1/31/2013

HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS DEBUT "HOW LONG?"

HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS DEBUT "HOW LONG?" VIDEO VIA NPR

WELCOME OBLIVION VINYL COVER ART AND TRACK LISTING REVEALED

AN OMEN EP_ OUT NOW VIA COLUMBIA RECORDS 


Photo credit: How to destroy angels_
How to destroy angels_ is a collective from Los Angeles composed of Mariqueen Maandig, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Rob Sheridan. Today, they are proud to share the Shynola-directed music video for "How long?", the first single off of their debut LP Welcome oblivion. Additionally, the band has revealed the vinyl cover art and track list for Welcome oblivion which is due on March 5th from Columbia Records. The vinyl edition of Welcome oblivion will feature two exclusive songs entitled "The province of fear" and "Unintended consequences" and also comes with a white label version of the vinyl release on CD. The collective's recent release, An omen EP_, is currently available for purchase via Amazon (vinyl), iTunes (digital), and from the collective's own website here (digital including lossless).

Previously:
Watch: "The loop closes" - http://vimeo.com/56805766 

Video: "Ice Age" - http://vimeo.com/54507716

Tour Dates:

4/12 - Coachella *
4/19 - Coachella *

*Live debut

 
How to destroy angels_
Welcome oblivion
(3/5/13, Columbia Records)
Pre-order CD and Vinyl

CD/Digital

1 The wake-up
2 Keep it together
3 And the sky began to scream
4 Welcome oblivion
5 Ice age
6 On the wing
7 Too late, all gone
8 How long?
9 Strings and attractors
10 We fade away
11 Recursive self-improvement
12 The loop closes
13 Hallowed ground

Vinyl (includes 2 exclusive tracks)


1 The wake-up
2 Keep it together
3 And the sky began to scream
4 Ice age
5 Welcome oblivion
6 On the wing
7 Too late, all gone
8 The province of fear
9 How long?
10 Strings and attractors
11 Recursive self-improvement
12 Unintended consequences
13 We fade away
14 The loop closes
15 Hallowed ground




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CAVEMAN Announce New Album CAVEMAN Out 4/2

CAVEMAN Announce New Album CAVEMAN Out 4/2 via Fat Possum Records
 

First Single “In The City” Premiered By NPR All Songs Considered HERE + SoundCloud HERE (free to share)


 ALBUM ART HERE

31 City North American Headline Tour Starts 2/26: Including SXSW and Homecoming New York show at Webster Hall on 4/10

On their self-titled sophomore album Caveman stretch their legs in a number of different, albeit cohesive, directions. Their highly anticipated return will come out in America via Fat Possum Records on April 2nd, and the first single “In The City” is being revealed today via NPR’s All Songs Considered. Head over to NPR HERE to listen to the track. Plus on the band’s SoundCloud HERE.

Caveman—a five-man vibe collective from NYC—released their first album in 2011. As first albums go, CoCo Beware was something akin to a moody statement of intent, a blueprint for a band quickly learning how to create horizon-wide rock songs that were equal parts intimate and expansive. Initially self-released and later snatched up by Fat Possum for re-release in early 2012, the record brims over with four-part harmonies, crystalline guitar lines, and tracks that see-sawed between echoey lullaby (“A Country’s King of Dreams”) to shoegaze-by-way-of classic-FM-radio sprawl (“Old Friend”). The album quickly elevated Caveman from local band to watch to a sizable touring draw and formidable live act, as evidenced by stints on the road with the likes of The War on Drugs, White Rabbits and Built to Spill. Despite being the work of a brand new band, CoCo Beware displayed a kind of Zen-like ease. It was the sound a five friends settling into a nice groove; the music that happens when, for whatever reason, a lot of seemingly disparate elements finally fall into place.

“We all went up to Jimmy’s grandmother’s place in New Hampshire,” says singer Matthew Iwanusa. “That’s where the new record kind of started. It was literally the attic of her barn, lit up by Christmas lights. We’d all sit in this one room together and one by one we’d all go into the bathroom and record ourselves making the most psycho noises possible. It actually felt kind of like a weird breakthrough. We were all confident and comfortable enough with each other to try out these experiments, which extended itself into the making of the new record…which is really just an evolution of this vibe that we’d been cultivating for long time.”

With that, the guys holed up in Brooklyn’s Rumpus Room to start recording in earnest with Nick Stumpf (who produced the band’s debut album) and Albert Di Fiore behind the controls. The album is a kind of sonic microcosm—a series of emotional yet tough mini-narratives operating within the same quixotic musical universe.

As a result, the guitars on Caveman are bigger and more expansive, the rhythm section is tighter and more adventurous, the keyboards more opaque and pronounced. Like a marriage between Tangerine Dream, late period Slowdive, and Lindsey Buckingham, tracks like their new single “In the City” and “Ankles” boast synth lines that sound simultaneously retro and futuristic, while “Pricey” and “Never Want to Know” overflow with guitar sounds that could have miraculously floated off an old Cure album. It should be noted that James Carbonetti, the band’s primary guitar player, also happens to be one of the most highly regarded guitar makers in New York City.

And while Caveman’s music could certainly operate on the level of dreamy soundscape and still be excellent, the depth of feeling in front man Matthew Iwanusa’s lyrics helps weave the songs deeply into your memory. When Iwanusa sings Where’s the time to waste on someone else’s life? on “Where’s the Time,” it’s hard not to read between the lines. Wonder and regret seem to fuel the record in almost equal measure.
 
Caveman - CAVEMAN tracklisting:
01 -- Strange to Suffer
02 -- In the City
03 -- Shut You Down
04 -- Where's the Time
05 -- Chances
06 -- Over My Head
07 -- Ankles
08 -- Pricey
09 -- I See You
10 -- I Never Want to Know
11 -- The Big Push

Caveman tour dates (more to be announced):
Tue, Feb 26 – New Haven, CT @ Café Nine INFO
Wed, Feb 27 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

Thu, Feb 28 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo 
INFO
Fri, Mar 01 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace

Sat, Mar 02 – Detroit, MI @ Garden Bowl

Mon, Mar 04 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop 
INFO
Tue, Mar 05 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas 
INFO
Wed, Mar 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
 INFO
Thu, Mar 07 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar 
INFO
Fri, Mar 08 – St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House

Sat, Mar 09 – Oxford, MS @ Lamar Lounge

Mon, Mar 11 – New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho Lounge 
INFO
Tue, Mar 12-17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW (details TBD)

Mon, Mar 18 – Albuquerque, NM @ Low Spirits

Tue, Mar 19 – Denver, Co @ Larimer Lounge

Wed, Mar 20 – Salt Lake City, UK @ Urban Lounge

Fri, Mar 22 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar

Sat, Mar 23 – Visalia, CA @ The Cellar Door

Sun, Mar 24 – Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp
Tue, Mar 26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

Thu, Mar 28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour

Fri, Mar 29 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah

Sat, Mar 30 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress

Mon, Apr 01 – Austin, TX @ The Parish INFO
Tue, Apr 02 – Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silverleaf 
INFO
Thu, Apr 04 – Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree

Fri, Apr 05 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt

Sat, Apr 06 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn

Sun, Apr 07 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 
INFO
Tue, Apr 09  - Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage INFO
Wed, Apr 10 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall

Thu, Apr 11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s


HI RES BAND PHOTO (Phil Di Fiore) HERE

CAVEMAN is:
Jeff Berrall - bass, backing vocals
James Carbonetti - guitar
Sam Hopkins - keys, backing vocals
Matthew Iwanusa - vocals, guitar, percussion
Stefan Marolachakis - drums, backing vocals

LISTEN / SHARE:
Caveman - "In The City" HERE 
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The Thermals Sign To Saddle Creek

The Thermals Sign To Saddle Creek  
New Album Desperate Ground Out April 16
Available For Pre-Order Now
  
The Thermals are pleased to announce they have signed to Saddle Creek, a label the band has known and admired for many years. The Thermals and Saddle Creek have a long history of sleeping on floors together: The Thermals have toured with Cursive and Ladyfinger, and Hutch and Kathy organized the first Bright Eyes show in Portland way back in 1999.

The Thermals are a post-pop-punk trio from pre-Portlandia-Portland, Oregon. The band formed in 2002 and has since released five records and toured fifteen countries. The Thermals' sixth LP and debut for Saddle Creek, Desperate Ground will be released April 16 and is available now for pre-order at the Saddle Creek Online Store. The album was produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth) in Hoboken, NJ. Agnello and The Thermals completed the record and evacuated the studio just hours before Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey, a fate quite fitting when you consider the product. Desperate Ground is a true scrappy and scratchy return-to-form for The Thermals, with all the raw power and unhinged adolescent energy that made their early LP's so insanely enjoyable. Lyrically, Desperate Ground is a brash and irresponsible ode to human violence, a black celebration of the inevitability of war and death. A dark and yet joyous affair, Desperate Ground tells the (murky) tale of a lone rogue in the night. One man, one path, one sword. An unceasing urge to destroy. A never-ending battle against the forces of nature. A destiny impossible to avoid.

The Thermals are Hutch Harris, Kathy Foster and Westin Glass.

Desperate Ground track list:
 
1. Born To Kill
2. You Will Be Free
3. The Sunset
4. I Go Alone
5. The Sword By My Side
6. You Will Find Me
7. Faces Stay With Me
8. The Howl Of The Winds
9. Where I Stand
10. Our Love Survives

The Thermals will be touring their gennies off for the next few years in support of Desperate Ground. Some upcoming dates below, with many more to be announced. Please "like" The Thermals on Facebook even if you only "kind of like" them in real life.

03.01 - San Francisco, CA - Noise Pop (@ Rickshaw Stop)
03.02 - Cupertino, CA @ Homestead Lanes Bowling Alley
03.07 - Brooklyn, NY @ 285 Kent
03.08 - Clinton, NY @ Beinekie Events Barn @ Hamilton College
03.09 - Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell's
03.13 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
03.14 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
03.15 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
03.16 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
03.18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex (Check Yo Ponytail)

For more info, please visit:


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Jamaican Queens Drown In New 'Water' Video

Jamaican Queens Drown In New 'Water' Video
     
Tour to SXSW Behind Debut Album Wormfood Out March 5

 
 Watch the video at the IFC.com Premiere or YouTube + Stream the mp3 (Available To Post)
      
'Water' Video    
Detroit duo Jamaican Queens has released a brand new video for second single "Water," off its debut album Wormfood, set for a March 5 release. Co-created by Adam Michael Perzanowski and Suki Gershenhorn, this video follows the band's docu-style Detroit horror film for first single "Kids Get Away," which has been played on KCRW, and received praised from NYLON, Noisey, and FILTER among others, saying, "the trippy collaboration of upbeat guitar and synth provides some bone-chilling beats alongside Ryan Spencer's expressive, shrieking vocals and creepy lyrics." 

Vocalist Ryan Spencer explains, ""Water' is a song that I wrote about an intense experience I had coming down from ecstasy at a festival. Suki, my ex-girlfriend, created the idea for this video and we decided to call it, 'Adam in the House of Babes.'  We all brainstormed funny scenarios with Adam (Pressley, producer and other half of Jamaican Queens) that involved him living with all these babes that take care of him as he lounges about in a hazy, smoky, drunken household. A lot of drama came up because Suki and I broke up half way through filming, but everything worked out in the end. Suki and the director found a nice parallel to the song's lyrics, because just as the effects of ecstasy wear off (which they always do), Adam's babe-filled dream house turns out to be a terrible nightmare."
 
The partnership of Jamaican Queens' Ryan Spencer and producer Adam Pressley was conceived in late 2011. Pressley moved to Detroit to join Spencer in his former band Prussia, and shortly after his arrival the group dissolved. The two decided they worked better as a pair and spent that winter writing and recording Wormfood, which was mixed by High Bias Recordings engineer, Christopher Lazlo Koltay (Akron/Family, Dirtbombs). The fusion of Spencer's melodies and Pressley's knowledge of underground music and production gave birth to their unique "odd pop" or as it's being called, "trap-pop." Influenced by the southern rap beats of Three 6 Mafia, Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy, as well as the experimentation of Brian Eno and Lee Scratch Perry, Wormfood draws from electronic, dub, downbeat, and folk influences, creating an erratic canvas overlaid with radiant pop hooks. The band is currently on a North American tour and are scheduled to perform at SXSW '13.
  
Jamaican Queens Tour Dates
 
1/31  Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot
2/23  Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig
3/07  Denton, TX - 35 Denton
3/10-3/16 - Austin, TX - SXSW
3/17  Hot Springs, AR - VOV Fest
3/23  Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle  
3/27  Raleigh, NC - Kings Barcade
3/28  Washington, DC - Black Cat 
 
 
 
Wormfood Tracklisting

1. Water 
2. Kids Get Away
3. Black Madonna
4. Annie
5. Wormfood
6. Wellfleet Outro
7. Sharkteeth
8. Asleep at the Wheel
9. Caitlin

For more info, please visit:    

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1/30/2013

FOXYGEN is #76 on the Billboard Charts



Foxygen enters the @billboard chart at #73 for "We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" Unbelieveable.
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Junip-New Album Cover Art & Tracklisting

"This is music that easily goes anywhere…" 
The New York Times
 
"the Swedish trio create Baroque pop walls…culminating in emotional strings and driving percussion."
-Stereogum
 
"The beguiling voice of Jose Gonzalez floats perfectly above a parallel of mesmerizing strings - as all Junip songs should."
-Baeble
Junip Tracklisting
 
Line of Fire
Suddenly
So Clear
Your Life Your Call
Villain
Walking Lightly
Head First
Baton
Beginnings
After All is Said and Done
 
Last week Junip released Line of Fire”, the first single off their sophomore album Junip,out April 23rd.  Featuring vocals by José González with Elias Araya on drums and Tobias Winterkorn on keys, “Line of Fire” showcases a bolder, more mature Junip – once again eager t o embrace you with their infectious blend of percussion and passionate, immeasurable waves of genuine emotion. Already receiving high praise, this track is a true stunner and expressive of what's  coming down the line.

Within a few seconds of devouring “Line of Fire” you will take note of the ease with which Elias, José and Tobias blend their individual styles into one adept, fluid and pulsating movement.  Extensive touring following Fields allowed them to get a jump start on writing, “We’d press ‘record’ when we started jamming, and end up with a pretty complete song structure when we finished,” González explains. Head over to their  soundcloud now to give it a listen!

Returning to their rehearsal space in Gothenberg, Sweden (where they recorded their 2010 debut release, Fields) the trio once again engaged the assistance of producer Don Alsterberg.  It was an easy decision to self-title the second chapter in their collective story as José states, “All the ups and downs were very ‘Junip,’ so titling it with our name seemed appropriately iconic. It’s truly a band album.” 

Junip expands the band’s stylistic palette with unexpected juxtapositions. “We’re somewhere between a German jazz band and an African pop band,” González cracks.
Today, we share with you Junip's album artwork and tracklisting.

Junip is Gothenburg, Sweden-based rock trio consisting of Elias Araya (drums), José González (guitar, vocals), and Tobias Winterkorn (organ, moog).
 
 

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IFC Premieres Whispertown's "Open The Other Eye" Video

IFC Premieres Whispertown's "Open The Other Eye" Video 
Parallel Out Now On Acony Records 

Los Angeles' Whispertown released the official video for "Open The Other Eye" the lead single from Parallel out now on Acony Records. The video premiered on IFC who described the track as "charming and irresistible." The video is also available on the band's newly launched YouTube channel. The YouTube channel will be continuously updated with official videos, live footage, fan videos and videos for previously unreleased songs. Whispertown is the latest iteration of the unique vision of Morgan Nagler (songwriter, lead vocals, guitar). What was once The Whispertown 2000 has morphed into a less structured version of itself, with Nagler's unmistakable vocals leading a revolving cast of musicians and artists.

On the strength of Nagler's classic songwriting and the bands compelling live performances Whispertown have garnered support slots for Jenny Lewis, The Breeders, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, She & Him, The Elected, Azure Ray, Maria Taylor and many more. Jenny Lewis said, "Morgan Nagler is my favorite songwriter. Period." The band caught the attention of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, inspiring the first signing to their own Acony Records. Shortly thereafter, the band released 2008's Swim, comprised of classic songwriting and harmonious folk-pop. Spin magazine wrote that "Whispertown 2000 separate themselves from L.A.'s soft-rock heap by virtue of Morgan Nagler's acute lyrics and heartsick vocals." Filter praised the album for its "arch simplicity, angst-free acoustic poetics, home-spun urban sweetness, and melodies that start spinning in the head and never stop."

Whispertown's sophomore release Parallel sticks to Nagler's earth grounded wisdoms while taking a turn toward a new form of lo-fi electronica. Parallel moves easily through rock gems like "Blood From Wine" and "State Of Mind" with lyrical prowess, only to be punctuated perfectly by stark dance tracks such as "Open The Other Eye." The seven-song EP was produced, recorded and mixed by Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes), co-produced by Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova), and was executive produced by David Rawlings.

Whispertown will be performing this year at SXSW and look for Morgan in the indie film "Pleased To Meet Me" staring Aimee Mann, John Doe, Loudon Wainwright and Joe Henry which will be released later this year.

For more info, please visit:


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ANGEL OLSEN ANNOUNCES WEST COAST TOUR IN SUPPORT OF HALF WAY HOME

ANGEL OLSEN ANNOUNCES WEST COAST TOUR IN SUPPORT OF HALF WAY HOME



 
Angel Olsen has a fresh edge to her sound, a warm and wonderful range so rarely found, and an otherworldly skill and charm. Her elegance and special presence radiates on sophomore album, Half Way Home, and equally in a live setting. She captivates, creating an emotional stew, her robust voice up front, bold and engaging, aching to be heard. After a tour of the Northeast last fall and a one-off show in LA to kick off 2013, Angel is heading back out west for an extensive tour in support of Half Way Home. Catch Angel and band live in intimate settings throughout the west coast and experience why she is quickly becoming a favorite of so many. And stay on top of Angel-related news via the brand new angelolsen.com, launched this morning.

ANGEL OLSEN TOUR DATES:
Thu. Feb. 7 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway w/ Water Liars
Fri. Feb. 8 - Chicago, IL @ The Hideout w/ Water Liars
Sat. Feb. 9 - Carbondale, IL @ The Hangar 9 w/ Water Liars
Sat. April 6 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
Sun. April 7 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Crepe Place
Mon. April 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Tue. April 9 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
Wed. April 10 - Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
Fri. April 12 - Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture
Sun. April 14 - Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
Mon. April 15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Tue. April 16 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Thu. April 18 - Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
Fri. April 19 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Sat. April 20 - Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown
Sun. April 21 - Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
Wed. April 24 - Sacramento, CA @ Bows & Arrows
Thu. May 2 - Dublin, IE @ The Joinery
Fri. May 3 - Cork, IE @ Half Moon Theatre
Sat. May 4 - Sun. May 5 - Kilkenny Roots Festival, IE
Mon. May 6 - Belfast, UK @ Black Box
Wed. May 8 - London, UK @ Cinema Museum
Fri. Aug. 30 - Sun. Sep. 1 - Larmer Tree Gardens, UK @ End of the Road Festival

WATCH & LISTEN:
"Sweet Dreams" video - https://vimeo.com/55317322
"Tiniest Seed" video - https://vimeo.com/55315704
"Tiniest Seed" stream - http://snd.sc/P9f3UD
"The Waiting" stream - http://snd.sc/PlRYQa
"Acrobat" video - https://vimeo.com/48485396

"Ms. Olsen understands the power of holding back, and feeding out extravagance in small portions. People stopped buying drinks; the bartenders put their elbows on the counter, engrossed. It was remarkable. . . Ms. Olsen has found her sound - her voice, alone and untreated and slow, conjoined with the specific resonance of her guitar - and she's able to replicate a private discovery in front of a crowd. That's a lot."  
- The New York Times

"Songs on [Half Way Home] had much in common with the passions and range of a singer like Roy Orbison. The common thread between that powerful singer-songwriter and hit-maker from Texas and this more delicate Midwesterner is that they both write from the heart and sing with a range that may make you stop what you're doing and drop your jaw a bit." - NPR Music

"On 'Half Way Home,' she waltzes through 11 gems that highlight a minimalist guitarist with a gentle touch and a voice whose range is as wide as it is controlled." - Los Angeles Times


Angel Olsen online:

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JOHN GRANT SHARES NEW SINGLE "BLACK BELT" VIA STEREOGUM

JOHN GRANT SHARES NEW SINGLE "BLACK BELT" VIA STEREOGUM

NEW ALBUM PALE GREEN GHOSTS DUE MAY 14TH FROM PARTISAN RECORDS

WATCH THE "PALE GREEN GHOSTS" VIDEO NOW
John Grant photographed by Hörður Sveinsson
  

VIDEO: "Pale Green Ghosts" - http://youtu.be/Ux1fglC0aT0
 
Today John Grant announces the US release of Pale Green Ghosts, his second album following his critically acclaimed 2010 debut Queen of Denmark, along with the release of new single "Black Belt". Pale Green Ghosts, set for US release on May 14th by Partisan Records, sees John further expanding his sonic pallet, balancing beautiful singer-songwriter ballads and late night electronica. This balance is most skillfully demonstrated on the album's title track, the video for which is available above for viewing now. Give "Pale Green Ghosts" and new single "Black Belt" a listen while you prepare yourself for Pale Green Ghosts and read on for more album details and information about John Grant.
 
About John Grant:

It's been an extraordinary journey for John Grant, from a point where he thought he would never make music again or escape a life of substance abuse to winning awards and accolades, collaborating with Sinead O'Connor, Rumer and Hercules & Love Affair and having his music featured in the award-winning film Weekend.

It's a journey that's taken him from his birthplace in Buchanan, Michigan to be raised in Parker, Colorado, studying languages in Germany and, after his band The Czars split up, basing himself in New York, London, Berlin and, most recently, Iceland, where the bulk of Pale Green Ghosts was recorded. It's also been a journey from The Czars' folk/country noir to the lush '70s FM alchemy of Queen Of Denmark to the astonishing fusion of sounds that lifts Pale Green Ghosts to even giddier heights.

As if to acknowledge his journey, Grant has named the album after the opening title track, which documents the drives that he'd regularly take through the '80s, from Parker to the nearby metropolis of Denver, to the new wave dance clubs that have inspired the electronic elements of Pale Green Ghosts, and later on to visit the boyfriend - the 'TC' of Queen Of Denmark's 'TC & Honeybear' - that inspired many of that album's heartbreaking scenarios.

"I'd take the I-25, between Denver and Boulder, which was lined with all these Russian olive trees, which are the pale green ghosts of the title: they have this tiny leaves with silver on the back, which glow in the moonlight," Grant explains. "The song is about wanting to get out of a small town, to go out into the world and become someone and made my mark."

That Grant has made his mark is blatantly clear from how Queen Of Denmark was rapturously received. "Like a couple of similarly intense classics before it - Antony & The Johnsons' I Am A Bird Now and Bon Iver's For Emma... Queen Of Denmark sounds like a record its creator has been waiting his whole life to make," MOJO concluded. Another measure of achievement, and the journey, is that one classic that Grant first heard in those new wave clubs was Sinead O'Connor's 'Mandinka'. Two decades later, O'Connor has not only covered the title track "Queen Of Denmark" on her latest album How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, but supplies goose-bumping backing vocals on Pale Green Ghosts.

Sinead's presence is a surprise, but not compared to the album's portion of synthesizers and beats - unless you already know Grant's enduring love of vintage synth-pop and industrial dance, and more current electronic acts such as Trentemøller and Mock & Toof. "Electronica is a huge part of my personality and my influences, though I don't think many people see that fitting in to the John Grant image, whatever that is," he says. There were occasional electronic undertows to Czars songs and two tracks ('That's the Good News' and 'Supernatural Defibrillator"') on the deluxe edition of Queen Of
Denmark were dance tracks.
One of those prime influences has even produced Pale Green Ghosts with Grant: Birgir Þórarinsson, a.k.a. Biggi Veira, of Iceland's electronic pioneers Gus Gus. Queen of Denmark had been recorded in Texas with fellow Bella Union mates Midlake as his backing band, and Grant intended to return there to record again with the band's rhythm section of McKenzie Smith and Paul Alexander. But a trip beforehand to see more of Iceland, after he'd first played the Iceland Airwaves festival in 2011, led to
meeting Biggi, who invited Grant to his studio in Reykjavik. The two tracks the pair recorded - "Pale Green Ghosts" and "Black Belt" - convinced Grant he had to make the entire record there.

If Queen Of Denmark is Grant's 70's album, channeling the spirits of Karen Carpenter and Bread, then Pale Green Ghosts is his 80's album. Of the electronic tracks, the title track is a panoramic, brooding classic, while "Sensitive New Age Guy" and "Black Belt" are the tracks that you might dance to in new wave clubs. "You Don't Have To" is a classic example of Grant's influences blending together, in a reworked arrangement of a track unveiled during concert tours in 2011. It also features the distinct spacey Moog sounds that are familiar to lovers of Queen Of Denmark, while McKenzie and Alexander play on "Vietnam" and 'It Doesn't Matter To Him'. Grant's touring partner, keyboardist Chris Pemberton, plays the gorgeous piano coda on the album's tumultuous finale "Glacier".

Besides Biggi, the album features a range of Icelandic musicians, including saxophonist Óskar Gudjónsson on 'Ernest Borgine', named after the legendary American film/TV actor. On an album of typically caustic revelations and scabrous humour, including sex, sexuality and the pitfalls of growing up in an era, and a particularly religious environment, that ostracised gay men, "Ernest Borgnine" combines all these strands with the admission that Grant is HIV positive.

Grant's frankness also led to being arguably the first person to announce such news in front of a live audience, as he did when appearing with Hercules And Love Affair at London's Meltdown festival in June 2012. HALA mainman Andy Butler had asked Grant to collaborate on a track ("I Tried To Talk To You", as yet unreleased) and requested that he, "dig deep," with his lyric. "It's what I wrote the song about so I thought I should talk about it there and then," Grant explains his public declaration. "I thought I shouldn't be afraid to talk about it, as there are lots of people in my situation, who feel like outcasts in society, people who had addiction problems, who feel ashamed and unlovable because of it. I want these people to know they have someone on a stage who is dealing with this too."

Grant has also never shied away from discussing depression, and Pale Green Ghosts is a show of strength and survival, of moving on with life, on what will continue to be an incredible journey. "Moving to Reykjavik, at the age of 43, was incredibly risky and scary," says Grant. "I didn't know anyone here, but I've built up a life here, and recorded an album I'm really proud of, that distils what I'm about down to its most essential components, better than ever before. And this was during the middle of health issues. It means I'm trying to take the bull by the horns, and to live."

 
JOHN GRANT
PALE GREEN GHOSTS
(PARTISAN)
MAY 14, 2013
  
1. Pale Green Ghosts
2. Black Belt
3. GMF
4. Vietnam
5. It Doesn't Matter To Him
6. Why Don't You Love Me Anymore
7. You Don't Have To
8. Sensitive New Age Guy
9. Ernest Borgnine
10. I Hate This Town
11. Glacier


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