New Mix: Deerhunter, Andrew Bird, Tomberlin, Bokanté + Metropole Orkest, More : All Songs ConsideredAs voters head to the polls today, we hear from artists whose music speaks to our current political and cultural moment.
Clockwise from upper left: Deerhunter, Tomberlin, Andrew Bird, Bokanté + Metropole Orkest
Courtesy of the artists
Courtesy of the artists
As voters head to the polls today, we hear from artists whose music speaks to our current political and cultural moment. Deerhunter is back with "Death In Midsummer," a song that finds frontman Bradford Cox questioning the point of anything in an upside down world. Andrew Bird, meanwhile, croons a song of discontent that draws comparisons between 2018 America and the Spanish Civil War from the 1930s.
Also on the show: Singer Andy Shauf, known for his profound storytelling and intimate song craft, goes big with a newly formed band of childhood friends called Foxwarren; The international music ensemble Bokanté joins Metropole Orkest in making music "a voice for the voiceless;" The singer known as Tomberlin longs for a sense of security and belonging on her debut album At Weddings; The Boston-based band Alexander soundtracks the self-loathing and distorted thinking of mental illness; And Vancouver's Ian William Craig makes sounds that seem as though they were recorded in a strange, unknown dimension, using only a reel-to-reel tape machine and his voice.
Songs And Artists Featured On This Episode
Song: Death in Midsummer
Deerhunter's characteristic wash of reverb gains a special clarity on this track, courtesy of the jaunty harpsichord that plays over a dismal vision of the daily grind: "Your friends have died," he sings, "And their lives, they just fade away / Some worked the hills / Some worked in factories / Worked their lives away / And in time you will see your own life fade away." Deerhunter's forthcoming album, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? is out Jan. 18 on 4AD.
Andrew Bird wrote this foreboding song in response to today's American political discord, which he sees as "a cold civil war. Everyone is playing their part too well. Certain actors are reaping power and wealth from divisiveness." For now this is a one-off single from Bird, with no news yet on a new full-length album.
A veteran of defunct Boston emo outfit Du Vide, Alex Fatato has written a lot of wrenching mathcore songs. His first solo album here is about getting a grip on distorted thinking, dealing with emotions that are completely out of proportion while slogging through the mundane drudgery of mental illness: taking pills, sleeping regularly, checking in with friends. Settle Down is out now on Forged Artifacts.
The music of Sarah Beth Tomberlin, who writes and records under her last name, is informed by her years singing in a Baptist church choir, crossed with a sense of irony that's all her own. "My number one goal with my music," says Tomberlin, "is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist." At Weddings is out now on Saddle Creek Records.
A phenomenal storyteller with a unique sense of melody and an unmistakeable voice, Andy Shauf here joins his childhood friends, Dallas Bryson and brothers Darryl and Avery Kissick to form the band Foxwarren. The group's self-titled album is out Nov. 30 on Anti-Records.
Ian William Craig is a Vancouver-based composer who uses his own voice and a reel-to-reel tape machine to jumble moments of time together, confusing the past and present in a wash of other worldly sounds. The result sounds like a transmission, over a broken connection, from some endless, higher plane. Thresholder is out now on Fatcat Records.
Snarky Puppy's Michael League founded Bokanté, a group of players from multiple countries and continents "whose members are united in the belief that music should be ... a force for change against a rising tide of exclusion and indifference in a world that is reaching boiling point." Here they join the Netherlands' Metropole Orkest, conducted by Jules Buckley, on the album What Heat, out now on Real World Records.