A LIFE DIAGRAMMATIC AVAILABLE VIA BRACE YOURSELF RECORDS
AND PETS CARE RECORDS ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Brace Yourself Records, Pets Care Records and London punks JOHN — comprised of John Newton (drums, lead vocals) and Johnny Healey (guitar, backing vocals) — are excited to announce its new single “Riddley Scott Walker,” the latest track to be lifted from the Friday, September 22 release of the band’s new album, A Life Diagrammatic. Featuring a guest turn from former Bad Seed and Magazine man Barry Adamson, the song draws 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 it’s 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 are 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”.
JOHN have also announced their North American live debut for October, undertaking a near month-long run that will take them through Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York and many more in between. Having developed a reputation as one of the most uncompromisingly powerful propositions on the UK live circuit over the past decade — and one with a fiercely devoted cult following — it marks a thoroughly well-deserved next step for one of the country’s most beloved indie-rock institutions. Tickets for all shows are on sale now HERE, and a full listing of dates can be found below.
The follow-up to 2021’s Nocturnal Manoeuvres, which broke new ground for the band by crashing the top 75of the UK albums chart, the forthcoming A Life Diagrammatic is a record that harnesses the punch and intensity of the band’s blistering live shows with its increasingly textural, cinematic and expressive sensibilities. 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), A Life Diagrammatic continues the band’s subtle evolution in recent years as they continue to redefine and expand the parameters of what a guitar and drums two-piece can be. “We knew the direction we wanted to go in after the last record,” Healey says of 2021’s spatially expansive Nocturnal Manoeuvres. “We had started going a bit more towards soundscapes rather than straight-up noise and four to the floor structure”.
From the opening “Peacehaven,” the album 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 categorization.
The band’s cinematic tendencies nestle up beautifully alongside their instinctive rawness. On “A Submersible,” the track evolves from almost ambient shoegaze, backed by sparse drums and Newton’s low-in-the-mix vocals, and steadily grows into something more animated as Newton grows angrier and his vocals transform into a growl as the song explodes into something engulfing, creating its own distinct narrative arc. Even a track such as “Service Stationed,” a ceaselessly propulsive track with an infectious hook and vocal refrain that results in a three-minute radio-friendly number, possesses an inescapable atmospheric presence amidst all the pummeling guitars, pounding drums and guttural vocals.
It’s this level of thought, ambition and scope that makes JOHN such a captivating and genre-defying band, and A Life Diagrammatic such a rich and evocative listening experience. And the album artwork is perhaps a perfect metaphor for the band itself: a surface level glance may only reveal the basic function of an ostensible two-piece rock band but undertake a full service and you’ll discover a wealth of complexity, technicality, skill and function. Or quite simply, as Healey himself says, “we’re not just a rock band. There’s more to it than that.”
JOHN will be making the following North American appearances during October.
03 — Phoenix, AZ — Linger Longer Lounge
04 — Los Angeles, CA — The Echo
05 — Santa Ana, CA — Constellation Room
07 — San Francisco, CA — Brick and Mortar
10 — Seattle, WA — Sunset Tavern
11 — Portland, OR — Mission Theater
13 — Salt Lake City, UT — The DLC
14 — Denver, CO — Skylark Lounge
17 — St. Louis, MO — Off Broadway
18 — Chicago, IL — Schubas
20 — Toronto, ON — The Baby G
21 — Columbus, OH — The Basement
24 — Philadelphia, PA — Kung Fu Necktie
25 — Washington, DC — DC9
26 — Brooklyn, NY — St. Vitus