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HI-RES20,49 Fr.
CD14,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 25. Juni 2021 | Bella Union

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John Grant's music has grown increasingly ambitious and contemplative since Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, and Boy from Michigan is no exception. Reflecting on his early years growing up in the Mitten State and then in Colorado, he examines the complexities of family, memories, and the United States in songs that combine lyrics with a memoirist's eye for detail and music that echoes the tension between past and present with classic '70s singer/songwriter sounds and abstract electronics. Working with Cate Le Bon, Grant uses the softer side of his previous album, Love Is Magic, as the starting point for Boy from Michigan's dreamy sounds and harsh truths. On the eerily poignant title track, images of merry-go-rounds and apple trees give way to throbbing, John Carpenter-esque synths as Grant reveals the album's credo: "The American dream is not for weak, soft-hearted fools." Later, the clarinet on "The Cruise Room" morphs from cheesy to romantic to match the "pink Art Deco glow" of a hotel bar on Grant's last night in Denver. More-personal songs such as these and "Just So You Know"'s smoky redeclaration of love are among the album's best, especially when Grant takes on the good and bad memories of childhood. For every luminous recollection like "County Fair," there's "The Rusty Bull," a menacing flashback to Grant's youth that still haunts him, or "Dandy Star," where his early feelings of being an outsider -- and a viewing of the Mia Farrow horror movie See No Evil -- make him yearn for an escape from his everyday nightmares. Though Boy from Michigan is some of his most writerly work, this doesn't detract from the emotional heft of songs such as "Mike and Julie," a touching if blunt remembrance of his complicated relationship with two of his closest teenage friends. And while Grant still excels at bringing listeners into his soundworlds, sometimes Boy from Michigan tips over the line between expansive and indulgent. "The Only Baby," a spacey yet scathing manifesto against American imperialism, capitalism, and prejudice from the nation's founding all the way up to Trump, loses some of its impact as it stretches out to nearly ten minutes. Similarly, Grant's balance of soul-baring and trademark wit feels somewhat off-kilter this time, and the shift in tone from the album's confessions to "Your Portfolio"'s fiscal and sexual innuendos and the sapiosexual new wave of "Rhetorical Figure" is more than a little jarring. Despite its occasional uneven moments, Boy from Michigan is a frequently brilliant album from a gifted stylist and songwriter who never stops challenging himself or his audience. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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CD11,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 11. März 2013 | Bella Union

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CD12,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 19. April 2010 | Bella Union

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HI-RES17,49 Fr.
CD12,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 2. Oktober 2015 | Bella Union

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John Grant's solo career reveals that he's more of a shapeshifter than might have been predicted from his tenure with the Czars. On Queen of Denmark and especially Pale Green Ghosts, he coupled his always incisive, insightful songwriting with increasingly adventurous sounds. The artier he gets, the more clearly he distills his emotions, and Grey Tickles, Black Pressure is some of his angriest, saddest and funniest music yet. It's also his most diverse, building on Pale Green Ghosts' electronics with blobby synths and taut funk and new wave underpinnings. Combining the Icelandic term for "midlife crisis" with the Turkish phrase for "nightmare," the album's title and cover telegraph Grant's headspace: caught between existential humor and terror, youth's lingering ambitions and the disappointments of age, he uses his crisis as an opportunity to pair lavish sounds with razor-sharp lyrics that tear them down. Grant bookends the album with recitations of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ("Love is patient, love is kind...") and explodes any truisms about relationships in between. There's a fine line between come-ons and kiss-offs in his world, and lust rots into anger on the Talking Heads-esque "Snug Slacks" and the seething "You & Him," which boasts one of the album's most brilliant couplets: "You and Hitler ought to get together/You ought to learn how to knit and wear matching sweaters." However, Grant aims some of Grey Tickles, Black Pressure's sharpest barbs at himself. He steeps the title track in hyper-aware self-loathing and characterizes addiction as a supervillain who fills "our hero's veins with shame" on "Magma Arrives," an allusion to one of Spider-Man's lesser-known foes that is among scores of obscure and common pop culture references packed into the album. These touchstones only underscore how unique Grant's perspective is, even on Grey Tickles' cheerier moments. "Disappointing," an inspired synth pop duet between Grant and Tracey Thorn, paints the best things in life -- which include Central Park on an autumn day and the women of Saturday Night Live -- as letdowns compared to that special someone; on the funky "Voodoo Doll," he uses the object to make a friend feel better instead of worse, going so far as to give it some chicken soup. Grant ends the album on a surprisingly uplifting note with "No More Tangles," which, despite its shampoo-inspired title and increasingly lavish arrangement, never loses its emotional impact. At nearly an hour long, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure is a dense, rewarding listen from an artist who's becoming more complex, and more direct, with each album. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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CD12,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 12. Oktober 2018 | Bella Union

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CD12,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 1. Dezember 2014 | Bella Union

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CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 24. März 2021 | Bella Union

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CD4,99 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 27. Juli 2015 | Bella Union

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CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 15. Januar 2021 | Bella Union

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CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 22. April 2021 | Bella Union

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CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 17. Mai 2021 | Bella Union

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CD6,99 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 14. Juni 2019 | Bella Union

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HI-RES6,99 Fr.
CD4,99 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 1. Januar 2013 | Bella Union

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CD4,99 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 10. Juni 2016 | Bella Union

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CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 12. Oktober 2018 | Bella Union

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CD2,99 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 28. August 2018 | Bella Union

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HI-RES1,99 Fr.
CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 19. Februar 2019 | Bella Union

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HI-RES1,99 Fr.
CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 27. August 2021 | Bella Union

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CD23,99 Fr.

Kinder - Erschienen am 2. August 2016 | Dreamscape Media

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CD1,49 Fr.

Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 3. Oktober 2018 | Bella Union