Four years after delivering Old Devils, Jon Langford has announced that he is ready to explore another set of creatures with his next LP, Here Be Monsters. In De Goot Recordings will issue the album by the Mekons hero and his backup band Skull Orchard on April 1.
According to a press release, Langford's latest folk-filtered song cycle has him concerned with "alternative hierarchies and astronomy, perpetual war for perpetual profit, the culture of detachment, middle age, fatherhood, fame, and the fleetingness of love."
In a statement, Langford mused, "The subtext of the album is maybe the things our civilization thinks of as fixed and immovable might actually be redundant/obsolete/discredited and it's up to us to question and find new rocks to be washed up on."
The 10-song set was recorded with Langford's old Mekons/Waco Brothers pal/producer Mike Hagler (My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Neko Case, Billy Bragg) at Chicago's Kingsize Sound Labs. While previous releases were primarily conceived on Langford's lonesome, this latest album was apparently put together as more of group thing with his current cast of touring collaborators.
Langford explained further: "Skull Orchard used to be a fairly solitary activity — songs that didn't fit anywhere else — stuff that was too Welsh or personal to bother the Mekons or Wacos with, but something happened with the band I formed to tour with the previous record. It turned into a real group, so this is much more of a band project than any of the solo things I've done before."
The project also apparently demonstrates a synergy between the songs and the album's accompanying artwork. Langford prepped all the art for the release, which includes designs for each track that will be presented as separate inserts for the CD edition of Here Be Monsters and as a collage for the LP. According to the artist, songs were inspired by his paintings — apparently displaying "star maps, strange creatures, [and] sympathetic monsters" — and vice versa.
Further linking visual art to Langford's latest batch of songs, you can check out the snowy outdoor setting that acts as the video clip for rootsy album track "Mars" down below, courtesy of A.V. Club.
Additionally, Langford and Skull Orchard have some U.S. dates on the horizon, and you'll find all the show info here. More dates are expected to be announced soon.
Here Be Monsters:
1. Summer Stars
3. Gone Without Trace
5. Sugar On Your Tongue
6. Drone Operator
7. Don't Believe
8. If You Hear Rumours
9. What Did You Do In The War?
10. Lil' Ray O' Light