Loma Emerges With A Dark, But Hopeful, Song And Video For 'Black Willow' : All Songs Considered The collaboration paints with darker contours than anything on recent albums by Cross Record or Shearwater, while retaining the depth and confidence of each.
NPR logo Loma Emerges With A Dark, But Hopeful, Song And Video For 'Black Willow'

Loma Emerges With A Dark, But Hopeful, Song And Video For 'Black Willow'

Loma's self-titled debut album comes out Feb. 16. Bryan C. Parker/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Bryan C. Parker/Courtesy of the artist

Loma's self-titled debut album comes out Feb. 16.

Bryan C. Parker/Courtesy of the artist

The story of Cross Record, the duo of Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski, was a fairy tale. The pair, a couple in life and in art, moved to rural Texas to escape the city — does it matter which one? — and let the calm in. They used the time to cultivate and create an album, Wabi-Sabi, that was written and arranged and performed and recorded and layered precisely and beautifully and strangely. It slipped off classification like silk, guitars layered to effect a harp or electrified to squeal and yawp, songs heaved into disciplined pummel (aided by the percussion genius Thor Harris), bedrocked by Cross' unaffected, meditative lungs.

While touring behind Wabi-Sabi, Cross and Duszynski formed a deep friendship with Jonathan Meiburg, the singer of another barely classifiable band, Shearwater, while on the road with him. They brought Meiburg to Texas to explore a collaboration, which became a new band itself: Loma. In the process, Cross and Duszynski's fairy tale came to its close — they broke up, but forged ahead towards this eponymous record, together with Mieburg.

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"Black Willow," the first song released from that record and also its closer, is a painting with darker contours than anything on Wabi-Sabi or Shearwater's most recent album Jet Plane And Oxbow, while retaining the depth and confidence of each. In the video, Cross dances on mud-pocked river rocks with her younger avatar, a calm and unburdened catharsis in calm dance. She opens the song by observing a new path: "Because I rode up to the edge / Because the life I lived is dead." A life that can't relate to that sentiment is one that needs to jump.

Loma's self-titled debut album comes out Feb. 16 via Sub Pop Records.