February 7, 2024 | Posted in: Jon Mckiel 0

Jon Mckiel returns with a highly anticipated new album, the long-awaited follow-up to his underground classic Bobby Joe Hope!

The songs of Jon McKiel are born of the bruised marshlands of remote New Brunswick, from the craggy shores of the Atlantic coast; places where nature is a powerful wonder and the made-world is in slow decay. His new album, Hex, is a bloodshot pop record steeped in our dystopian present, tempered, across its ten tracks, by an existential umami. It’s the follow-up to 2020’s cult favorite Bobby Joe Hope, which Aquarium Drunkard called “an unlikely masterpiece” and Gorilla vs. Bear listed as one of their favorites of that god-forsaken year.

After two solid decades of refining his practice, during the creation process for Bobby Joe Hope, McKiel unlocked new sampling techniques, fundamentally changing the way he makes music. Hex sees that practice extended into even more evocative terrain. Performed and produced again in close collaboration with JOYFULTALK’s Jay Crocker, the duo offer up another collection of songs as disquieting as they are comforting. Expertly evoked by Paul Henderson’s twisted collage on the cover, Hex is equal parts flower field and burning building.

The music moves subtly between moods, carrying themes of fate, doom, family, love and distrust in the digital age. The eponymous lead track is an eerie, subterranean banger whose looped percussion and dirt-nasty bassline bring to mind low fi hip hop flipping early 70s Gene Clark. Elsewhere, on ‘Memory Screen Pt 1’, McKiel’s nostalgia-drenched vocals bring to mind more sounds of the 1970s that appear sonically wider than the largely mono “Bobby Jo Hope”. Then there are moments like ‘Under Burden’, whose skittering drum machine and saccharine synths suggest the cult works of that other Bobby Brown. The album also features McKiel’s first cover committed to tape, a haunting version of a tune called ‘Concrete Sea’, as sung by Terry Jacks (of ‘Seasons In The Sun’ and Poppy Family fame). An earlier version of the cover first cropped up on Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions wherein Mckiel contextualized the selection: “This is actually a song from my childhood. Jacks was at the forefront of ’60s and ’70s-era musicians who were using their platforms to speak out or sing about environmental issues, eventually leaving music entirely to pursue a more peaceful and natural way of life, something that I deeply relate to. The chorus hook has been in my head for about 25 years…”

Regardless of mood, the songs are all adorned with the world-weary poetics heads have come to expect from McKiel. In his music, what might otherwise be construed as paranoia or pessimism, is softened by a genuine sense of longing and tenderness. His lyrics combine natural elements with bits of fantasy and lucid dreamscapes, all tangled with the transmuted horrors of our thoroughly modern present. When McKiel sings of “memories cooked down into usernames” or how “the color of time has gone from green to grey”, the listener is carried to the heart of our grim realities. When he suggests that “one song could kill the king”, we’re reminded that there may just be some dusty magic out there worth believing in.



Still Life
The Fix
Under Burden
Memory Screen pt. 1
Lady’s Mantle
Concrete Sea
Memory Screen pt. 2

All songs © Jon Mckiel 2024 except Concrete Sea by Terry Jacks
Recorded and Produced by Jon Mckiel and Jay Crocker
Mastered by Harris Newman
Performed by Jon Mckiel and Jay Crocker
with Nicola Miller on saxophone on HEX

Artwork and design by Paul Henderson – The Centaur, paper collage, 16 x 20 cm, 2023

Jon Mckiel: “Deeper Shade” acoustic, tour dates!

Jon Mckiel: “Deeper Shade” acoustic, tour dates!

August 9, 2023 | Posted in: Jon Mckiel 0

YCTV presents a special acoustic performance by Jon Mckiel! Jon performs “Deeper Shade” from his absolutely magical 2020 album Bobby Joe Hope live at his home in Baie Verte, NB. Camera and sound by Colin Medley.

Catch Jon Mckiel performing as a duo with Jay Crocker (JOYFULTALK) live at the following international engagements:

Aug 11 – Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Aug 31 – The Cavendish Arms, London, UK
Sept 1 – End Of The Road, Dorset, UK
Sept 5 – Off61, Montecarotto, Italy
Sept 8 – La Serre dei Giardini Margherita, Bologna, Italy
Sept 9 – Mazzini 66, Ravenna, Italy
Sept 10 – Baravai Antieatro Romano, Terni, Italy



July 7, 2021 | Posted in: Blog, Jon Mckiel 0

Music manifesting on the light spectrum! You can hear with your eyes!

Jon Mckiel and director Andrea Thorne debut an “[official video]” for “Morning Dove” from the Bobby Joe Hope LP.

the unsponsored sun / where the carnival was / sisters grimm swimming in glitches / a kaleidoscope collapses / one trick mirror / trees and things and flowers

New Release: Jon Mckiel – Bobby Joe Hope

New Release: Jon Mckiel – Bobby Joe Hope

April 24, 2020 | Posted in: Jon Mckiel 0

How do you speak through a stranger? Contain multitudes. And begin to find new kinds of design in accident. True story. In September 2015 Jon bought an old Teac A-2340, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, tapes included. He exchanged a few emails with the online seller while negotiating a deal, but they never met. The first time Jon tested out the machine at home it disclosed a beautiful dream. A single tape of astounding samples from an unknown source. He nicknamed it the Royal Sampler. They began to jam together.

I want to hear you speak. The tape might have been a lost demo for the games of hide and seek that accustom us to evasion. Listening and gathering, the only way out was through. A collaboration constructed in echo. The completed songs seem to start mid-sentence, waiting a little further along the trail. Watch your step the ground gets uncertain by the bend. The maple trees in giggling fits. The shoreline no longer sure. I hear the mourning dove. Hang on a second. You were saying. Sometimes what’s past isn’t prologue it’s blocked. How you have to pause for your mind to work backwards. Not to remember but to unforget. What if something’s missing and you get stranded in “the futureless future”? Distend time? The not-so-distant waves wrinkling. An answer. 1968 isn’t just some numbers. Scraps of an otherwise. Maybe written in another language or maybe…Is that what you meant?

The album was recorded during the summer of 2019 at Jay Crocker’s home studio in Crousetown. Under the watchful eye of Edward Snowden and a Blue Heeler named Judy. Jay and Jon transferred all the material they could excavate from the Royal Sampler along with the dialogic samples Jon had been making since that fateful September introduction. They combined these two samples with the following design principle: even in the songs organized around a Jon sample, the stranger would be woven in. A shared sonic architecture. The rest belongs a mystery.

Tell me what you see. A game of hide and seek. A field wears the fog like an ancient argument. Wayward voices take shape just up ahead. Count down from 10 and be alone again. Abandoned to potential. In the green wide open. The colour of another time. The hammock gets twisted in the wind. Knotting and undoing. A fishnet. Let loose or captured, a life repeated, a life revised. Nothing is effortless. From another era insisting, there all along. I was there all along. These sounds, like truth, can be measured in time. Speak through me. Who can tell you what is real?

Music Video: Jon Mckiel – ‘Unknown Source’

Music Video: Jon Mckiel – ‘Unknown Source’

March 28, 2017 | Posted in: Jon Mckiel, YCTV 0

Moving and still footage from locations at the Bay of Fundy near Sackville, New Brunswick. A collage of warm VHS textures intertwined with the sonic and lyrical narratives present in the music.

Shot by Andrea Thorne, fall 2016.

Here’s a bonus video for the same song, lovingly edited together by Paul Henderson:

“Unknown Source” appears on the album Memorial Ten Count, released March 10, 2017 from You’ve Changed Records and Headless Owl Records.

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