John Grant’s Snug Slacks

John Grant's new album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, comes out Oct. 9.

It was a pleasant surprise when I scanned through the new album releases last week to find a brand new one from John Grant. 2013’s Pale Green Ghosts became a favorite of mine soon after seeing John perform “GMF” and “Black Belt” on Jools Holland. Melodic, electronic, and orchestral pop/rock with an edge. I was taken in..

So in listening to his new release, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, John delivers another album full of his unique twists and turns, electro-sounds, and, shall we say, wholly unique lyrics. Have you ever heard anything near the line:

“And let’s be clear, Joan Baez makes GG Allin look like Charlene Tilton.”   ?

Many of you may be familiar with all three personalities listed off in that lyric. But I couldn’t place GG Allin. 40’s movie star? Uhh. No. Not even close. And let me just warn you. If you also don’t know who GG Allin is, think twice before Googling him. And for God’s sake – don’t enter a GG Allin Youtube rabbit hole. You will be sick to your stomach (I was). I’ll say no more.

The line comes from “Snug Slacks”, which veers into Zappa-esque territory with a cool electrofunk twist. Another favorite is “Black Blizzard,” which confirms John’s appreciation for Gary Numan with those synth riffs.

I’m only a few listens in to this record, but suffice it to say it’s a fun, fresh trip worthy of many spins.. Do check it out.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure (Amazon)

John’s got some select US dates starting up in a couple of days…

jgtour

“JM” by Strand of Oaks

“JM” by Strand of Oaks was written for the late Jason Molina, whom Timothy Showalter – the lifeblood behind Oaks – cites as his biggest influence. I know next to nothing of Molina, and granted, that’s probably a musical fault of mine. But man, does “JM” hit just the right chords with me. The obvious parallel for me, and probably many others, is Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” and Neil’s other tunes featuring those signature Crazy Horse extended and power drenched guitar solos.

If anyone has recommendations on where to start with Molina, let me know.

“JM” comes from Heal, the latest album by Strand of Oaks. It’s one of those albums you can spin multiple times, listen after listen , and find something new every time. Be sure to check it out.