This story has been updated.
Sturgill Simpson released a new song and video called “Sing Along” on Tuesday, August 20th at noon Eastern, 11:00 am Central. It’s the first taste of a new album coming this fall called Sound & Fury that will be accompanied by an anime film of the same name to be released on Netflix. A release date of September 27th for the new album and film accompanied the premier, along with the track list for the record (see below).
The Sound & Fury film is said to consist of individual anime segments set against each song on the companion album. Simpson composed the original story for the film, but the film was written and directed by Jumpei Mizusaki, founder of the animation studio Kamikaze Douga.
“We went in without any preconceived notions and came out with a really sleazy, steamy rock n roll record. It’s definitely my most psychedelic. And also my heaviest,” Sturgill Simpson said of the new album in July, which he self-produced. “I had this idea that it’d be really cool to animate some of these songs, and we ended up with a futuristic, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, samurai film.”
Sturgill Simpson fans should not be caught completely off guard about him working an anime film into his latest music project. Simpson struck an affinity for Japanese culture while serving in the Navy for three years, stationed part of that time in Japan. Simpson’s first major video for his song “Railroad of Sin” off his 2013 solo debut High Top Mountain featured footage from trains and train stations in Tokyo.
Sturgill spoke to Zane Lowe about how the record came together for Apple Beats 1 as part of the premier. Here’s a transcript:
Me and the band went into a studio north of Detroit a couple of years ago for about a week and… Well, let me back up. 2017 the Grammys, I guess, we did the Grammys, and I had like a really severe sinus infection which I thought was allergies, and borderline meningitis, and they had to put all this stuff in me so I could go out and sing that night. It was kind of like one of the worst days in my life. So I got stuck out in LA for about three weeks. I couldn’t fly home until I had this sinus surgery and they scraped all my sinus cavities out. So I got to lay out in California for about a month recovering from that. And they gave me all these Percocet and pain pills and stuff that I was not going to go anywhere near.
So I just had my buddy Gino bring me a bunch of like medical strength edibles, and I laid in the bed for about a week just high as giraffe balls, and listening to all my old favorite records I hadn’t listened to in decades. And I just sort of realized, you know, you can be a commodity and just making the same record over and over just to appease people and hope they show up and give a shit, or you can just be a musician. And so the guys in my band and I, we just in the last couple of years doing the things we love, which is being a bunch of music geeks who grew up on classic rock, and hip hop, and country music, and blues, and everything, and throwing that into a big melting pot. And we realized the only way we’re going to get paid is to go play shows, so we might as well make it fun for us, and we made a record that was very fun for us. And then I can not wait to get out on the stage and play with my brothers.
I was kind of in a weird spot when we made that record. 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. And I was listening to a lot of hip-hop, and Black Sabbath, and The Cars, and old funk records and things. And I think… We were in Detroit while we were making the record, and I was sort of writing it in real time and listening to a lot of Eminem. And I was just like, man, this guy gets to talk mad shit. How come we can’t do that?
So I just sat down and wrote a bunch of mad shit talking songs about how fucking awesome we are. And then we recorded it. And then I said, man, this isn’t weird enough. I should probably go to Japan and like get the five most legendary animation directors in history together and get them all drunk and put them to competition to see who can outdo one another and we’ll just animate the whole fucking album. And then that happens and I got the label to pay for it, and then now they want to put a single out. Even though I made a cohesive concept record and a film, we’re putting a song and a cartoon out as a video, which I didn’t want to make. And now I’m talking to Zane Lowe about it. What’s up dog?
At this point, why does this even need to be explained? You know what I mean? It’s like it’s like it’s 1992. 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.
Sturgill Simpson’s last record, 2016’s A Sailors Guide to Earth won the Grammy for Country Album of the Year, and was nominated for the all genre Album of the Year. Sound & Fury is being released via Elektra Records, and is now available for pre-order.
Sound & Fury Track List:
1. Ronin (Album Version)
2. Remember to Breathe (Album Version)
3. Sing Along (Album Version)
4. A Good Look (Explicit Album Version)
5. Make Art Not Friends (Album Version)
6. Best Clockmaker on Mars (Album Version)
7. All Said and Done (Album Version)
8. Last Man Standing (Explicit Album Version)
9. Mercury in Retrograde (Album Version)
10. Fastest Horse in Town (Album Version)