Calvin Johnson, the founder of K Records and bands like Beat Happening and the Halo Benders, unveiled a smoldering new song featuring Michelle Branch called “Kiss Me Sweetly.” The track will appear on the indie pop stalwart’s upcoming album A Wonderful Beast, which the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney produced and co-wrote. The LP arrives October 12th.
“Kiss Me Sweetly” has a blues edge with a psych-tinged mix of blown-out guitars and synths. Johnson’s distinct baritone drones like a noir narrator – “You know I love your haymaker kisses/ A roundhouse punch like a roadhouse drunk” – while Branch’s croon provides a fitting counterbalance on the chorus.
A Wonderful Beast marks Johnson’s first solo record under his name since 2007’s Calvin Johnson and the Sons of the Soil. In 2016, he released a dance record under his Selector Dub Narcotic moniker, This Party Is Just Getting Started.
Johnson and Carney recorded A Wonderful Beast at Audio Eagle Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Marc Whitmore engineered the record, while Branch contributed vocals to three songs, including “Kiss Me Sweetly.” Johnson is reportedly putting together a backing band for a future tour in support of A Wonderful Beast.
As for Carney, A Wonderful Beast marks the drummer’s latest production credit, having previously worked on albums by artists like Tennis and Tobias Jesso, Jr. Last year, Carney produced Branch’s album, Hopeless Romantic (the two musicians also got engaged last year).
Calvin Johnson A Wonderful Beast Track List
1. “Kiss Me Sweetly”
2. “A Wonderful Beast”
3. “Like You Do”
4. “Wherefore Art Thou”
5. “Are We Ready”
6. “Bubbles, Clouds and Rainbows”
7. “Blues Come Runnin'”
8. “Why You Crying”
9. “Another Teardrop Falls”
10. “When the Weekend Comes Around”
11. “(I’ve Still Got) Sand in My Shoes”