New Music: Grey Tickles, Black Pressure by John Grant

This album is six months old right now but is it that kind-off still new? Or not? Well it’s new to me and it’s my new music so here goes then. It was released October 8 2015, is his third solo album. So I’m a bit late to the party I guess but I’m here now. I did get Grey Tickles, Black Pressure with his live album from 2014 with the BBC Philharmonic OrchestraPale Green Ghosts (2013) and Queen of Denmark (2010) so that’s his whole solo discography in one fix.


I got to see John Grant play live at Meredith’s Golden Plains 2016 which a month or two ago now, oh my god he’s such a great performer. It was my biggest discovery of the weekend, I don’t know how I missed this guy before this but seeing him live is an quite an intro. I love it when you find an artist like that. He really didn’t seem to give a fuck, with like some of the greatest but silliest dance moves I’ve ever seen on stage. His simple outfit top any of the young try-hard hipsters at the fest that whole weekend maybe just the fact he’s a middle age man but could have just put his cock out and slap everyone in the face with it, that’s what his attitude was like.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure could or should have been my album of 2015 if I discovered it earlier, I did a post of Year Review: 2015 and named Sun Kil Moon‘s Universal Themes as my chose of last year but this would be pretty close to top that now, I really like it that much. It’s got to be five out of five rating for me so that would make Sun Kil Moon, then I did say the same thing about Ed Kuepper too.

Let’s talk about this album, so the title grey tickles refers to approaching middle age in Icelandic (where he now lives) and black pressure is from the Turkish word for nightmare, well that’s a loose translation. So it could be called middle age nightmare or something but Grey Tickles, Black Pressure off-course much better title. What I can figure out this album did confused some fans a bit over six months ago because it’s much darker, angrier and moodier lyrics and also with heavy electronic music too. Not that it was totally written off or anything, it was pretty much critical acclaim upon its release.


I remember one of my camping neighbors at Golden Plains reading out his little bio or what’s the right word? Well it’s like this: “homophobic abuse, agoraphobia, depression, substance abuse, parental rejection, alcoholism, being HIV positive.” I was imaging what kind-off music he would play after that and it was all mainly was from this album with a few old songs like Greatest Mother Fucker and Queen Of Denmark thrown in here and there.

Opening line is “I did not think I was the one being addressed in hemorrhoid commercials on the TV set” and then in the next track the closing line is “let’s be clear Joan Baez makes G.G. Allen look like Charlene Tilton“. “You and Hitler oughta get together, you oughta to knit and wear matching sweaters” is the chorus of following track which also has Amanda Palmer singing on it. Anyway it’s not all like that but you got to say that’s some pretty great lyrics to quote and that’s only the first three songs. I shouldn’t just quote his lyrics but here a song to listen if you never hear him before, Tracey Thorn also features singing on this one called Disappointing, one of the last tracks on the album. So that’s good way to finish this post too.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure tracklisting and times

1. Intro – 1:36
2. Grey Tickles, Black Pressure – 5:30
3. Snug Slacks – 4:11
4. Guess How I Know – 3:34
5. You & Him – 3:26
6. Down Here – 4:09
7. Voodoo Doll – 3:07
8. Global Warming – 4:04
9. Magma Arrives – 5:02
10. Black Blizzard – 4:48
11. Disappointing – 4:56
12. No More Tangles – 6:09
13. Geraldine – 6:22
14. Outro – 0:30

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