John Grant has shared his new track, “Billy,” the final coda from his upcoming album Boy From Michigan (out June 25th via Partisan/Bella Union).
In the song, Grant decries the all too prevalent culture of hyper-machismo, one which fashions us all for failure. He explains, “Billy is a song about how many men destroy themselves trying to live up to stereotypes of masculinity and how this manifests in countless ways.” “Billy” is accompanied by a part-animated video directed by regular collaborators Casey and Ewan, featuring the eponymous Billy and shot in both Reykjavik (John) and Denver (Billy).
Somewhere over the last decade, Grant established himself as one of the great musical chroniclers of the American Dream, angled mostly from its flipside. Boy from Michigan was produced by longtime friend Cate Le Bon and is his most autobiographical and melodic work to date. Grant stopped being a boy in Michigan aged twelve, when his family moved to Denver, shifting rust to the bible belt, a further vantage point to watch collective dreams unravel.
Across 12 tracks, Grant lays out his past for careful cross-examination. In a decade of making records by himself, he has playfully experimented with mood, texture, and sound, all the better for actualizing the seriousness of his thoughts. At one end of his musical rainbow, he is the battle-scarred piano-man; at the other, a robust electronic auteur. ‘Boy from Michigan’ seamlessly marries both. Grant has previously shared other album highlights, “The Only Baby,” “Boy From Michigan,” and “Rhetorical Figure.”
Grant hopes to tour extensively behind Boy from Michigan. More information on upcoming dates coming soon.
Though he has lived in Iceland since 2011 – the same year he was also diagnosed HIV-positive – Grant spent his childhood and formative years in the US and maintains US citizenship. Growing up, Grant was subjected to a deeply ingrained hatred of anyone perceived as gay at school. Following the demise of his first band, The Czars, Grant left music entirely for over five years, only to achieve greater success as a solo artist (his acclaimed 2015 solo LP ‘Grey Tickles, Black Pressure’ went Top Five in the UK).
Grant has sold out Royal Albert Hall, performed at Glastonbury, Latitude + more, and his song “Snug Slacks” was featured on Pitchfork’s ‘Songs That Define LGBTQ Pride.’ BBC Radio 6 host Mary Anne Hobbs described Grant’s music: “Most songwriting, even if it’s based on a true story … is embellished in some way. But John’s lyrics — they’re so true they might as well be written in blood.”
Boy From Michigan Tracklist
1. Boy from Michigan
2. County Fair3. The Rusty Bull
4. The Cruise Room
5. Mike and Julie
6. Best In Me
7. Rhetorical Figure8. Just So You Know
9. Dandy Star
10. Your Portfolio
11. The Only Baby