Speculation about what Sturgill Simpson meant when he called his next album Sound & Fury (out September 27) "a really sleazy, steamy rock n roll record" got quenched, for the time being at least, with the unveiling today (Aug. 20) of new song "Sing Along" and its music video.
"Sing Along" gives in to Simpson and his band's riff-heavy tendencies while playing off musical interests beyond Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard's back catalogs. In a recent interview on Zane Lowe's World Record on Apple Beats 1, Simpson cited hip-hop, Black Sabbath, The Cars and old funk records as influences on an album that doubles as the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic anime movie. The album arrives Sept. 27 on Elektra Records, the same day Netflix premieres its accompanying film.
It's too soon to judge the film based on less than three minutes of footage and vague takes on its plot, although the "Sing Along" snippet's dark imagery and its accompanying song's rebellious bent may remind Simpson's fellow classic rock aficionados of the 1981 film Heavy Metal.
Simpson went on to tell Lowe why the dystopian world of Sound & Fury might represent the real-life ugliness of the music industry. " I was kind of in a weird spot when we made that record," Simpson said. "I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this anymore because a lot of the business sides of things, and like some heartbreak and betrayal, and just learning things that you already know. Remind yourself that, you know-It is a dirty toxic industry. And I wanted to express a lot of that."
In the same interview, Simpson lamented his label's decision to select a single and use a film excerpt as a music video instead of allowing the album and the film by Batman Ninja creators Jumpei Mizsaki and Takashi Okazaki to debut as a self-contained, multi-media entity.
"It's like it's 1992," Simpson says. "You know, back when they made records that had two singles and 10 filler songs. I just can't understand. From my perspective, as a music fan, the traditional setup and release is just so antiquated. People don't want to have their balls tickled anymore. Just give them the record. That's all they want. They don't want six weeks of lead up. They should come out and say like, 'Hey, new record coming this week,' and then just drop the record and give it to them."
'Sound and Fury' Track List:
2. "Remember To Breathe"
3. "Sing Along"
4. A Good Look
5. "Make Art Not Friends"
6. "Best Clockmaker On Mars"
7. "All Said And Done"
8. "Last Man Standing"
9. "Mercury In Retrograde"
10. "Fastest Horse In Town"