John Cale and Weyes Blood Embrace the Surreal and Spiritual on New Song ‘Story of Blood’

John Cale, the ever-inventive Welsh musician and former member of the Velvet Underground, has announced his first new album of all new material in 10 years, Mercy, out Jan. 20, 2023 via Double Six/Domino.

The album announcement is accompanied by a new song, “Story of Blood,” which features vocals from Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering. There’s also a music video, steeped in spiritual and religious imagery, directed by Emmy-winning director Jethro Waters.

In a statement, Cale said he thought of Weyes Blood and Mering’s “puritanical vocals” while making “Story of Blood,” saying, “I thought if I could get her to come and sing with me on the ‘Swing your soul’ section, and a few other harmonies, it would be beautiful. What I got from her was something else! Once I understood the versatility in her voice, it was as if I’d written the song with her in mind all along. Her range and fearless approach to tonality was an unexpected surprise. There’s even a little passage in there where she’s a dead-ringer for Nico.”

Weyes Blood is just one of several notable, more contemporary artists that Cale worked with on Mercy. The album will also feature contributions from Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso, Paul Halo, Ten Shi, Fat White Family, and Actress. 

Along with “Story of Blood,” Mercy will feature the previously-released track, “Night Crawling,” which dropped in August. That song found Cale reflecting on his friendship with David Bowie, and it arrived with an animated video in which the two musicians enjoyed a wild night swinging through New York City bars.  

Mercy is Cale’s first album of new songs since 2012’s Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, though he has released plenty of music since then. In 2016, he shared, M: Fans, which comprised new versions of songs from his 1982 album, New Society, while in 2018 he composed the score for filmmaker Patricia Mazuy’s movie, Paul Sanchez est Revenu! (Paul Sanchez is Back!). And in 2020, Cale released the one-off track, “Lazy Day.”

Mercy Track List
1. “Mercy” (feat. Laurel Halo)
2. “Marilyn Monroe’s Legs (Beauty Elsewhere)” (feat. Actress)
3. “Noise of You”
4. “Story of Blood” (feat. Weyes Blood)
5. “Time Stands Still” (feat. Sylvan Esso)
6. “Moonstruck (Nico’s Song)”
7. “Everlasting Days” (feat. Animal Collective)
8. “Night Crawling”
9. “Not the End of the World”
10. “The Legal Status of Ice” (feat. Fat White Family)
11. “I Know You’re Happy” (feat. Tei Shi)
12. “Out Your Window”