• Date: Sat 24th February 2024
  • Doors Open: 7:00 pm
  • Supported By: Emily Breeze
  • On Sale: Tickets Open

Today, cryptically-named duo JOHN – comprised of John Newton (drums, lead vocals) and Johnny Healey (guitar, backing vocals) – return with the latest single from their incoming fourth album, A Life Diagrammatic. The follow-up to 2021’s Nocturnal Manoeuvres LP, which broke new ground for the band by crashing the top 75 of the UK album chart, arrives Sept 22nd via Brace Yourself and Pets Care Records.

Seeing the light of day today is the pulsating ‘Riddley Scott Walker’ which features a guest turn from former Bad Seed and Magazine man Barry Adamson. Drawing its title from the Russell Hoban novel Riddley Walker, which imagines a post-nuclear war future in which society has regressed and history has been obliterated to such an extent its open to widespread misinterpretation, it’s a fitting marker for an album rooted in industrial fallout and how technology and tradition can have equally hazardous impacts on our future.

“We currently rehearse next to the ramshackle of an industrial port on the south coast, and we’ve always drawn inspiration from the sites and sounds of this industrial fallout,” explains Newton. “There’s very deliberate signposts of this throughout the album, whether that be the field recordings of a demolition sequenced into a mesmerising rhythm or the inconsistency of a signal-bound phone conversation.”
“Having identified that visual references as just as important as audible ones, we really wanted to continue driving the cinematic leanings of our music. This is something that has steadily grown throughout our back catalogue and was a key reason why we felt it relevant to collaborate with other cinematically-inclined individuals such as Simon Pegg and Barry Adamson.”

The collaboration came about after Adamson chose Nocturnal Manoeuvres as one of his favourite releases of 2021 in a list for Brooklyn Vegan which led to the band approaching him to guest on the track. “His album Moss Side Story is self-described as the score to an imaginary film, and this is often how we feel about the music that we both enjoy,” says Newton. “It’s great to have someone who understands a similarly cinematic approach to music, having also created music for David Lynch’s Lost Highway.”

Listen to ‘Riddley Scott Walker’ here: https://youtu.be/Ad2Np-bmiE0

Alongside the single, the band also announce a fresh batch of 2024 tour dates today, following on from their upcoming September tour of UK record shops, their debut North American live shows in October, select regional UK dates in November and December, and their Nov 11th appearance at London’s Pitchfork Festival sharing a bill with likeminded peers Fucked Up and OFF!. Today, they announce further dates including Feb 16th at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, Feb 23rd at Brighton’s Concorde 2 and a London headline show at Scala on Feb 29th. Please find a full touring itinerary further below.

Singles from the album so far include ‘Trauma Mosaic’, ‘Service Stationed’ and ‘The Common Cold’. Between them, they’ve received plaudits across the UK, Europe and North America from folks including Stereogum, Loud and Quiet, Dork, The New Cue, Upset, Guitar World, Visions, Brooklyn Vegan, Vanyaland and more, as well as support across KEXP, BBC 6Music and Radio 1.

More about A Life Diagrammatic:

A Life Diagrammatic was recorded by Tom Hill at The Bookhouse in South London, mixed by Seth Manchester (METZ, Big Brave, Battles) and mastered by Frank Arkwright (Arab Strap, Squarepusher, Autechre) with the aim of merging the powerful live presence of the band whilst also honing in on some of the more varied dynamics at play. “We wanted to further explore the space and ambience of our instrumentation,” says Newton. “To offer an album that deliberately pushes and pulls in a multitude of directions throughout its duration.”

And the resulting album does just that. From the opening ‘At Peacehaven’, it locks into a groove that marries taut and explosive rhythms with an immersive textural approach that owes as much to eruptions of noise as it does moments of restraint. This sense of balance, contrast and duality is fundamentally at the heart of JOHN. They are an outfit who on the surface are stripped back to a bare bones essence, a format perhaps lazily synonymous with just primitive rock, yet their work is richly layered and multifaceted – resulting in something that eschews and evades easy genre categorisation.

This is crystalised in the band’s name too. It may appear to be a simple play on the pair’s name but search harder for deeper meaning and you’ll be rewarded with something that contains not only artistic thought but also a mission statement that has been integral to the band’s creative process over the last decade. “It’s a statement against colouring the music with superfluous attachments,” explains Newton. “It says: ‘we’re not going to be sensational’. It doesn’t mean to say it’s not intensely theatrical but I think there’s enough theatre in the actual energy that’s on the stage.”

This approach is perfectly embodied by the guests who appear on the album. Often familiarly placed front and centre, actor Simon Pegg, who appears here on ‘Media Res’, is almost buried under a grainy, scratchy monologue-led track. It’s a piece that is influenced by Brecht-ian theatrical methods “aimed to strip away needless aesthetics and to encourage the audience to take an active spectatorship in the theatre”. The same can be said of Barry Adamson’s appearance on ‘Riddley Scott Walker’. For JOHN, it was what Adamson represented that was key to his inclusion rather than simply a name.

The album follows on from the band’s recent ‘Theme New Bond Junior’ b/w ‘Hopper on the Dial’ single which reached #1 on the UK vinyl singles chart earlier this year as well as seeing ‘Theme New Bond Junior’ playlisted at BBC 6Music and KEXP. JOHN’s last album proper was 2021’s widely acclaimed Nocturnal Manoeuvres which had multiple singles reach the A-list at BBC 6Music and garnered praise at press from titles including The Guardian, NPR, DIY, The Observer, Loud and Quiet, The New Cue, Upset Magazine and many more.

For more on JOHN, head to: https://www.johntheband.co.uk/

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