Single Review

Mickelson – Jump Off The Earth: Single Review

San Franciscan boundary-pusher Mickelson returns with a new single to launch his summer tour of the UK and Ireland.

Release Date:  16th June 2023

Label: Self Release

Formats: Digital (Bandcamp)

San Franciscan singer/ songwriter/ artist/ producer and fearless boundary-pusher, Mickelson, is becoming an ever increasing presence within the pages of At The Barrier.  And, be in no doubt, that’s a GOOD thing.  A very good thing indeed.  We loved his 2022 album, Known To Be Unknown, and his January 2023 single, Only Grey Matter Boiling In My Head – a collaboration with XTC bassist Colin Moulding – still ranks as a highlight of what is turning out to be a very musically fruitful year.  And now, he’s back again, with a new single, Jump Off The Earth that also acts as a precursor to Mickelson’s summer tour of the UK and Ireland.

Our regular readers will know all about Mickelson.  Scott Mickelson – as he’s still sometimes known – made his name in and around San Francisco’s Bay Area before going on to build a substantial following across Europe.  He’s got nine albums of original material to his name, plus a string of singles and EPs; his music is highly original, incorporating strains of Americana and folk and mixing them with punky attitude, avant-garde adventurism and a good dose of self-depreciating wit.

(Photo: Jayms Ramirez)

Jump Off The Earth was conceived and demoed at Mickelson’s own studio in San Francisco before being brought fully to life at Earthworm Studios in Swindon, UK, with help from studio owner Jon Buckett who plays keyboards and regular drummer Lee Moulding – son of Colin. 

The song is a significant departure from the earthier material with which regular Mickelson listeners will be familiar.  The jangly guitars are gone, replaced by an altogether dreamier sound; indeed, this time around, the backing is a fascinating mix of banjo, thrashing guitars, throbbing bass and, perhaps most unexpectedly, spacy synths.  Mickelson adds a dramatic vocal and the overall impact is not dissimilar to the kind of things that Bowie was playing with during his Low period.  And the song’s lyrics, with lines like: “Every minute is a minute gone/ No time to plan ahead/ I can’t tell you if I’m right or wrong, I don’t want to leave you/ I just need to jump off the Earth” are as cryptically dystopian as anything that has ever flowed from Nickelson’s gushing pen…

In fact, the song’s message is a commentary on the passage of time, a recognition of mortality and an encouragement to seize the moment, whilst it’s still ours to take.  As Mickelson explains: “I feel grateful for the life I’ve led as an artist, but I’m also aware that the time left to continue is becoming more precious.  I’ve gotten to the point where I will not let anyone or anything slow me down or interfere with the momentum I’ve built.  In ‘Jump Off The Earth’ I’m saying there’s no time to waste.  We need to get rid of the negative things that hold us back and move beyond them.  Or at least try – ha!”

Mickelson’s summer 2023 tour of the UK and Ireland kicks off at The Hop Inn in Swindon on 24th June and runs until 8th July when he plays his final date at The Golden Lion in Bristol.  The full tour itinerary is as follows:

24th June         The Hop Inn, Swindon
25th June         Schtumm, The Queen’s Head, Box, Wilts
28th June         Café Rene, Gloucester
29th June         The Harrison Pub & Hotel, King’s Cross, London
30th June         The Winchester Gate, Salisbury
1st July            Minety Music Festival, Minety, Wilts
2nd July            Three Horseshoes, Bradford-upon-Avon
7th July            Workingman’s Club, Dublin
8th July            The Golden Lion, Bristol

Tickets for all shows can be purchased here.

And – Mickelson watchers will be interested to learn that a new album is also in the pipeline.  Watch this space…

Listen again to Mickelson’s January 2023 single – Only Grey Matter Boiling in My Head – here:

Mickelson online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / YouTube

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