“Just a Fool” arrives with a mesmerizing black-and-white video that matches the slow-burn pace of the tune. Over the distant strum of a guitar and the steady thump of a drum, James croons: “Made another promise that should have never left my lips/ Now I’m wasting away behind the bar of this country cage/ Nowhere else to turn to try to quiet down my rage.” The song continues to build up to a furious guitar solo.
Uniform Distortion marks James’ first solo record of new material since 2016’s Eternally Even. Last year, he released Tribute to 2, a sequel to his 2009 covers EP, Tribute to. Uniform Distortion is available to pre-order digitally, and on CD and vinyl, via James’ website.
The cover of Uniform Distortion features Duane Michals photo, “The Illuminated Man,” which James came across in a copy of the 1971 reference book, The Last Whole Earth Catalogue. James got permission to use the photo after sending Michals a letter, in which he explained how the photo reflected the themes he was grappling with on his new album, such as the overwhelming speed of technology and information overload.
“When I saw it on the page there,” James said of the photo, “it spoke to me so deeply of how my head feels like it is exploding with the amount of information we are forced to consume on a daily basis and how that information is so DISTORTED there is almost no longer any tangible truth. The name of my new record is Uniform Distortion because I feel like there is this blanket distortion on society/media and the way we gather our ‘news’ and important information … and more and more of us are feeling lost and looking for new ways out of this distortion and back to the truth.”