Today’s New Albums: Ryley Walker, Mimi Naja, Holly Bowling & 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 Ryley Walker, Fruition‘s Mimi Naja, Holly Bowling and 4AD’s covers compilation. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Ryley Walker – Course In Fable
The Scoop: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ryley Walker’s new album, Course In Fable, is out today on his Husky Pants Records label. The seven-song LP was produced by Tortoise’s John McEntire and is Walker’s first solo album featuring original material since 2018’s Deafman Glance. Walker took inspiration from prog-pop legends Genesis as well as, “Australian extreme scooter riders on YouTube and balding gear heads on Craigslist.” In addition to producing, engineering and mixing Course In Fable, McEntire contributed synthizer, keyboards and vibraphone as well.
“I told him [McEntire] to take the mixes and have at it,” Walker said. Others appearing on the album are Walker’s “dear friends” Andrew Scott Young on bass and piano, Bill MacKay on guitar and piano and Ryan Jewell on drums and percussion. Douglas Jenkins prepared string arrangements and, along with Nancy Ives, played cello on Course In Fable .
Mimi Naja – Nothing Has Changed
The Scoop: Multi-instrumentalist Mimi Naja of Fruition today releases a new EP via Ingrooves. Nothing Has Changed features five songs including a reprise of the title track. Mimi recorded the EP in her adopted hometown of Nashville and recruited Fruition drummer Tyler Thompson to both contribute to Nothing Has Changed and mix all but one track. Naja worked up the material on the EP after she entered a substance treatment center at the start of the pandemic and has remained in recovery since April 2020 as she continues to take life one day a time.
“Mimi’s record sounds so original and refreshing to me … I’m truly inspired,” Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers said regarding Nothing Has Changed. “If honesty had a voice, it would be Mimi’s,” added fellow songwriter Anna Tivel. “She has this way of lighting up the vulnerable depth, a gritty spotlight on a hard-won stage where she invites us to see our shared struggles made beautiful. These songs are human, full of questioning and compassion.”
Holly Bowling – The Wilderness Sessions Vol. 10 – Hardscrabble Mountain
The Scoop: Last year while forced from touring due to COVID-19, pianist Holly Bowling recorded a series of performances in beautiful outdoor natural settings dubbed “The Wilderness Sessions.” Bowling continues to share audio from the performances, with The Wilderness Sessions Vol. 10 – Hardscrabble Mountain landing today on Bandcamp Friday. The session was recorded on November 12 at Hardscrabble Mountain in Colorado. Bowling opened with Phish’s Farmhouse rarity “The Inlaw Josie Wales,” followed by her solo arrangments of the Grateful Dead’s “Weather Report Suite: Prelude, Part I” and “Let It Grow.” That pairing was followed by another Farmhouse tune, “Dirt” and another Phish song, this time choosing “Fast Enough For You” from Rift. A brief return to “Let It Grow” and the Dead’s classic “Brokedown Palace” close out the recording. Bowling shared the below regarding the experience:
“After Breckenridge we headed west, feeling the pull back towards home as we made our way to the final set locations. We wound past Vail and up into White River National Forest, searching for the last aspens of the season, and found a stand on Hardscrabble Mountain where the forest glowed yellow in the late afternoon sun. The wind raced softly through the trees as we set up, shaking the leaves loose and turning the ground to gold. We realized we had to work fast, watching as the backdrop to the set fell to pieces and transformed while we ran cables and wired my keyboard rig. The shadows grew longer and leaves laid themselves down on my keyboard as I soundchecked. There was something perfect about the season drawing its last breaths there on the mountain as our two months out on the road drew towards a close, all of it turning in the same direction. It was one of those days where the setlist felt like it fit perfectly – more than I even realized, until the words to the songs unfolded themselves in my head as I played.”
Various Artists – Bills & Aches & Blues
The Scoop: Seminal independent UK record label 4AD celebrates its 40th anniversary with the covers compilation, Bills & Aches & Blues, out digitally today (physical editions are due July 23. Proceeds from the first year’s sales of Bills & Aches & Blues will be donated to The Harmony Project, “a Los Angeles-based after-school program for children from communities and schools that lack equitable access to studying the arts or music.” The compiliation consists of 4AD artists covering each other, including three songs by The Breeders, “Cannonball” covered by Tune-Yards, “Mountain Battles” covered by Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox and “Off You” covered by Big Thief. The Breeders themselves covered His Name Is Alive’s “The Dirt Eaters.” Additional tracks were recorded by Tkay Maidza, U.S. Girls, Aldous Harding, The Breeders and Maria Somerville with each respectively covering songs by Pixies, The Birthday Party, Deerhunter, His Name Is Alive and Air Miami.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein and Andy Kahn.