With an eerie new single clocking in at close to eight minutes, John Cale is back, announcing Mercy, his first album of original material in 10 years. “Story of Blood” is slow and eerie, using electronic drumbeats and quivers to maintain a slowly threatening feel. The track never stops moving, and features Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) on accompanying harmonies. Synths create an uneasy atmosphere, and it’s hard to keep the hairs on the back of your neck from standing up. The lyrics work like a cryptic sheet of instructions, as Cale repeatedly asks the listener to “Swing your soul.” It is clear that, from his Velvet Underground days until now, Cale has never stopped seeking out new spaces to explore, experiment with and grow in. And he clearly seeks to teach and learn from younger artists vital to the indie music scene, with the album featuring collaborators such as Animal Collective and Sylvan Esso. “Night Crawling,” a previous single that will also be included on this newest record, and “Story of Blood” both consider the turmoil of a life lived during these past 10 years, and are full of continued learning.
A video directed by Jethro Waters has been released for this latest single, starring Cale and Weyes Blood. The sinister tone of the single is upheld here, with visions of blood-covered hands and silhouettes shifting slowly through silken light. But importantly, it is not without humor, with scenes such as Cale manually making a record scratch adding a playfulness that reminds us of the human behind this music.
Mercy will be out Jan. 20, 2023, on Double Six / Domino. Watch the video for the latest single below, and find a 1994 Cale performance from the Paste archives and the artist’s upcoming tour dates further down.
John Cale Tour Dates:
23 – Edinburgh, UK @ The Queen’s Hall
24 – York, UK @ Barbican
28 – Cardiff, WLS @ Llais Festival *
31 – Whitley Bay, UK @ Playhouse Whitley Bay
03 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham Town Hall
07 – Bexhill on Sea, UK @ De La Warr Pavilion
09 – London, UK @ The London Palladium
10 – Cambridge, UK @ Cambridge Corn Exchange
11 – Liverpool, UK @ Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
(* = John Cale + special guests, 80th Birthday Celebration)