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 G. Love & Special Sauce, Fruition, Marcus King, of Montreal, …And You Will Know us By The Trail of Dead, Mac Miller and Eminem. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
G. Love & Special Sauce – The Juice
The Scoop: G. Love, the nom-de-plume for Garrett Dutton, has gone without Special Sauce for his latest studio album. However, there are plenty of musicians who contributed to the new G. Love LP, The Juice. Keb’ Mo’ appears on three tracks, while Robert Randolph, Marcus King, Roosevelt Collier and Ron Artis II are also featured on the 11-track Philadelphonic/Thirty Tigers release. Dutton recorded The Juice in Nashville and includes a politically-charged title track. “I wrote this song as a personal knee jerk reaction to the frustration I feel towards the policies which the current right wing administration is pushing forward,” G. Love said of “The Juice” to American Blues Scene. “I also wanted to give strength, support, empathy and energy to the protest kids and activists who are in the trenches fighting to uphold liberal progress. Keb’ Mo’ helped me to solidify the theme of the song with the call and response chorus which has become a live anthem as we say Times Up to negative forces and lead the way with Love and Unity.”
Fruition – Broken At The Break Of Day
The Scoop: The ever-prolific Fruition are back with their second new studio album in the past nine weeks. Broken At The Break Of Day comes on the heels of November’s Wild As The Night and the former serves as a companion to the latter. Fruition assembled at drummer Tyler Thompson’s new home studio and came away with a seven-track LP. “This process was the quickest the band had ever written and recorded the songs,” Thompson explained. “All the songs obviously fit either a ‘day’ or ‘night’ theme, but the whole rehearsing and recording process had to be done in about half the amount of time we were used to. That time limitation leant us to not overthink things, play instinctually and all live in the studio with very minimal overdubs. All the songs are very different, but I think the speedy process naturally created some sonic congruency.” All of the band’s songwriters — Mimi Naja, Kellen Asebroek and Jay Cobb Anderson — are represented with the rhythm section of Thompson and Jeff Leonard mightily holding down the bottom end on Fruition’s 10th release in the past five years.
Marcus King – El Dorado
The Scoop: Because he’s been blowing minds with his lightning-quick guitar work and honey-dipped rasp for years now as the titular character in The Marcus King Band, it’s hard to believe that 23-year-old Marcus King is just now releasing his debut solo album, El Dorado. For the record, King teamed up with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. The duo wrote the 12 songs together in just three days and recorded the album at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound facility in Nashville. During the marathon sessions, Auerbach brought in Nashville songwriting aces like Paul Overstreet, Ronnie Bowman and Pat McLaughlin to lend their expertise and worked with studio musicians whose resumes range from Elvis Presley to Bobby Womack. The result was a diverse set that goes from intoxicating rock rave-ups like “The Well” to lush love songs like “Beautiful Stranger.”
of Montreal – UR FUN
The Scoop: After recording a number of albums with various band members and collaborators, of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes decided to record the new LP UR FUN completely on his own. So, Barnes sequestered himself in his home studio in Athens, Georgia where the creative mastermind clocked 12-hour days cobbling together synth arrangements and bubbly basslines, stacked harmonies and glittering guitars inspired by ‘80s classics like Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual” and Janet Jackson’s “Control.” The resulting 10-track electro-pop output features catchy choruses and retro dance grooves but also sees Barnes nodding to his sundry and arcane literary and cultural influences like the films of Italian horror auteur Mario Bava or Gary Indiana’s novel Horse Crazy along with French death metal band Death Throne and Brazilian love song “Cucurucucu Paloma” by Caetano Veloso. And while the album’s closing waxes dark, ultimately UR FUN is uplifting, as evidenced in the lyrics to lead single “Peace To All Freaks”: “Hush, hush, don’t let’s be negative.”
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – X: The Godless Void And Other Stories
The Scoop: As its title implies, X: The Godless Void And Other Stories is the 10th studio album from …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The Austin, Texas-based band co-founded in 1994 by childhood friends Conrad Keely and Jason Reece recorded the follow-up to 2014’s IX after Keely’s return following five years living in Cambodia. “When Conrad moved to Cambodia, we both had time to live our lives and do different things,” Reece stated. “Coming back to the band, there was a new vigor to it. It all feels exciting still.” The album was previewed by the singles “Don’t Look Down” and “Into The Godless Void.” “I feel like I’m writing pop music, it’s just not Top 20 pop,” Keely stated. “It’s the pop music I wish was on the radio, the pop music I would’ve grown up with.”
Mac Miller – Circles
The Scoop: Leading up to his death from an accidential overdose in September 2018, rapper Mac Miller was working on the tracks that became the posthumously released album,Circles. Miller’s death came shortly after the release of his album, Swimming, which like Circles, was produced by Jon Brion. Following Miller’s tragic death, Brion went to work completing Circles. The two albums were intended to be companions, “Swimming into Circles” according to the note shared by Miller’s family that announced the album. Read that note below:
Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By
The Scoop: Rapper Eminem dropped a surprise new album, Music To Be Murdered By, which follows his last similarly unannounced release, 2018’s Kamikaze. The new album’s title and alternate artwork is a direct reference to director Albert Hitchcock’s 1958 album with Jeff Alexander. Eminem posted that he was inspired by Hitchock, whose samples appear throughout the Dr. Dre co-produced album. The Alchemist, Royce da 5’9″ and Skylar Grey were among the other producers, the later two also appearing on the record. Guests on the 20-track album include Anderson .Paak, Ed Sheeran, Black Thought, Q-Tip and others.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.