Brother Mister Productions. Hartswick is backed on the nine-track follow-up to 2018’s Nexus by a core group of musicians featuring McBride on bass, guitarist Nick Cassarino, drummer Conor Elmes and keyboardist Rob Marscher. Other contributors include vocalist Celisse and trombonists Natalie Cressman and Roy Agee.
Hartswick and longtime collaborator Nick Cassarino decamped to a closed bed and breakfast in their native Vermont for writing sessions in the winter of 2021 that yielded most of the material on Something In The Water. “We’d write and cook and write and cook and laugh and cry and write and cook,” noted Hartswick of the week-and-a-half writing retreat that also included songwriter Erin Boyd providing input. “That was the purpose of the trip, to see if we could write an album.”
When it was time to record, work moved to Sound Emporium Studios in Hartswick’s current hometown of Nashville. Something In The Water shows off the evolution of Hartswick’s sound and captures “a snapshot of one moment’s present tense,” as per press materials heralding the LP’s release. “My music is blossoming. More life has been lived and evolution is happening,” Hartswick added. “I hope people who listen do so with an open heart.”
Built To Spill – When The Wind Forgets Your Name
Built To Spill is back with a new album, When The Wind Forgets Your Name, the Bosie band led by Doug Martsch’s first on famed Seattle-based label Sub Pop. “I’m psyched: I’ve wanted to be on Sub Pop since I was a teenager,” Martsch said in a press release. “And I think I’m the first 50-year-old they’ve ever signed.” The new record sees the guitarist continuing his rhythm section revolving door, this time tapping Brazilian musicians Le Almeida and João Casaes of the psychedelic jazz-rock band, Oruã. Martsch met his collaborators while touring in Brazil in 2018. After backing Martsch in Brazil, Almeida and Casaes joined Built To Spill for subsequent tours in the U.S. and Europe in 2019. On the road, Almeida and Casaes learned a number of Doug’s new tunes which would land on When The Wind Forgets Your Name. The guitarist tapped them to help him cut the record, with the rhythm section laying down bass and drum tracks in Bosie before returning to Brazil with plans to mix in 2020. While the pandemic put meeting in person on hold, Doug continued work laying down guitar parts and vocal overdubs while swapping ideas from afar.
“What emerged is When the Wind Forgets Your Name, a complex and cohesive blend of the artists’ distinct musical ideas,” press materials for the album noted. “Alongside Built to Spill’s poetic lyrics and themes, the experimentation and attention to detail produces an album full of unique, vivid, and timeless sounds.”
The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn?
The Afghan Whigs released their first studio album in five years, How Do You Burn?, today via Royal Cream/BMG. The title of the follow-up to 2017’s In Spades, was conceived by frontman Greg Dulli’s longtime friend and collaborator, Mark Lanegan, who died in February at age 57. Lanegan, who worked with Dulli in Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, sang backing vocals on two How Do You Burn? tracks before he passed, marking his first appearance on an Afghan Whigs release. Along with Lanegan, How Do You Burn? also features guest spots from past Whigs collaborators Susan Marshall, Van Hunt and Marcy Mays. How Do You Burn? was mostly recorded during the pandemic with band members remotely contributing their parts. Dulli, co-producer Christopher Thorn and drummer Patrick Keeler recorded from California while bassist John Curley, guitarist Jon Skibic and strings specialist Rick Nelson contributed from Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans respectively. Despite the challenges of remote recording The Afghan Whigs managed to embrace the experience.
“Once we got the system down, we started flying,” Dulli stated.
Son Little – Like Neptune
Like Neptune is the new album out today on ANTI- Records from Son Little, the musical project of Aaron Livingston. Little developed the follow-up to 2020’s aloha in Upstate New York in a cabin overlooking the Delaware River. During the pandemic, Little began making beats on his iPad. He then added live instrumentation via Ableton resulting in the 12-track Like Neptune. Little also worked with Deshawn “Dvibes” Alexander, who added synth on the single “stoned love.” The album was heavily influenced by Little’s experiences in therapy, which included techniques such as EMDR and somatic healing, as well as the particularly effective Internal Family Systems, which is “a methodology that recognizes responses to trauma triggers as distinct entities or ‘parts’ within the person, and requires the patient essentially have conversations with the different traumatized personalities within them.” Regarding the influence of the album, Little stated:
“In the beginning of lockdown, I went into a closet full of junk and found a couple of boxes full of my old writing books. There turned out to be 72 books in there. The oldest book I got as a Christmas present when I was 9. In it, I wrote letters to myself about what was happening in my life. One page refers to a neighbor in Queens who abused me sexually around age 5. It was the first and only time I’d ever acknowledge this fact until after my 19th birthday, when I told my mother what had happened. She begged me to go to therapy. I went under protest. My attempt wasn’t sincere. I wasn’t ready. I thought I could just power through it …
“One day in therapy I started talking to myself – to that annoying inner voice that criticizes everything when you mess up. I asked them how old they were and they said ‘10.’ I asked if they knew who I was, or how old I was and they said ‘no’! Strange as it all seems it’s had some amazing results. I’m able to soothe and comfort my inner … children.”
Santigold – Spirituals
Singer-songwriter Santigold released her fourth album, Spirituals, through her Little Jerk record label. Santigold’s follow-up to 2016’s 99¢ was largely recorded during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. She worked virtually with producers and contributors such as Rostam, Boys Noize, Dre Skull, P2J, Nick Zinner, SBTRKT, JakeOne, Illangelo, Doc McKinney, Psymun, Ricky Blaze, Lido, Ray Brady and Ryan Olson. Santigold stated the following regarding the making of the album:
“All of a sudden there I was with three small children out of school — just-turned-2-year-old twins and a 6-year-old — I was cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and changing diapers from morning to night, with three little kids coming in and out of my bed throughout each night like musical chairs. I was losing touch with the artist me, stuck in a part of myself that was too small. I felt the other parts of me were shrinking, disappearing …
“This record is about the multidimensionality of being—transformation, transcendence, and evolution. In struggle, we see parts of ourselves that we don’t necessarily see in other times. For those of us who were willing to take a look, there was a lot of opportunity in the past couple of years to really evolve, and this record was about me showing up to do that …
“Recording this album was a way back to myself after being stuck in survival mode. It wasn’t until I made the space to create that I realized I wasn’t only creating music but a lifeline. I’d never written lyrics faster in my life. After having total writer’s block, they started pouring out. I decided to create the future, to look towards where we are going, to create beauty and pull towards that beauty. I need that for myself, but it’s also there for whoever else needs it …
“I loved the idea of calling it Spirituals because it touched on the idea of Negro spirituals, which were songs that served the purpose of getting Black people through the un-get-throughable. In the absence of physical freedom, spirituals have traditionally been music whose sound and physical performance allow its participants to feel transcendental freedom in the moment. That’s what this record did for me.”
Charley Crockett – The Man From Waco
Singer-songwriter Charley Crockett returns with his second album of 2022, The Man From Waco, which is his first to feature him backed by his band The Blue Drifters for the entire album. Crockett wrote or co-wrote all 15 songs on the new album that was produced by Bruce Robison at his The Bunker recording facility near Austin, Texas. The sessions were originally intended to be just for demoing purposes, but instead became the source of the new record. Released today on Son of Davy/Thirty Tigers, The Man From Waco features mostly fist takes and minimal overdubs.
“I just wanted an honest partnership: do it at your place, live to tape, everybody in the room,” Crockett said of working with Robison. “The magic is in the performances on that tape. That’s what Bruce wanted to do, that’s what I wanted to do. When we were done, I said ‘these are masters, not demos.’”
Stick Figure – WisdomStick Figure issued the new studio album Wisdom today. The seventh and latest LP from the San Diego-based reggae artist Scott Woodruff and a small array of collaborators features 14 tracks recorded at Great Stone Studios, a facility owned by Stick Figure in Oakland that was the former home of Green Day. The follow-up to 2019’s World On Fire includes features from Slightly Stoopid, Barrington Levy and Collie Buddz. Woodruff wrote, produced and recorded each of the songs on Wisdom. He tapped Stick Figure live band member Johnny Cosmic to work with him on the mix. The new album is described in press materials as the following:
Wisdom is a journey and a search for what matters in life–a search for meaning, purpose, place and belonging. Wisdom is a code to live by where we can accept that it is ok to start over, to make mistakes, to love, and to feel pain. It is a reminder to focus on the little things that bring joy and know that all of it is a part of our individual story. It also shows us that we should have some fun doing it all! In signature Stick Figure style, Wisdom can bring peace and happiness in the dark moments as well as in the good times, and the benefits of the music can stay with the listener long after the record has stopped spinning.
Marlon Williams – My Boy
New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams issued his third solo album, My Boy, today through Dead Oceans. Williams returned to his native country following the end of his tour in support of his 2018 LP, Make Way For Love. Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic limited travel, and during the downtime Williams “reconnected with family and friends, returned to his Maori culture studies and language, the Indigenous language of New Zealand, and joined a basketball team.” Williams took a different approach from his past albums that were recorded with his longtime backing band, The Yarra Benders, demoing half of the songs with Mark “Merk” Perkins” ahead of sessions in late 2020 with producer Tom Healy in Auckland at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios. Joining the sessions were LA-based drummer Paul Taylor (Feist), bassist Cass Basil (Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins), Healy on guitars and synths, and appearances from Delaney Davidson, Elroy Finn and Dave Kahn (the lone Yarra Bender on the record) on drums and percussion.
“Having new personalities in the room allowed me to escape myself,” said Williams. “When everyone’s still working out each other’s roles, there’s an unsettling and exciting tendency to go off in different directions. It happened naturally. I was listening to more steely, New Romantic stuff, like Duran Duran, John Grant, Perfume Genius, the Bee Gees. All those things fed into the machine … There’s a lot of male shapes on the record. Growing up an only child, I had to outsource my brothers and build a world around me. So while masculinity is a big theme, it’s really subsumed by broader explorations of vitality, and the social and cultural value placed on legacy.”
Madison Cunningham – Revealer
Madison Cunningham released her album, Revealer, today via Verve Forecast. The new LP follows two Grammy-nominated records for the singer-songwriter: the 2019 album Who Are You Now and the extended version of her 2020 EP Wednesday. Cunningham reconvened with familiar and acclaimed collaborators for Revealer including Mike Elizondo (Twenty One Pilots, Gary Clark Jr.), Tucker Martine (Neko Case, Sufjan Stevens) and longtime producer and collaborator Tyler Chester. To herald Revealer, Madison released a number of advance singles including “Anywhere,” “Hospital,” “In From Japan” and “Life According To Raechel.”
“To me, ‘revealer’ is the binding theme of the album,” Cunningham stated. “The hand that slowly chips away at the mirror in which you see yourself and the world and replaces it with the reflection that is most true.”
Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9
Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Ozzy Osbourne is still going strong. Out today is Ozzy’s Patient Number 9, the 73-year-old musician’s 13th solo studio album. Produced by Andrew Watt, the 13-track follow-up to 2020’s Ordinary Man includes contributions from a bevy of renowned musicians such as Ozzy’s Black Sabbath bandmate, guitarist Tony Iommi, along with guitar gods Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Mike McCready and Zakk Wylde. Additionally, Patient Number 9 features the late Taylor Hawkins sharing drum duties with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith and bass work from Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses) and Robert Trujillo (Metallica). Osbourne has battled many health issues and worked through the pandemic on the new LP. Ozzy shared the following about the experience:
“I was vaccinated and boosted and I still caught Covid in the end. My last album (Ordinary Man) was released just a few weeks before the pandemic started, and I was just about getting ready to go into the studio to work on this new one when the world shut down. It’s no secret that the last four years have been very difficult for me but making this album took my mind off of my problems.”
Futurebirds & Carl Broemel – Bloomin’ Too
Futurebirds once again teamed with My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel to release another collaborative EP, Bloomin’ Too, today via No Coincidence Records. The Athens, Georgia-based band consisting of Carter King, Daniel Womack, Thomas Johnson, Brannen Miles, Kiffy Myers, Spencer Thomas and Tom Myers previously tapped Broemel to produce and contribute to their last EP, Bloomin’, which came out in 2021. The seven-track Bloomin’ Too’, which Broemel also produced and contributed to, was recorded at Nashville’s famed Ronnie’s Place recording facility. Writer Garret K. Woodward called Bloomin’ Too “a vortex of sonic textures,” and went on to describe the EP as a record that “ricochets from cosmic space, rock to rough around the edges, alt-country dreamscapes, sandy beach bum odes to kick in your step pop ballads — all signature tones and musical avenues at the core of the Birds’ wide musical palette.”
“Carl is really in tune with what the band is and what it strives to be,” King said of working with Broemel. “He’s engaged and understands our vision…And it’s great to be able to defer to someone you respect so much with creative decisions in the studio.”
Satsang – Flowers From The Fray
Montana-based outfit Satsang returns today with Flowers From The Fray, the group’s fifth album in six years. Bandleader Drew McManus recorded the LP with longtime collaborator and bandmate Parker Brown. The pair self-produced Flowers From The Fray, which was tracked in a secluded cab in Southwest Montana. McManus shared the following about the follow-up to 2021’s All. Right. Now.:
“These songs were all so personal to me. Whether it was really sifting through the stage of life I had found myself in which was a kind of dark night of the soul, or leaning into the love of my wife. This record is truly me bearing my heart. I needed to seclude myself to find out where these songs wanted to go, and having Parker’s musical guidance had a big hand in that.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.