is the new project from China-based William Gray, (AKA Jump For Neon), a prolific songwriter, and founding member of The Smokestacks, who broke up in 2008 after national tours, BBC live sessions, radio airplay, 2 single releases, major label interest, but no official album release.
Gray decided to go the independent route and in May 2009 released his first solo outing None of the Above, voted one of Vibrations Magazine‘s top albums of 2010.
2017 saw Gray widen his sonic palette live performing solo under the Jump For Neon moniker with fx/looper pedal, sampler, synth and electric guitar, in addition to the familiar, trusty acoustic.
Jump For Neon exhibits obvious guitar band influences from the 60s through to the 90s. It is also as much a lo-fi nod to the budding Hangzhou electronic scene as it is a knowing wink at Chinese karaoke culture.
Gray’s aim for the eponymous LP debut album, written and recorded with a four-piece group in mind, was to take alternative/indie rock, coat it with a synth-noise veneer, and marry it with primitive beats and loops that would later go on to form backing tracks to be played live on a Roland SP-404.
Lyrically and musically the album encompasses tongue-in-cheek psychedelia, raw political anger, recurring blues motifs, and the straightforward pop sentiments of a Welsh-born Leedstransplant surreally cut adrift in a faraway land. It has been compared to respected and renowned songwriters, Elliott Smith, Bon Iver, Badly Drawn Boy and Damon Albarn.
Gray’s second album Vertical Wealth, garnered increasing attention throughout 2011. Listed again as one of Vibrations Magazine‘s favorite albums of the year. BBC and US college radio airtime was secured as well as the LP eliciting praise from music critics.
2012’s release of Casual Observer again resulted in repeated plays on BBC Radio and yet
another Vibrations Magazine thumbs up in their albums of the year countdown.
After his move to Hangzhou, China, the album Wensan Rd was released at the end of 2013
winning new plaudits within the local music scene and high praise from That’s China magazine,
the following year seeing Gray become a regular solo performer in and around his new home city.
In 2015 Gray joined the roster of artists at Medic Independent Records with the Hangzhou (China) label.