New Music Round-Up 8/23/19: Raphael Saadiq, Robert Randolph, Trey Anastasio, The Band CAMINO, Sturgill Simpson, Grace Potter and more
Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we think Phish opening their Dick’s Sporting Goods Park run with “Down With Disease” would be just a little bit too predictable. For more follow me on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79
This Week’s Playlist
My new hobby is creating 12 song playlists for some of my favorite bands. I like the challenge, especially if a band has a pretty big catalog. Here’s a playlist of what I’ve done so far. And you know, try it for yourself. It’s fun.
Raphael Saadiq Jimmy Lee
Back in 2011, Raphael Saadiq released Stone Rollin’, a throwback of sorts that was one of the most enjoyable albums released that year. The album sounded as if Saadiq had cherry-picked his favorite musical moments of the 1960s and put his own spin on them.
I can’t stress this enough: Stone Rollin’ is a lot of fun to listen to.
But in the years that followed, Saadiq largely stayed behind the scenes working as a producer. He produced Solange’s album A Seat at the Table, served as the composer for Issa Rae’s HBO show Insecure and produced John Legend’s Christmas album, A Legendary Christmas. Now, eight years later, Saadiq is finally releasing a new album.
Jimmy Lee is Saadiq’s fifth studio album and features guest spots by Kendrick Lamar, guitarist Rob Bacon and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, who Saadiq has worked with as part of the production crew, The Ummah.
In an interview with Okayplayer, Saadiq says the new album is “some of the same things. Different chords. It’s a little darker in storytelling. Not really fast, but it’s a little aggressive.” The album is named after Saadiq’s brother, who died of a drug overdose.
Saadiq is playing a handful of dates in September to promote the album.
Sturgill Simpson “Sing Along”
As a fan of Simpson, when I found myself wondering what the future might sound like for him following the success of the excellent A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, something that sounds like it belongs in a montage of a 1980’s spy thriller set in Berlin was not what I had in mind. It’s what we’re getting though and regardless of what I was expecting, it’s dope.
The thumping, driving track is from Simpson’s forthcoming album Sound & Fury, which is also the companion album to an anime film Simpson made with manga artist Takashi Okazai. The film features segments that correspond with each track from the album and will be available on Netflix on September 27.
According to Simpson, the new album is “a sleazy, steamy rock ‘n’ roll record.” And according to me, that sounds “fantastic.”
Simpson recently talked to Zane Lowe about the new record and how he decided to try something new with the record while laid up in California recovering from sinus surgery.
“I laid in the bed for about a week just high as giraffe balls, and listening to all my old favorite records I hadn’t listened to in decades. And I just sort of realized, you know, you can be a commodity and just making the same record over and over just to appease people and hope they show up and give a shit, or you can just be a musician. And so the guys in my band and I, we just in the last couple of years doing the things we love, which is being a bunch of music geeks who grew up on classic rock, and hip hop, and country music, and blues, and everything, and throwing that into a big melting pot.”
“We realized the only way we’re going to get paid is to go play shows, so we might as well make it fun for us, and we made a record that was very fun for us.”
Not calling the album giraffe balls seems like a missed opportunity.
Sound & Fury, both the album and the film, come out on September 27th.
Ghost Funk Orchestra A Song For Paul
I don’t know anything about Ghost Funk Orchestra. I saw their band name, thought that it was kind of an interesting name and went from there. See kids, band names matter.
Ghost Funk Orchestra is from New York City and based on what I’ve heard so far, play a strange mix of psychedelic, funk, surf and pop. A Song For Paul is their debut album, with “Seven Eight” being the first single they’ve released. The track has a dizzying effect, both when you listen to it and watch the video for it.
Apparently this was on purpose, as the song is about a breakup and the band “chose an awkward time signature because having a crush will make anyone feel a little awkward.”
I’d say that’s pretty accurate.
Robert Randolph & The Family Band Brighter Days
At some point in the middle of the last decade, Randolph seemed to come out of nowhere with nothing more than a can-do attitude and ferocious slide-guitar playing. His live shows were damn near religious experiences as the music was pulsating and jam packed with life. For lack of a better word, Randolph shows were a hoot.
Over a decade later, Randolph still has it and captures some of that energy from those early days on “Don’t Fight It,” the most recent single from his new album, Brighter Days.
The new album was produced by veteran Nashville producer Dave Cobb, who has worked with Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Brandi Carlile among others. In a statement, Randolph talked about working with Cobb, saying that “Dave Cobb is just a guy who likes to record good music and good songs. He wanted to do something that was fun, but it also gives you a gospel feeling. He knows the history of our band, coming from church and giving that fun church feeling to people.”
Robert Randolph & The Family Band are on tour throughout the fall.
Trey Anastasio “Sunset Days”
The Phish frontman has been busy this summer, both playing shows with Phish and his own band, and now he’s closing things out with this tender acoustic number. The track was recorded for the soundtrack to the documentary about Anastasio, Between Me and My Mind.
Anastasio debuted the song last December, as he was closing out his solo acoustic tour.
In other Trey-related news, Anastasio sat in with Khruangbin during their set at this year’s Lockn’ Festival, which kicked off Thursday night.
Animal Collective “Summer Blaze”
It’s a song that is almost 25 minutes long. Back in my day, we called 25 minutes the length of a punk album.
But no, “Summer Blaze” is the latest offering from Animal Collective and is the A-side to New Psycho Actives Vol. 2. New Psycho Actives Vol. 1 was released back in 2015, but unlike that release, “Summer Blaze” is a joint effort by members Avey Tare and Geologist.
The B-side to the track will apparently be fall-themed according to a recent Instagram post.
That’s cool, but if it doesn’t smell like pumpkin-spice then we’re sending it back.
Grace Potter “Love Is Love”
Grace Potter’s second solo album is set to be released in October and earlier this week, she released the first single from the project, “Love Is Love.” The new album, Daylight, is her first release since 2015’s Midnight.
Dominating the album’s subject material is Potter’s 2017 divorce and second marriage that followed.
“I’ve always aimed to write songs from a universal perspective; so that anyone who heard my music could relate, but that actually made it harder for me to take ownership of my own perspective. These songs were written so I could process — and be accountable for — my own life experience,” Potter said in a statement.
The new album, which comes out on October 25th, was produced by Potter’s new husband Eric Valentine.
The Band CAMINO tryhard
I’m all for random capitalization, so The Band CAMINO caught my eye. I like Ghost Funk Orchestra slightly better as a band name, but The Band CAMINO is up there.
tryhard is the band’s first release since signing with Elektra Records and according to the band, the title comes from shit talk the band received earlier in their career as “along the way people have called us ‘try-hards’ thinking we took ourselves too seriously or were trying to be something we weren’t.”
“A lot of times people use ‘try-hard’ in a derogatory sense, but we’d rather own the fact that we’ve given every ounce of ourselves to making this music.”
That makes sense to me. Good on ya, The Band CAMINO.
The band hit the road in September to support the album.
Rival Sons Live From the Haybale Studio at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Leave it to Bonnaroo to have a place called “Haybale Studio” that is literally full of haybales. Very on-brand, guys. Good work.
Rival Sons stopped by the studio this summer to record two songs from their most recent album, Feral Roots and a third, “Jordan,” off of their 2012 album Head Down.
The toned-down vibe is a good fit for the band, highlighting the country sound that they have that’s typically buried beneath their big rock sensibilities.
Elsewhere in Music…
Billie For the Win
It was starting to seem as if no one would ever dethrone Lil Nas X, whose “Old Town Road” had sat atop the Billboard 100 for a record-breaking 19 straight weeks. Taylor couldn’t do it. Neither could Ed, Lizzo or the Jonas Brothers. Billie Eilish looked like our best chance, but as the weeks went on, even that was starting to look like a long shot.
Well, not anymore!
This week, Eilish’s “bad guy” knocked “Old Town Road” off. As if that wasn’t enough, Eilish is the first artist born in this century to top the list.
To his credit, Lil Nas X took the news like a champ.
Even Lizzo chimed in.
According to Billboard, a bump in both streams and digital sales helped Eilish get to the top.
I’d like to also think being included in my Best of 2019 (so far) Playlist helped, but I don’t want to toot my own horn. I mean, it does have our subscribers though.
So like, you’re welcome Billie
This Week in Deep Thoughts With Cardi B
What’s Kanye Up To?
Not recording music, that’s for sure.
Instead, Kanye is dabbling in the construction business and this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s not going well.
TMZ reports that West’s “plan to build a futuristic, egalitarian community that bridges low, middle and high-income housing has hit a major roadblock … and it could result in the prototype homes being torn down.”
Gotta get the right permits, ‘ye. Everyone knows that.
This Week in Hey, Thanks YouTube
Taylor Swift’s “Masters” Plan
So up and coming, indie songwriter Taylor Swift does not own the masters to the bulk of her catalog. We’ve known this for a while, but the situation was brought back to life recently when Scooter Braun paid $300 million for Swift’s masters. Swift responded on Tumblr, saying that the deal was her “worst case scenario.”
Now Swift has a plan and to be honest, it’s not that bad.
In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Swift said that she intends to rerecord all of her songs, every single one of them.
I guess the question is whether or not she records note-for-note versions or updates them, especially her earlier songs which sound light years away from what she’s doing now.
Oh yeah, Taylor also released a new album on Friday. I’m sure it’s fine.
And We’ll End Here
See you next week!