José González announces first album in six years, shares new song, Visions

Jose Gonzalez performs on stage at Scala on March 11, 2015 in London, United Kingdom
(Image credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images)

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar player José González. But now the Swedish musician has announced the release of his fourth solo album and first in six years, Local Valley.

The album is preceded by the release of a new single, the hypnotic acoustic strummer Visions. You can check it out below.

Said González about the new song, “We are the apes that are starting to understand the universe and our place in it,. We are changing our surroundings in an exceedingly rapid pace, so much that we’re becoming stewards of our planet whether we like it or not. As Stewart Brand said, ‘We are as gods and we have to get good at it.’ ”

He continued, “The lyrics came to me in early February 2020 just as there were more and more tweets about the possible pandemic. The topic of the song felt very timely. You can hear the birds and ambient sounds from the veranda, along with a layer of synth loops in the background."

González recorded Local Valley at Studio Koltrast Hakefjorden, which he set up in his family’s summer house north of Gothenburg. The album, he said, “is similar to my other solo albums in sound and spirit, a natural continuation of the styles I’ve been adding through the years both solo and with Junip.

“I set out to write songs in the same vein as my old ones: short, melodic and rhythmical, a mixture of classic folk singer songwriting and songs with influences from Latin America and Africa. It’s more outward looking than my earlier works, but no less personal. On the contrary, I feel more comfortable than ever saying that this album reflects me and my thoughts right now.”

He continued, “Many of these songs have a crystal-clear, secular humanist agenda: anti-dogma, pro-reason. There’s no political agenda, though, at least not in a classical left-right spectrum. Maybe in a globalist-secular vs. theocratic-nationalist way: the focus is on underlying worldviews, and on our existential questions as smart apes on a quest to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos.”

Recently, González released another track from Local Valley, El Invento, which features him singing fully in Spanish.

Local Valley will be available via both black and colored vinyl, CD, and digital platforms on September 17 via Mute Records. Album pre-orders are available now.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.