black midi drops new single and announces sophomore album, ‘Cavalcade’

*drum roll*… annnd… the new black midi album cover looks like a Blade Runner cityscape! Congratulations to the lack of cryptic online puzzle winners to be able to collect no prize! 

Following a number of days trying to improve the muscle memory of their fans, incorporating puzzles and auditory hints into their website, black midi have finally announced a follow up to their critically acclaimed debut LP ‘Schlagenheim’. A record that I for one loved so much that I spent a few years practically stalking the group to peculiar gigs, probably annoying the band somewhat, and feeling like Nabokov’s Charles Kinbote in every writeup.

Cavalcade’ is the name of this sophomore LP, set for release on May 28th via Rough Trade records. Recorded in the Dublin mountains with John Spud Murphy (Lankum), this is not one to miss. Frontman Geordie Greep comments: “It worked really well with John. We wanted a natural, open sound combined with fourth wall breaks – for lack of a better expression. Do you know on record when you can hear the tape screeching, the things that make you aware that you’re listening to a recording? [With a lot of records] it feels like either you’re listening to the ECM, high-fidelity, 25 mic amazing sound or you have the lo-fi album full of crazy effects. And I thought, ‘Why not have an album where you combine the two?’ That was one of the main ideas going into it and John was very keen on that idea.” 

At 8 tracks and a neat 42 minutes in length, ‘Cavalcade‘ incorporates multiple progressive genres, building further layers to BM’s already impressive resume. The above is backed by ink stained stories about everything from the cabaret singer Marleine Dietrich, to an ancient corpse found in a diamond mine.  “When you’re listening, you can imagine all the characters form a sort of cavalcade. Each tells their story one by one and as each track ends they overtake you, replaced by the next in line,” comments bassist Cameron Picton on the records title.

One of many interesting things about black midi is the evolution of their songs. ‘John L’ – this records delirious lead single – has gone through multiple facelifts prior to today’s release. The riff first appeared in multiple 2019 live jams, before a rough version was aired on BBC 6 some time later that year. Here in it’s final imago, it sounds like a reincarnated Stravinsky getting into King Crimson. John L’s rhythmic passages and extended melodic ideas – incorporating additional performances from Kaidi Akinnibi on Sax and Seth Evans on Keys – especially portray this. Greep’s dramatic lyrics, showcasing a cult leader being turned against by his followers further that, and pierce the ear canal in arguably Greep’s most confident voicing yet. The track is also to be released on a physical 12 inch record with an exclusive B Side ‘Despair‘, not to be found anywhere on the upcoming LP. A sign of a band not being lazy!

It is to be noted that last week, indie retailers curated a list of 10 songs for black midi to consider for a cover. Beginning today through to March 25th, fans will be allowed to vote for their favourite potential cover on black midi’s website. There will be 5 uniquely curated polls, resulting in 5 unique flexi disc options; one each for US indies, UK indies, Tower Records in Japan, Rough Trade Shops and International. A limited amount of standard album pre-orders will come with the market-specific flexi.

black midi will be performing live at the now refurbished Alexandra Palace Theatre on Nov 11th. Somewhere I can bet will acoustically compliment their skills as musicians well. Tickets will be on pre-sale from 31st March and General Sale from 1st April.

Pre-order Cavalcade

Pre-order “John L”/“Despair” 12”

Cavalcade Tracklist

1. John L

2. Marlene Dietrich

3. Chondromalcia Patella

4. Slow

5. Diamond Stuff

6. Dethroned

7. Hogwash and Balderdash

8. Ascending Forth

Nina McNeely, known for her work on Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer” and Gaspar Noe’s Climax directed John L’s bizarre music video which can be viewed below:

B Side Despair: