Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Black Holes In My Brain” by Barry Adamson from the 2012 album I Will Set You Free on Central Control International.
The defining element of Barry Adamson’s music and persona might be the fact that it is persistently clear that he is going to do whatever he god damn well pleases, and probably doesn’t give a shit what you think about it. Bald, dark-eyed, and intense, Adamson’s music has taken many twists and turns since he released his first solo EP, The Man With The Golden Arm, in 1988, but whether he is playing grim, desolate, and expansive pieces suited for the cinema (he worked with David Lynch to write a portion of the music for Lost Highway) or funkified lounge jazz topped off by his smoky voice stringing together bits of darkened imagery, his music has always retained a certain rugged independence that is unmistakeably Adamson’s alone.
Adamson got his start in the 70s playing with the Buzzcocks and as a member of Magazine (who just reunited for a tour in 2009), going on to join Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in the 80s. His time with Nick Cave set the tone for much of his solo work, but you could say that Adamson’s own influence is just as readily apparent on the four Bad Seeds’ albums he contributed to (From Here To Eternity, The Firstborn Is Dead, Kicking Against The Pricks, and Your Funeral, My Trial). His solo work in the 90s was haunting, atmospheric, and cinematic, often prominently featuring horns and strings, and many have likened his songs to something that would appear in a James Bond soundtrack (one track from his 1992, Mercury Prize-shortlisted album Soul Murder is even titled “007, a Fantasy Bond Theme”). In recent years, Adamson’s music has drawn more comparisons to that of the Bad Seeds, tending to be dark, lounge-y, and conversational, and no exception is today’s featured song, “Black Holes In My Brain.” Like everything he’s ever done, however, of course, and more than anything, it’s distinctly Barry Adamson.
On Monday, March 5 at 1:00 pm, Barry Adamson will be playing an in-studio session for KEXP that will be broadcast live on 90.3 FM and around the world at KEXP.org. Don’t miss this one! For now, check out his video for “Destination,” from I Will Set You Free: