Posts Tagged ‘Dead Oceans Records’

Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nathaniel Walcott) have shared their first new song in nine years, “Persona Non Grata.” The band previously announced that they had signed to Dead Oceans and had been recording, with intentions to release new music this year. They also previously announced a world tour. In January they also shared a teaser video featuring them recording in the studio with an orchestra. Check out the track “Persona Non Grata” below, followed by a statement from the band and the band’s tour dates (hopefully they won’t be postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19).

While Oberst has kept busy in the last decade with solo and collaborative projects (such as last year’s Better Oblivion Community Center duo with Phoebe Bridgers), the band with which he made his name have not released an album since 2011’s The People’s Key.

In a previous press release Dead Oceans co-founder Phil Waldorf had this to say about signing the band: “Bright Eyes is not just a formative artist for me personally, but for countless people who work at Dead Oceans. To get to work with a band that is part of our own origin stories in falling in love with music is the rarest of privileges. We are thrilled to be part of another great chapter in Bright Eyes enduring legacy.”

Since Bright Eyes went on hiatus, Mogis has kept busy as a producer and Walcott has worked as a film composer. Oberst’s punk band Desaparecidos also reformed for 2015’s album release Payola.

“Persona Non Grata” by Bright Eyes out now on Dead Oceans Records.

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“Hypochondriac” is a buoyant and at times ambient indie-rock ballad, full of loping guitars and criss-crossing drum beats. With a little of TORRES-style slanted vocal delivery and a jammy rock flair, “Hypochondriac” is far more upbeat than the song’s subject matter may suggest. In the bridge, Fenne Lily continually tells herself, “Look alive,” before a chorus and a startlingly pretty key change take center stage. She ends the song with the relatable (especially during potentially overwhelming times such as these) line, “I’m waiting for a moment to stop and not feel so much. My newest single, released via Dead Oceans, is out now Hypochondriac is the title, preoccupation with death is the theme after a while of silence it feels good to be back – I hope y’all enjoy and keep washing your hands

“Hypochondriac” by Fenne Lily, out now on Dead Oceans.

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges Take a Leisurely Ride Under the <i>Texas Sun</i>

Raw, silken R&B vocalist Leon Bridges and the twisty, turny, psychedelic rock-funk instrumentalists of Khruangbin toured as one package last year, a show of unity between Texan soul makers. Leon Bridges and Khruangbin first crossed paths as the result of a joint tour in 2018, and discovered they had a similar laid-back musical ethos. Texas Sun was the instrumental trio’s first foray into writing with a vocalist, and results on the title track are cozy and seamless. “We try not to have too much of an intention, because it gets in the way of what the music wants to do,” says Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee. “If you just let the music do what it’s supposed to do, it will reveal itself. We tried to take that same approach with Leon. For us, it was opening up our world to have another person in it. But all of it feels like Texas to me.

‘Texas Sun’ from Khruangbin & Leon Bridges collaborative “Texas Sun” EP, out February 7th, 2020 on Dead Oceans, in partnership with Columbia Records and Night Time Stories Ltd.

Phoebe Bridgers Garden

The first single off Phoebe Bridgers’ TBA sophomore album has finally arrived. We’ve been anticipating Phoebe Bridgers‘ followup to her classic 2017 debut album “Stranger in the Alps” for a while, though she still hasn’t announced the album, she did just release her first proper solo single since 2017 and confirmed that the album is on the way. The song is called “Garden Song,” it was made with Stranger In The Alps producers/collaborators Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, and it finds Phoebe adding a synthy touch to her melancholic songwriting, which remains as compelling as ever. The song also comes with a DIY-looking video directed by Phoebe’s brother Jackson, in which Phoebe rips a bong and then really weird shit starts to happen, including an appearance by Tig Notaro in a monk’s costume. Here’s what Phoebe tells Zane Lowe about the song:

I was just thinking about my home town and I was thinking about reoccurring nightmares I have on tour. So on Garden Song my tour manager sings with me – he’s 6 ft 7. He’s a Dutch man named Jeroen. I realized he had the voice of an angel when he was singing Mitski with me in the van and he was two octaves below me and I was like ‘You sound like a Dutch Matt Berninger from The National.

In the time between Stranger in the Alps and “Garden Song,” Phoebe Bridgers released a ton of collaborations (with Matt Berninger, Lord Huron, Manchester Orchestra, Mercury Rev, and more) and formed the groups boygenius (with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus) and the Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst).  Phoebe will be hitting road with The 1975 (whose new album she contributed to), with beabadoobee on the bill as well.

“Garden Song” by Phoebe Bridgers, out now on Dead Oceans Records.

Mitski, July 2017 (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Panorama)

Mitski has shared a new song from the soundtrack to Floria Sigismondi’s horror movie “The Turning”. Her contribution is titled “Cop Car.” Sinister and piercing, with a heavy lilt of Puberty 2 grunge — if you need a “guitar-based but cinematic” song about the unraveling of a woman’s mind, who else are you going to call?

“Cop Car” is Mitski’s first release of new music since her critically acclaimed album, Be The Cowboy, In June 2019, Mitski announced on Twitter that she would be taking a break from touring indefinitely after wrapping up her final scheduled concert date that September.

“Cop Car” is the sixth single released from a stacked soundtrack to the upcoming horror film The Turning, based on the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw. Lawrence Rothman, along with collaborator Yves Rothman, co-produced the soundtrack. Previous releases include singles from Soccer Mommy and Courtney Love, as well as Empress Of and the goth par excellence team-up of Lawrence Rothman and Pale Waves.

The album and movie are out this Friday, January 24th.

Dead Oceans, exclusively licensed to KRO Records

Timothy Showalter was done. Despite the acclaim that greeted Strand Of Oaks’ fifth album, Hard Love, the guitarist and songwriter found himself in a hole, and was on the verge of quitting music altogether. Then his friends in My Morning Jacket decided to pull him out, dragging him into the studio and providing an elite backing band to create his most impressive album yet, Eraserland.

“I didn’t really wanna do it anymore,” says Showalter, the artist also known as Strand Of Oaks. That’s quite an attention-grabbing admission, but in these clickbait-heavy times, he’s keen to emphasise that this isn’t just a good marketing line. “It’s not for dramatic press. I know that’s how this game works – put a fireworks show up so people wanna write about it. But when I was trying to explain the record to people, that’s the only way that I could. I think it was an identity crisis.”

Back in 2017, Tim was promoting and touring his new album, Hard Love, but despite the album being well received by both critics and fans, something wasn’t right. “I released Hard Love a year after I made it, and I was singing about someone who I wasn’t anymore,” he reflects. “I was pretty wild for a little while there. But over the course of that year making Hard Love and being home, I changed in a good way. I loved the record and playing those songs live, but I had this idea of, ‘What am I doing? I’ve been doing this for 10 years. Who am I?’”

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The changes may have been positive, but it coincided with Tim finding himself stuck in a rut, and unable to write new material, which in turn brought up a host of other issues. “Most of my life, playing guitar and singing, and writing songs, was an escape route out of anxiety and life,” he admits candidly. “That was my safe place… and then I was like, ‘Shit…’ Because being a musician is most of my identity – if you were to speak to friends or family, they would say: ‘Oh, he was really depressed.’ Like clinically depressed! But I equated it to, ‘I’m just not feeling the tunes right now!’”

Such was Tim’s disconnect from music at this time, he barely registered his label’s decision to take the wealth of unused material from the Hard Love sessions to create a brand-new album, Harder Love, which came out in 2018. “I forget that Harder Love even came out!” he exclaims. “I had very little to do with that. There was some good stuff on there, and the label kind of approached me and said: ‘People should at least hear these songs…’ And I’m like, ‘That sounds good. I’m gonna hike in the woods for a while!’”

And then something quite remarkable happened. “I got a phone call from my manager saying: ‘Are you making a record with My Morning Jacket?’ And I went, ‘What are you talking about?!’” Tim remembers. “He said: ‘WelI, I just got a call from all of them and they say they have studio time booked…’ and I didn’t have any songs written!”

Renowned indie-rock bands don’t just go around booking studio time with songwriters on a whim, and what was actually happening was something of a rock ’n’ roll intervention…

“They’re friends of mine, and the producer Kevin [Ratterman] is also a dear friend, and to their endless credit they caught wind that I wasn’t in a good spot, and they dropped everything,” he reflects wistfully. “For Chrissakes, Bo [Koster] the keyboard player… he’s Roger Waters’ keyboard player! And he had two weeks off in the midst of the The Wall Tour, and he decided to spend those two weeks with me in a studio in Louisville. It’s the last place he should have been – he should have been on a fuckin’ beach or something!

“My epiphany truly started when all these people started to come to my aid, and my first inclination was, ‘I need to write good songs, ’cos I can’t give this band mediocre shit!’ So I began writing the opposite of how I usually write – unselfishly! It gave me enough room to get out of my own head, and because of that, it became a pure form of expression that I couldn’t have planned on. And the songs just came – I don’t know where from! I still need to learn chords for half of them. I don’t remember writing them. I hope I did!”

Working with a very short deadline was a new one for Tim – “Sometimes I’ve written songs where there’s like a three-year gap between writing a song and putting out a record,” he admits – and with just a few short weeks to write an album, he headed for the beach to write…

“I love beaches in the off-season,” Tim explains. “I don’t know why, it’s just romantic. It looks like death, but a beautiful death! And the songs just kinda varied depending on my mood from day to day, or even what the weather was like at the beach! Like if it was a rainy day, it would be more introspective, but if it was sunny, the major chords would come flying. It all happened so fast.”

If the writing and demoing process was a breeze, when it came to recording, the reality of the shoes he was filling rendered things a lot less comfortable. “I had a panic attack the first day at the studio, because we recorded everything live in this huge room, and I was standing where [MMJ frontman] Jim James should be standing!” Tim recalls. “And if anyone knows Jim James, I can’t sing like him – 99 per cent of the planet that’s ever existed can’t sing like him. I’m like, ‘What am I doing here!? I shouldn’t be allowed in this party!’

“But that night, the guys went for dinner and I stayed at the studio because I wanted to get my guitar tone working. And while I was there on my own, I walked around the studio and I saw that they all had extensive notes that they’d written. That to me, was like this moment of like, ‘Oh, they are so involved with this.’ This is not like when a label sets you up with a bunch of studio musicians. These are friends and they’re invested. Yes, they’re extremely accomplished and you look up to them, but this is not the moment to be starstruck. This is the moment to collaborate.”

With that hurdle overcome, the chemistry between Tim and the rest of the band was immediate and the recording process was remarkably smooth.

“It’s a testament to what good musicians they are,” he enthuses. “We really set ourselves up for failure, because we’d never played together before! But outside of maybe a few overdubs, everything was live. Even if it was nine minutes long. That’s the performance.”

Operating with that one-take mindset really gave Showalter an appreciation for how good his new backing band was, and one member in particular. “Tommy [Blankenship], the bass player, is a perfect bass player.” he insists. “After five days, a few of us went out for dinner, and he went somewhere else, and we had this realisation… ‘Guys, Tommy hasn’t messed up yet…’ He never hit a wrong note! You’re supposed to do something wrong, to make everyone else feel better! It’s like, ‘Tommy, please, I messed up my own lyrics on that last track!’”

When it came to the album’s guitar sounds, Tim found himself in the unusual position of not being the primary lead guitarist, with MMJ’s Carl Broemel filling that chair. “Usually, I have a ‘space station’ pedalboard and everything. But my stuff was really simple, it was strictly for rhythm,” Tim recalls. “I was mostly playing a Frankenstein Telecaster – that for some reason I put mini-humbuckers on – through what looked like a Magnatone, but it’s got a single 12 in it – I don’t know if one of Kevin’s friends made it or what.”

Taking a back seat on the lead guitar side did give Showalter a chance to appreciate the creativity and uniqueness of Broemel’s playing, however…

“He has a Duesenberg that’s like a tour de force of tone,” Tim enthuses. “But his secret is that he would be sitting down in front of this pedalboard, and he had an Echoplex. And as he was soloing on stuff like Weird Ways or Forever Chords, his right hand was constantly working that as he was playing.”

Showalter has developed a reputation as a fan of extended jams, exploratory solos and a general tendency to wig out whenever possible, but by not really playing solos on the album, he began to look at things from a different perspective.

“The thing I love about Eraserland is that there’s very little jamming,” he admits. “It’s extremely structured, and I think that to me always felt unappealing in the past. But when you think about The Dark Side Of The Moon, in your memory, it’s almost as if Gilmour is soloing the whole time. Like an epic jam. But then when you go back and listen to it, it’s actually so composed and orchestrated.

“In my past records, like Hard Love, I was just like, ‘Let’s just jam, fuck it all, start the track!’ And that was fun and all, but for something like Forever Chords, we had it down to a measure. Technically, there are only like three solos on this album.”

One of those three solos was reserved for a very special guest – Jason Isbell. The guitarist is another friend who wanted to help Tim get back in the saddle, and leant his considerable skills to the track Moon Landing.

Jason and I go way back,” Tim explains. “I played shows with him maybe 10 years ago? We’ve remained friends and played off and on together since, and he’s a wonderful person. He has such a beautiful voice and writes award-winning songs, and we sent him the most crazy and dissonant song on the record.

“He really wanted to be on it, but was touring so he couldn’t come to Louisville, so we sent him the track after we were done with it, and we were like, ‘Well, what’s he gonna do with this?’ And then he came back with like a Hendrix-level Machine Gun solo! And I think that I’m most proud of that – because you see it with him live, but I want more people to know that he’s one of the most inventive players around.

“My god, if you listen to the raw track of Moon Landing and his solo, there’s things in there that sound like he’s eating his guitar or something! How is he doing that?! And it was bone dry – no delay or reverb, or anything, just deadly tone. Love that.”

After coming so close to jacking it all in before Eraserland reignited his creativity and love of music, we can’t help but conclude our chat by asking Tim how he’s feeling about the whole thing now…

“I wanna make more records,” he affirms. “But I have to put this album to rest as a piece of art in order to open my brain up to make the new. I always tell friends that the two weeks after I get the master, I have this golden moment where I listen to my own record, and I listen to it, and I like it… and then it’s done forever. I’ve given it to the people.

“It feels good to know that maybe in six months, I’ll be able to maybe start the next one, but I just need to have that moment to let go. It took me a long time to let go of Hard Love, but that enabled me to do this, which was such a positive experience. Hopefully, I won’t have to go through that again this time, though… these dramatic stories, I’m just tired of them!”

Eraserland is out now on Dead Oceans Records.

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Phoebe Bridgers and Matt Berninger (Photo by Chloe Brewer).

The National’s Matt Berninger and singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers have teamed up for a new track featured in Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns: The Movie, which is out today. The song is called “Walking on a String” and the studio recording arrives October 17th via Dead Oceans.

“Walking on a String” was written for Between Two Ferns by Berninger in collaboration with his wife and National collaborator Carin Besser, as well as musician Mike Brewer. It was recorded with Walter Martin and Matt Barrick of the Walkmen and produced by Bridgers, Tony Berg, and Ethan Gruska.

It’s the first joint song from Berninger and Bridgers.

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Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? is what Jennifer Clavin asked herself when she hit a turning point in her life. It’s also the title of the new record from Bleached, Jessie and Jennifer Clavin’s first LP written from a place of sobriety. That newfound perspective serves as the guiding force, yielding a courageous, honest, and sonically ambitious album. It’s a record about fighting both literally and figuratively for your life – and the clarity born from that struggle.

Writing began in early 2018, both in a Los Angeles practice space, and with friends and co-writers in Nashville. Producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) helped open every door to experimentation, wanting to be exploratory while keeping the sound singularly Bleached.

The resulting LP is explosive, grappling with the past; its twelve tracks mark some of the sisters’ most visceral, rawest songwriting to date – and some of their best. The work glimmers with inspiration found in touring with the likes of The Damned and Paramore. That arena-ready pop, incisively catchy, was a palpable influence helping to push Bleached’s sound in a new direction.

Following on from the release of “Kiss You Goodbye” last month, Los Angeles duo Bleached return this July with the romping “Rebound City.” The latest single to be unveiled from Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? is described by Jennifer Clavin as “a brief history of the mistakes that I’ve made,” with the front woman’s post-breakup mea culpa coming supported by a combination of exuberant power chords and thunderous drums.

off ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’ out July 12 on Dead Oceans Records.


Melbourne-based indie rocker Alex Lahey wasted no time on small-talk pleasantries with the release of her promising 2017 debut, I Love You Like A Brother. The Australian singer-songwriter’s  follow-up, “The Best of Luck Club”, and it’s accompanied music video for lead single “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” to usher in the good news.

The Best of Luck Club, was released May 17th on Dead Oceans Records, picks up where Brother left off, returning all of the sardonic lyricism Lahey charmed listeners with before, but this time, with a more refined finish—think of it like a backhanded compliment with a really good beat. (Okay, maybe not backhanded, but definitely charismatically sarcastic. )

Citing inspirations ranging from Paramore to Bruce Springsteen, Lahey’s sound is something that hinges on the sunshine-y rhythms of surf rock with a ‘90s riot grrrl-inspired edge, producing anthemic pop-punk not meant for sitting still to. Whether she’s singing about self-doubt and breakups, mental health and moving in with a girlfriend, or vibrators and generational ennui, Lahey’s attention to detail zeroes in and locks a moment in place with self-assured precision.

Lahey notes that the dive bar scene in Nashville was her inspiration for the album’s catchy title. “Whether you’ve had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you can just sit up at the bar and turn to the person next to you —who has no idea who you are— and have a chat,” she says. “And the response that you generally get at the end of the conversation is ‘best of luck,’ so The Best of Luck Club is that place.”

Lahey released a music video for its peppy and optimistic title track, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself,” which features a return to her saxophone roots. If album #2 delivers anything like her latest single … consider us already dancing in anticipation.

Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself taken from ’The Best Of Luck Club’, the new album ,

alex lahey music

Australian singer/songwriter Alex Lahey is releasing a new album, The Best of Luck Club, on May 17th via Dead Oceans. This week she shared another song from the album, the ballad “Unspoken History,” which is the third  single release from the album.

Lahey had this to say about the song in a press release: “When I was in Nashville, I spent some time in a tiny writing room creating songs for this record. Towards the end of that time, I felt as though I was starting to exhaust my output and was starting to become complacent about what I had left to give. On one of my last days there, I was lent a guitar that was set up in a variation on open D tuning, which is something I never play in. In the process of nutting out chords and voicing in this tuning, the melody to the verses just came out. When I started putting words to it, it started off as being about one thing, but then morphed into something else, creating its own path very organically.”

Previously Lahey shared a video for The Best of Luck Club’s first single, “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself” which features a prominent saxophone solo from Lahey Then she shared another song from the album, “Am I Doing It Right,” The album is the follow-up to her 2017-released debut album, I Love You Like a Brother , Lahey began writing The Best of Luck Clubin Nashville, sometimes locking herself in a room for 12-hour days. Then the album was recorded over the course of a month in her hometown of Melbourne at Sing Sing South. Lahey co-produced the album alongside Grammy-winning producer Catherine Marks (Local Natives, St. Vincent, Manchester Orchestra). Lahey plays nearly every instrument on the album, with the appearance of the saxophone a reference to her past studying jazz saxophone at university.

Lahey had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “In Nashville I was really inspired by the dive bar scene there and the idea that at these dive bars there’s no pretentious energy. Whether you’ve had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you can just sit up at the bar and turn to the person next to you – who has no idea who you are – and have a chat. And the response that you generally get at the end of the conversation is, ‘Best of luck,’ so The Best of Luck Club is that place.”

’The Best Of Luck Club’, the new album from Alex Lahey, out May 17th on Dead Oceans