Today’s New Albums: Lotus, The Weeknd, Vulfpeck & Cory Wong + 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 Lotus, Vulfpeck & Cory Wong, The Weeknd, Waxahatchee and Baked Shrimp. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.


Lotus – Live Underground

The Scoop: Lotus released the live album Live Underground today on digital streaming services. The seven-song collection features the first set from the band’s July 6, 2019 concert at underground venue The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. A vinyl edition of Live Underground, the jamtronica act’s first vinyl pressing, was put up for pre-order in November and quickly sold out.

Recorded before Mike Rempel departed the band and Tim Palmieri joined, Live Underground was mixed and mastered by Lotus bassist Jesse Miller. “Planning for the show we wanted to play with the natural reverberation in the cavern. With that in mind we played songs that allowed space for notes to ring and not become a cacophony, but rather add an extra dimension to the music,” explained Lotus multi-instrumentalist Luke Miller.


The Weeknd – Dawn FM

The Scoop: Announced earlier this week, The Weeknd today released the new studio album, Dawn FM. Little was shared prior to the release of the follow-up to 2020’s After Hours. The Weeknd posted a pair of trailers this week. The first revealed guests on the album, which includes actor Jim Carrey, as well as Quincy Jones, Oneohtrix Point Never, Lil Wayne and Tyler, the Creator. The second trailer contained the cover art featuring The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) in geriatric makeup as well as the 16-song tracklist that includes “Take My Breath,” which was released as a single in August 2021. Last night, The Weeknd participated in an online listening party when the album came out at midnight.


Vulfpeck & Cory Wong – Vulf Vault 005: Wong’s Cafe

The Scoop: Vulfpeck and longtime collaborator/band member Cory Wong are back with their first album of original music in over a year, Vulf Vault 005: Wong’s Cafe. The new record follows Vulf’s 2020 album The Joy of Music, the Job of Real Estate and contains some material recorded pre-pandemic and some captured “over the last few months” by core four Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Woody Goss and Joe Dart along with touring member Joey Dosik. Grammy-nominated guitarist, composer and bandleader Cory Wong produced the album, which also features Wong and Vulf collaborator saxophonist Eddie Barbash on “Out In The Sun.” Vulfpeck previewed the 10-track Wong’s Cafe with opening number “Smokeshow” and followed with “Disco De Lune,” “Let’s Go” — which features killer sax from Dosik — and “Radio Shack (Wong’s Cafe Version).” Previous Vulf Vault releases have featured frequent Vulf collaborator Antwaun Stanley (VV001), as well as other members of the band, Woody Goss (VV002 – Inside the Mind of Woody Goss), Theo Katzman (VV003 – Theo!) and Joe Dart (VV004 – Dart). Like those previous installments, a limited edition, single pressing, vinyl version of Vulf Vault 005: Wong’s Cafe is available to pre-order for a limited time.


Waxahatachee – El Deafo (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack)

The Scoop: Waxahatchee, the moniker of singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, was enlisted to create songs to soundtrack the Apple TV animated series, El Deafo, which also premieres today. Based on the 2014 same-titled graphic novel by author/illustrator Cece Bell, the El Deafo animated series “follows Cece, who after losing her hearing, learns to navigate school and new friends, all through the help of her superhero alter ego named El Deafo.” The three-part series features the voices of Lexi Finigan, Pamela Adlon, Jane Lynch and Chuck Nice. Waxahatchee wrote the theme song “Up In The Sky,” along with additional new originals, “Trampoline Love Song,” “Mighty Bolt” and the previously shared single, “Tomorrow.”

“I’m so happy to finally announce an amazing project I had the honor of being a part of,” Crutchfield stated. “Last year I wrote some original music for a new show on Apple TV+ called El Deafo, based on the book of the same name by a true hero, Cece Bell. Myself along with Rob Barbato spent a few months arranging and recording these tunes and it was an amazing experience all around.”


Baked Shrimp – Pork Etiquette

The Scoop: Out today from prog-jam trio Baked Shrimp is Pork Etiquette, the group’s third official studio album. The band features vocalist/guitarist Jared Cowen, bassist Scott Reill and drummer Jager Soss. Co-produced by Nick Rufolo and Michael Rufolo from The Brothers Nylon, Pork Etiquette consists of 10 tracks with Nick Rufolo providing additional instrumentation on all but one of those tracks.

”Those two are so fun to work with, and really are creative geniuses. If you asked to Nick to play any instrument I’d put any dollar amount down that he would be able to play it,” Jared Cowen said of working with the Rufolo Brothers. “Mike also is a master at his craft and had so many great ideas with the production of the album. The huge sound of both Conscious and Pork Etiquette wouldn’t have been able to be pulled off without those two.” Pork Etiquette was recorded at the same time as Conscious, a studio album released by Baked Shrimp last March.


Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.