Have a Listen to: José González – “Leaf Off / The Cave”
New Album Vestiges & Claws Out Feb. 17
Due to release Vestiges & Claws, his first solo album in seven years, singer/songwriter José González has premiered a brand new track from the effort titled ”Leaf Off / The Cave.” The new song follows the previously shared track “Every Age,” and was recently played by González live on Sweden’s P3 Guild awards show. Scroll down listen to the song and watch the broadcast performance. Vestiges & Claws comes out Feb. 17 via Mute.
In 1976 the González family, of academic psychologist father, mother, and older sister, then an infant, fled Argentina, after an ultra-conservative military junta seized power in March 1976, the beginning of the “Dirty War“. Jose was born two years later, 1978, in a suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden. He commented, “It’s a very small town. It has about a half-million people living there. It’s a pretty good music city by the ocean. It rains a lot there, but it’s beautiful in the summertime.” González grew up listening to Latin folk and pop music, and has named Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez as a favourite artist. He said the first concert he went to was “The Wailers. I got their autographs and everything. I was about 12 or so. At the time my favourite music was Bob Marley andMichael Jackson.”
The first band he played in was Back Against the Wall, a Gothenburg hardcore punk band influenced by Black Flag, The Misfits and the Dead Kennedys. He later played bass guitar in another hardcore band, Renascence, between 1993–1998. Between 1997 and 1998 José played guitar with rock band Only if You Call Me Jonathan.
In June 2003 González released his debut solo release, a two-track 7″ single. The single was discovered by Joakim Gävert, co-founder of the then fledgling label Imperial Records who then signed González as their first official artist. In October he released his debut album, Veneer, in Europe. The album was subsequently released in the UK on 25 April 2005, and in the United States on 6 September 2005. The album was made while González was studying for a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, which he has not completed due to a lack of time since his musical career has taken off.
González’ trademark sound is solo classical guitar with soft vocal melody. His work, although mostly original, also includes acoustic covers of such hits as “Heartbeats” by his fellow Swedes The Knife, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division, “Born in the U.S.A.” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen, “Hand on Your Heart” by Kylie Minogue, “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack and “Last Snowstorm of the Year” by Low.
His second album, In Our Nature, was released internationally on 22 September 2007. The album’s lyrical content was in part influenced by his reading of books like The God Delusion by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Practical Ethics by ethicist Peter Singer.González is an atheist and a vegetarian.
In 2007 González won an EBBA Award. Every year the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) recognize the success of ten emerging artists or groups who reached audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album in the past year.