A tireless artist and activist whose love of life and Earth has thankfully gone transmedia, from music to film to comics and beyond, Neil Young releases yet another call to action on the heels of Earth and The Monsanto Years.
As lesser artists struggle today for meaning and inspiration, Young continues to find excesses of both in our increasingly turbulent and apocalyptic epoch. An object lesson worth learning:
The ever-prolific Neil Young will release a brand new studio album, entitled Peace Trail, on December 2nd via Reprise Records. The album is available for pre-order through NeilYoung.com and PONOMusic. Those who pre-order will receive an instant download of the title track (and first single). Additional instant downloads will follow for those who pre-order Peace Trail.
Peace Trail features all new songs that Young wrote since the release of his album EARTH, and recorded within a short time span. The album is primarily acoustic and reflects an intimate, sparse approach that draws the listening into the heart of the songs in a personal way. Each song is rich with Young’s typically inviting lyrical expression of his inimitable impassioned and heartfelt life-long humanitarian concerns which remain as topical and timely as ever.
Peace Trail was recorded at Rick Rubin’s Shangri- la Studios and features Young on vocals and guitar, Jim Keltner on drums, and Paul Bushnell on bass. It was produced by Young and John Hanlon, mixed by John Hanlon.
Most recently Young previewed five songs from the album during his performances during the Desert Trip Festival, in Indio, CA. last week which both Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly summed up as simply “explosive.”
Peace Trail will be released in several configurations: as a physical CD, digital download, and cassette. A vinyl edition will follow in January.
Neil Young + Promise of the Real will tour Australia and New Zealand in April, Japan in May, and South America in the summer. For more info, visit www.neilyoung.com.
The track-listing for Peace Trail is as follows:
1. Peace Trail
2. Can’t Stop Workin’
3. Indian Givers
4. Show Me
5. Texas Rangers
6. Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders
7. John Oaks
8. My Pledge
9. Glass Accident
10. My New Robot
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MUSIC THAT MATTERS
Neil Young’s Enviropocalyptic Comic, Greendale
Neil Young’s stirring Greendale started life in 2003 as a crunchy concept album about the enviropocalypse, and quickly became an indie film. The inevitable graphic novel arrives in bookstores Wednesday, viralizing the War on Terra for comics geeks and new adopters.
“Neil gave us a lot of freedom to interpret the story, so I think of our Greendale like a cover song,” artist Cliff Chiang told Wired.com in an e-mail. “[Greendale writer Joshua Dysart] and I wanted to create something that readers unfamiliar with the music could appreciate, but also give fans an alternative look at the album.”
What the comic distinctly offers, as one can see in the exclusive panels above and below, are hazily nightmarish specters of environmental dread and lost innocence. Young’s epic rock opera, recorded with his long-time collaborators in Crazy Horse, conjured dark pictures of a rural community torn apart by oil wars and dumb media. Chiang’s subdued, surreal art delivers an arresting visual dimension to the rock legend’s spiral narrative that’s as whimsical as it is fearsome.
“The CIA did studies on different media and their effectiveness in transmitting propaganda,” Dysart told Wired.com in an e-mail. “And it turned out that comics were cheap to make and distribute and caused a lasting impact in the mind of the reader. We’re a hypervisual animal, and you don’t need anything to receive the message in a comic but functioning eyes.”
The same applies to those comics — like Dysart, Chiang and Young’s Greendale, published by DC Comics’ mature imprint Vertigo — that would employ hypervisuals to critique the new millennium’s mounting ills.
“I would say comics are a perfect vehicle for that,” Dysart said, “if only because we’re egalitarian in our mode of production and consumption. Much of the medium is stuck in a spandex ghetto. But that’s largely due to the limited perception the American consumer has of comics. The truth is we are limited only by our readership, not by our ability as a medium.”