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 Planet Drum, Neil Young and Promise of The Real, and The Brother Brothers. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Planet Drum – In The Groove
Planet Drum released In The Groove, the global rhythm ensemble’s first new album since 2007’s Global Drum Project. The group, who earned the first-ever Grammy Award in the World Music category for their 1991 self-titled debut LP, consists of Grateful Dead/Dead & Company drummer Mickey Hart, tabla master Zakir Hussain of India, legendary conguero (conga player) Giovanni Hidalgo of Puerto Rico and talking drum virtuoso Sikiru Adepoju of Nigeria. Additional contributions came from singer/drummers from Benin, West Africa, Melissa Hie and Ophelia Hie. The album also features a recording of Planet Drum’s “father,” the late Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, who appeared on 1991’s Planet Drum and passed away in 2003 at age 75. The recording was made during the 1995 sessions for Hart’s Mystery Box album. In The Groove began with the acclaimed musicians recording remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the situation improved, the expert percussionists came together at Hart’s recording facility in California to create their first album in 15 years.
“Jazz with a backbeat,” Hart said of the new release. “It’s a dance album. It was always on my mind to do something with Zakir that made people dance, as opposed to just listen. But I thought it was time to dance, for Planet Drum to dance. This is celebratory. It has a spatial quality that none of the others have, and it has a backbeat, which makes you dance. I wanted to make a record for people to enjoy and come out of the viral load world of the last two years…this is a trance dance band. I kind of combined everything in this one — thanks to the updates of technology, we could work with space as well as the groove.”
“It’s a groove album,” said Hussain. “Very little virtuoso soloing, but four of us in sync within the groove adds up to something incredible. It’s a real challenge to do just enough in support of the groove, adding exclamation points, but never disturbing the groove atmosphere. It’s a feel-good, jump up and down, tap-your-toes dance album. It also has a combined organic and electronic sonic experience that’s very warm.”
Neil Young & Promise Of The Real – Noise & Flowers
Neil Young & Promise Of The Real released their live album, Noise & Flowers, today through Reprise Records. The LP, and its accompanying film, document the legendary singer-songwriter and his frequent backing band since 2015, Promise Of The Real — Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Anthony Logerfo, Corey Mccormick and Tato Melgar — on their 2019 European tour. Noise & Flowers boasts early Neil classics like “Mr. Soul,” “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and “Helpless.” The record also contains live rarities including “Field of Opportunity” and “On The Beach” as well as later favorites “Rockin’ In The Free World” and “Fuckin’ Up.” The nine-date European run came just two weeks after Young’s friend and manager of 50 years, Elliot Roberts, sadly died at the age of 76. Neil performed with a photo of Elliot taped to his road case for the entire tour and Noise & Flowers is dedicated to Roberts.
“Playing in his memory [made it] one of the most special tours ever,” Young wrote in the album’s liner notes. “We hit the road and took his great spirit with us into every song. This music belongs to no one. It’s in the air. Every note was played for music’s great friend, Elliot.”
The Brother Brothers – Cover To Cover
Cover To Cover is a new album from The Brother Brothers and as the title implies, it features 12 covers recorded by the sibling duo. Made up of Peoria, Illinois native and identical twins, Adam Moss and David Moss, The Brother Brothers’ last full-length was their 2021 sophomore LP, Calla Lily. Among the songs covered on the new LP out today on Compass Records includes Tom T. Hall’s “That’s How I Got to Memphis,” Jackson Browne’s “These Days,” James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes,” Hoagy Carmichael’s “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes),” Robert Earl Keen’s “Feelin’ Good Again,” Richard Thompson’s “Waltzing’s for Dreamers,” Judee Sill’s “There’s A Rugged Road,” Tom Waits’ “Flower’s Grave,” Harley Allen’s “High Sierra,” popularized by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt on their Trio II album, and “If You Ain’t Got Love,” by Chas Justus of Lafayette, Louisiana dance band The Revelers.
“We are, first and foremost, music scholars,” said David Moss. “We are always learning, exploring, figuring out who played on what and who wrote this and who wrote that. These are other people’s songs, but we really needed to make them our own. We didn’t want to be singing somebody’s song that we didn’t fully identify with and didn’t feel like us. In the end, we just picked the ones that we enjoyed doing the most.”
On Cover To Cover, the Moss brothers are joined by Lake Street Dive vocalist Rachael Price and her sister Emily Price, on “I Get Along Without You,” Sarah Jarosz plays mandolin on “Feelin’ Good Again,” and harmonizes on “You Can Close Your Eyes,” Jarosz’s bandmate, Jeff Picker, plays lead acoustic guitar and bass on “These Days” and Michaela Anne adds high harmonies to “High Sierra.” The album also features Alison Brown on banjo.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.