Today’s New Albums: Phish, Tony Trischka, Ani DiFranco, Weezer & 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 Phish, Tony Trischka, Ani DiFranco, Weezer, Langhorne Slim, SOJA, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and LNZNDRF. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Phish – Kansas City August 1993
The Scoop: Phish’s latest archival release is their August 17, 1993 concert in Kansas City, Kansas. Phish’s August 1993 performance at Kansas City’s Memorial Hall includes several highlights such as the 19-minute “David Bowie” that followed a “2001” second set opener. Other notable moments include outstanding renditions of “Divided Sky,” “Fluffhead” and “Fast Enough For You.” Additional standout performances include a “You Enjoy Myself” filled with fretboard fireworks from guitarist Trey Anastasio, a Jon Fishman-led cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and the show opening pairing of “Wilson” and “Llama.”
Order via LivePhish.com
Tony Trischka – Shall We Hope
The Scoop: Banjo great Tony Trischka released his album, Shall We Hope, today through Shefa Records. A timely concept album of historical fiction 12 years in the making, Shall We Hope shines a light on America’s problematic past through the lens of the Civil War. Stemming from Trischka’s lifelong interest in the conflict, the album begins in Gettysburg on the site of the bloodiest battle ever to take place on U.S. soil. But it’s 75 years later when elderly Union and Confederate veterans gathered to shake hands one last time. “I watched video of the 1938 Gettysburg reunion, where the soldiers were shaking hands across that stone fence in 1938, brothers again,” Trischka said in a statement. “Though it might have been more a photo op than an indication of changes of heart, it was a poignant moment and on a deeper level, a reason for hope.” The album features a number of guests who offer their musical expertise but also embody the characters in the narrative. Shall We Hope’s title track features fiddle player Phoebe Hunt while guitarist Michael Daves portrays the character Cyrus for “On the Mississippi (Gambler’s Song).” Irish singer and actress Maura O’Connell contributes to the single “Carry Me Over The Sea” while jazz and blues vocalist Catherine Russell lends her voice on “I Know Moonrise.” The record also features Brian O’Donovan (father of singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan) blues artist Guy Davis, longtime Trischka friend Van Dyke Parks, the Violent Femmes and more.
Ani DiFranco – Revolutionary Love
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Ani Di Franco’s 22nd studio album, Revolutionary Love, is out today on her renowned record label, Righteous Babe Records. Durham, North Carolina-based producer/multi-instrumentalist Brad Cook lent Di Franco one of his guitars, which was integral in the album’s formation. “Brad let me borrow the guitar and I ended up writing half this record on it,” said Di Franco. “I called him up and told him about the new pile of songs I’d pulled out of his guitar and about my recording predicament and he said to me, ‘Give me a week. If you can get yourself to Durham, I’ll take care of the rest.’” Produced by Di Franco, the 11-track Revolutionary Love was recorded over two days by Di Franco with Cook, percussionist Brevan Hampden (Hiss Golden Messenger, Milton Suggs), horn/flute player Matt Douglas (The Mountain Goats, Josh Ritter), keyboardist Phil Cook (Megafaun, Shouting Matches), drummer Yan Westerlund (Quetico, Mipso) and Terence Higgins on percussion and Todd Sickafoose on bass.
“My songs have always reflected an acute connection between my personal life and the life of my society,” Di Franco stated. “As I started to come out of years of dealing with marriage problems, I saw my entire country in the same situation; the complete breakdown of communication and loss of empathy and connection. But after what seems like unforgivable damage, then where do you go? You can’t kick each other off the planet, you can’t change the past, so what then?”
Weezer – OK Human
The Scoop: Announced just days ago, OK Human, is Weezer’s newest full length release. Frontman Rivers Cuomo initially revealed the existence of OK Human, during a January 2019 interview, later describing it as “piano-based, very eccentric, with strings already recorded at Abbey Road.” Weezer chose to release OK Human ahead of their other completed studio LP, Van Weezer, which is now set to come out in May. The 14th Weezer album overall and first since 2019’s Weezer (The Black Album), the 12-track OK Human was produced by Jake Sinclair, who along with Rob Mathes provided the record’s string and horn arrangements. Weezer stated the following regarding OK Human:
During the summer of COVID-19 we grabbed our masks, hit the studio and began to chip away at what is now known as OK Human. An album that was made by a handful of humans using only analog technologies (including a 38-piece orchestra) for all of you humans to consume. OK Human was made at a time when humans-playing-instruments was a thing of the past. All we could do is look back on ancient times when humans really mattered and when the dark tech-takeover fantasy didn’t exist. We used our instruments to connect to the 1960s and 1970s and, with the orchestra, back to the 18th and 19th centuries. We had no click track or loops or hi-tech sounds. Not even an electric guitar.
Langhorne Slim – Strawberry Mansion
The Scoop: The new Langhorne Slim (Sean Scolnick) album, Strawberry Mansion, was recorded by the singer-songwriter after being diagnosed with clinical anxiety disorder and getting sober after dealing with prescription drug abuse. In the early days of his recovery, Scolnick’s current hometown of Nashville was struck by a tornado in March 2020 just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world. Scolnick recorded the album at Daylight Sound in Nashville with Paul DeFigilia (The Avett Brothers) and Mat Davidson (Twain). The double album features +20 songs that were written between March and May of last year after a friend named Mike encouraged him to try to write one new song a day. “I wasn’t sitting on the songs and I wasn’t overthinking them,” Langhorne Slim stated. “Something cracked open with the slowing down and the stillness of quarantine … There was nothing precious about the process and it was a bonding thing between me and Mike as much as anything else. It also gave me a release and maybe some potential form of healing, and was an opportunity to not always listen to the shitty thoughts in my head. I wasn’t ever thinking that I was writing songs for a new record.”
SOJA – The Covers EP
The Scoop: Nearly 25 years into their career, reggae act SOJA are trying something different. The octet today releases The Covers EP via ATO Records. SOJA picked seven songs for their first collection of covers. While takes on Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “So Much Trouble In The World,” Toots & The Maytals’ “Pressure Drop” and Peter Tosh’s “Stop That Train” may be expected from a reggae band, the group rounded out The Covers EP with unexpected choices. The set also includes SOJA adding their own spin to “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House, Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” The Fray’s “Trust Me” and “Kill” by Jimmy Eat World.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – I Told You So,
The Scoop: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio are back with their sophomore album, I Told You So, arriving today on Colemine Records. The new LP follows the Seattle-based jazz, funk and soul outfit’s wildly successful 2018 debut, Close But No Cigar, which hit No. 1 on the Contemporary Jazz chart. Led by virtuosic multi-instrumentalist Delvon Lamarr, I Told You So sees the trio — rounded out by guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Dan Weiss — mixing their jazz stylings with the funky strut of groups like Booker T. & The M.G.’s and The Meters along with shades of Motown, Stax Records and even psychedelic sounds a la Jimi Hendrix. DLO3 heralded the release with the swaggering funk of “Call Your Mom,” the B3-laced “Fo Sho” and a soulful instrumental cover of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.”
LNZNDRF – II
The Scoop: LNZNDRF, pronounced “Lanzendorf,” are a quartet consisting of brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf of The National, Benjamin Lanz (The National, Beirut) and Aaron Arntz (Beirut, Grizzly Bear). The band assembled at Austin’s Public Hi-Fi facility for a week in September 2019 to record II, an album out today featuring eight tracks from the improvised sessions. “These songs seem to come from the formless, translucent holograms that appear behind your eyelids just before sleep sets in,” explained LNZNDRF in a statement. “The visions you swear you’ll remember in the morning but never do.” Lanz produced the follow-up to 2020’s To A Lake with Melissa Laveaux contributing backing vocals on “Ringwoodite” and Ben Mabry adding vocals on “Gaskiers.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.