Eskimeaux's OK is easily my most played album of the year, next to the Courtney Barnett record. There's lighthearted, almost childlike beauty in the way Gabrielle Smith puts words to song. Here are OK's first lines:
In my dreams you're a bathtub running
You are warm and tender
Oh, you are cold and bristling and struggling
As an adopted child, Smith discovered that her biological father is Tlingit Eskimo; she describes the -eaux suffix as "just a playful jumble of letters that represents the way I record — a confusing layering of sounds that somehow coalesce into something simple."
Smith has performed at the Tiny Desk before: She's part of a New York art collective that includes Told Slant, Small Wonder and Bellows, and Bellows played here not too long ago. Some of the players in those bands sing with Smith in her final song — one of my favorite songs of the year — called "I Admit I'm Scared," which ends with a few perfectly chosen words:
And if I had a dime for every time I'm freaking out
We could fly around the world
Or just get out of your parents' house
- "A Hug Too Long"
- "I Admit I'm Scared"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Mina Tavakoli; photo by Emily Bogle/NPR