Stream: The Black Watch, ‘Way Strange World’

John Andrew Fredrick of The Black Watch (Photo by Brendan Holmes)
John Andrew Fredrick of The Black Watch (Photo by Brendan Holmes)

“Everything is entropy in the end,” John Andrew Fredrick declares in “Way Strange World,” the new song from the 15th album (that’s right, 15) by the Black Watch. Well, everything except maybe Fredrick, the relentless indie-rock campaigner whose longevity and propensity for making dissonance sound erudite have made the Black Watch impossible to ignore. [Here, we recommend “The Black Watch: the quixotic adventures of John Andrew Fredrick,” our 2015 sit-down with him.]

Ostensibly, Fredrick — songwriter, author, English professor — should be an armchair misanthrope by now, having toiled without proper notice for 30 years, or he should have at least made good on his repeated promises to fade to black. But he hasn’t, and on April 21 TBW’s cult following will have “The Gospel According to John” as a reward. The follow-up to 2015’s “Highs & Lows,” the new album’s material apparently materialized out of the haze of L.A. traffic jams during his commute from Echo Park to Cal Lutheran University, where he lectures. Or so the story goes. However it was conceived, “Gospel” makes for another chapter in the good book of clamorous guitar rock. Produced by Rob Campanella of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Gospel” finds Fredrick allying with guitar hero Andy Creighton of the World Record. “We’ve had a history of really great guitarists in the group,” Fredrick says. “Andy did an immense job. The new songs are so dance-y.”

And, as always, shoegazey. Beautiful.

||| Stream: “Way Strange World” and “Whence”