Calvin Johnson Gallows Wine

K Records
7th April 2023

Format Info

Black Vinyl LP
Monorail exclusive LP including a signed 11" x 17" 'A Pall for all Seasons'.

We’re thrilled to team up with K Records on an exclusive edition of Calvin Johnson’s brilliant new record, Gallows Wine. Every copy is paired with A Pall for All Seasons, a disposable, Gallows Wine-themed pall suitable for year round ceremonial covering of cadaver or sarcophagus. Hand decorated by Calvin Johnson.

Calvin Johnson is a one-off, an American original no messing. He was one-third of the world-beating Olympia-based underground pop group, Beat Happening and has cut so many great sides as part of The Go Team, Dub Narcotic Sound System and Halo Benders – and in more recent times solo. He founded the super-influential K Records which is still based in Olympia and has laid down a marker for the potential of uncompromised independent music making and delivery.

His new album, Gallows Wine, sees him travel to Columbus, Mississippi to record with Hartle Road at their Pompeii studio. Sparks fly up hopefully, vibrantly – this music is made in the studio but ready to travel. It moves easily and with great panache through most of Calvin’s loves – 60s soul, garage punk, outsider pop, the blues. Columbus is the childhood home of Tennessee Williams, Howlin’ Wolf’s birthplace is close at hand. Songs reflecting this singular environment include: Pink Cadillac written by Calvin when he was 16 (held in reserve for just the right session). This one is very Alan Vega adjacent, just great.

It’s so good to have Calvin back – he’s timeless, merged, outwith normal time. Not only does the song he wrote at 16 belong to a record made 40+ years later, other songs sound like they could almost have been part of Beat Happening’s Black Candy. The K press release says this: “Calvin busk, melodica garage worm profane. Rockabilly spin cycle, guitar scrape and crush. Hand jive”.

One-off, American original – no messing.

Stephen / Monorail Music