Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pretty & Ridiculous Disco-House: John Grant - "Black Belt" (Pale Green Ghosts)

Just a few short years after the demise of his long-time Alternative Rock band The Czars and soon after his 1970's-inspired debut solo album Queen of Denmark (2010), John Grant decided to move from Colorado all the way to Iceland on a whim. Grant had initially planned to record it's follow-up, Pale Green Ghost, with his buddies from Midlake once again. But while vacationing over in Iceland sometime between 2011-12, John Grant linked up with Electro-producer Biggi Veira (Gus Gus) and the 2 almost immediately recorded "Pale Green Ghosts" and "Black Belt." Bella Union/Partisan Records will co-release Pale Green Ghosts this upcoming May 13-14th world-wide. "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," recounts label Bella Union in it's lengthy featured biography on John Grant.

John Grant & Biggi Veira's inaugural tracks recorded together have coincidentally enough been released as Pale Green Ghosts' 1-2 punch lead-off teaser singles. "Black Belt," which debuted over @ Stereogum back in January and now has a suped-up Dungeonesse Remix, could most likely be categorized as modern Disco-House about a "pretty and ridiculous" chick; Grant manages to weave an intricate, wordy tale centered around a vicious-sounding ex-lover with a "Black Belt in BS." Title track "Pale Green Ghosts" on the other hand, is supposedly about the former addict's struggle(s) living with HIV and references [pale green-colored] Russian olive trees sprouted along the string of I-25 that runs between Denver and Boulder. Friends-musicians McKenzie Smith/Paul Alexander (Midlake), Chris Pemberton, saxophonist Óskar Gudjónsson, and Sinead O'Connor all appear within Pale Green Ghosts in one facet or another.

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