The record, Morning Phase, will be Beck’s first to feature all-new material since his 2008 LP Modern Guilt. It’s been described as almost a companion to 2002’s Sea Change, partially because it features many of the same artists, including Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Jason Falkner. These musicians are also currently accompanying Beck at his live performances.
In December 2012, Beck released Song Reader, a print songbook which he then performed live in July 2013 with Franz Ferdinand, Jarvis Cocker, The Mighty Boosh and other artists. In late June 2013, he released the standalone single “Defriended” for vinyl, digital download and streaming. In early July, Beck performed at the Days Off Festival in Paris, simultaneously covering “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson and “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” by T. Rex. A couple of weeks later, an extended version of his latest single, “I Won’t Be Long,” dropped. In September, the alt-rock musician released yet another song for streaming, this one entitled “Gimme.” Later in September, he joined the Station to Station Tour and performed a brand new song, “Wake Up,” for the audience. The last thing keeping him busy before this latest announcement was headlining the Treasure Island Music Festival, where he performed a duet of “Let’s Get Lost” with Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss.
Beck’s collaborators have been busy with other projects as well. Justin Meldal-Johnsen has been particularly busy as a bassist, producer and songwriter. He produced Paramore’s 2013 album, co-produced and co-wrote M83’s Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, and co-produced a couple of tracks from The Naked and Famous record In Rolling Waves. Last year he did an interview about what it’s like to work with artists like Beck, Paramore, Nine Inch Nails and others. It’s also recently been announced that Johnsen will be producing the next album for Young the Giant, which will drop in January 2014.