Mike Adams At His Honest Weight

Guess For Thrills

Catalog #: JNR447    Release Date: 10/20/2023

$ 25.00 USD  

  • Guess For Thrills
  • Guess For Thrills
  • Guess For Thrills

*Physical vinyl colors are each unique due to the nature of the format.
Expect a variation of our mock-up.


Track Listing / Listen
  1. StS
  2. Basement Spacemen
  3. Crystal Crumb
  4. Every Choice the Highest Mountain
  5. Pyramid Schemes
  6. MLM
  7. Golden Rule Breakdown
  8. Stung Tongue
  9. Half Fool
  10. Everything Nonstop
  11. Trigger Trap
  12. Grass-Green Weeds

    A “pop savant of the first order” (AllMusic) who “projects an outsize persona from the stage” (Pitchfork), Mike Adams has created a singular homespun entertainment universe since 2011’s Oscillate Wisely. He’s an appealingly confident showman on his cable access-style variety show (The Mike Adams Show), and an affably humble Hoosier touring musician on his podcast (Tan Van Tour Talk). As Mike Adams at His Honest Weight, he’s a hooky songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a knack for embodying contradictions. The latest in a prolific stream of recordings, Guess for Thrills gets deep, blending 70’s-inspired pop songs with synthesizer-driven atmospherics and emerging with a wild and searching album that treats ambiguity as a place of discovery.

    After 2019’s epic There Is No Feeling Better, recorded with a large group of his musical pals in Bloomington Indiana, Adams returned to writing and recording songs alone at home. He created dozens of new songs in his usual fashion – playing every instrument, harmonizing with himself, and generally having control over each element before sending selected materials to his long-time engineer and creative partner Adam Jessup. The tracks had copious variety. Adams pulls from an enormous set of influences, from Kris Kristofferson to Low, that make his own music “a charismatic thumbnail history of American guitar-pop” (Bandcamp Daily). One set of flashy guitar pop songs became 2022’s Graphic Blandishment (produced by Ben Lumsdaine instead of Jessup). Remaining were a set of instrumental synthesizer experimentations and a handful of mellow singer-songwriter tunes. Somehow, they seemed to fit together as a thesis statement.

    Guess for Thrills sees Adams on a threshold between his early music career when he exercised an admittedly-troubling amount of self-control to maintain a prolific output, and now, entering his 40s as a father of two. In these songs, Adams is interested in staving off a calcified middle age, and instead considering what could happen if he became more tolerant, open to experience, and accepting of his own failings and weaknesses. In “Pyramid Schemes,” Adams reckons with the impulse of people in his own communities to get suckered into the prosperity gospel. Over a bed of sliding guitar and a foreboding chord progression, he’s digging deep for empathy instead of judgment. “I’m not messing around no more / Time to feel good, time to look good, time to be good,” he intimates. On the Super Furry Animals-like “Basement Spacemen”, Adams asks if he’s “the last ape or the first caveman”, backed by an epic flurry of keyboards and pulsing drums. “Half Fool,” sonically dense with an orchestral groove and earnest lyrics that would be at home on Pet Sounds, delves with a lazy sense of danger into the eroticism of storms and surrender to selfish whims.

    Between songs, Adams included keyboard instrumentals inspired by Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, as well as ephemeral audio. There’s the sound of Indiana river clam farmers at work, found on a 1960s public television documentary. The words “loose him, set him free” in “Basement Spacemen” came from a videotape Adams had of an Easter play at his childhood church. “Golden Rule Breakdown” ends abruptly when Adams, vocals still swathed with reverb, gently reprimands his daughter for bothering their pet cat. An avid media collector with a day job at the local public access TV station, Adams wanted to share some of the soundbites and moments that play on repeat in his head and make up his inner landscape. 

    This combination of ephemera, vulnerable songwriting, and sonic homage to his many influences makes Guess for Thrills a new leap for Adams. It’s kicking around somewhere between levity and gravity, sincerity and satire, and retro and contemporary stylings, but with a new level of intimacy and self-realization. 

    - Josephine McRobbie

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