Posts Tagged ‘Dead Oceans Records’

In April 2021, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner will publish her first book, a memoir titled “Crying in H Mart”. If the titular essay, originally published in a 2018 issue of The New Yorker, is any indication, it will be a moving depiction of Zauner’s relationship with her family, food, and Korean heritage.  Zauner will also share a new Japanese Breakfast album, a much-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s “Soft Sounds From Another Planet”. In the meantime, check out pop songs 2020, an EP Zauner made with Crying’s Ryan Galloway under the name Bumper

From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner knew that she wanted to call it ‘Jubilee’. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the passage of time—a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor. Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish; ‘Psychopomp’ was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ took the grief she held from her mother’s death and used it as a conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling world.

Michlle Zauner has been making waves in the indie music scene for a year now with her alter ego Japanese Breakfast but she’s not quite there yet in the first row of indie pop superstars (you know, the Tame Impala/ Phoebe Bridgers level). But now she returns with her entry ticket and what might easily the best pop song of 2021 so far. Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing helped her writing it and I told you before that this man is an expert when it comes to catchy 80s-infected pop hooks. “Be Sweet” is such a song – a much needed overdose of positive vibes, including a chorus that will stuck in your damn head for the rest of the day, week and maybe year. “After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow up to be about joy,” Zauner says about her forthcoming record “Jubilee” which is out in June and will be a ‘bombastic’ experience according to her.

“Posing in Bondage” the new song by Japanese Breakfast from the album ‘Jubilee’, out June 4th on Dead Oceans.

‘Jubilee’ finds Michelle Zauner embracing ambition and, with it, her boldest ideas and songs yet. Inspired by records like Bjork’s ‘Homogenic’, Zauner delivers bigness throughout – big ideas, big textures, colours, sounds and feelings. At a time when virtually everything feels extreme, ‘Jubilee’ sets its sights on maximal joy, imagination, and exhilaration. It is, in Michelle Zauner’s words, “a record about fighting to feel. I wanted to re-experience the pure, unadulterated joy of creation… The songs are about recalling the optimism of youth and applying it to adulthood. They’re about making difficult choices, fighting ignominious impulses and honouring commitments, confronting the constant struggle we have with ourselves to be better people.”

Throughout ‘Jubilee’, Zauner pours her own life into the universe of each song to tell real stories, and allowing those universes, in turn, to fill in the details. Joy, change, evolution — these things take real time, and real effort. And Japanese Breakfast is here for it.

Writing a profound pop song is an art form – and this is a great example for it.

Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers recorded two tracks for the Spotify Singles series. First, she’s shared a new version of her “Punisher” single “Kyoto,” now featuring  iconic singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. The second offering is a cover of John Prine’s “Summer’s End,” featuring backing vocal from Maria Taylor. Hear both songs on Spotify.

At the end of 2020, Phoebe Bridgers released some reworked Punisher songs on an EP called “Copycat Killer”. That EP is now being pressed on vinyl, and you can pre-order the 12″ on ‘Mountain Blast’ green in the BV Store,  the songs Kyoto, Savior Complex, Chinese Satellite and Punisher, all given a luscious revamp that is sure to delight any fans of Phoebe’s album and serve as perfect gateway for new listeners into what makes her one of the most special artists of 2020 and beyond.

The Copycat Killer versions of the songs were recorded with arranger and string player, Rob Moose, who has also also worked with Bon Iver, Paul Simon, Alabama Shakes, Taylor Swift, The Killers, Moses Sumney, FKA Twigs, Antony & The Johnsons, Regina Spektor and more. Rob also previously worked with Phoebe on “Georgia” from Stranger In The Alps, which by the way we also have in limited quantities along with Punisher and the new EP (along with the new Julien Baker record that Phoebe also appears on).

Bridgers recently sang “Kyoto” with Jackson Browne at the 2021 Tibet House US Benefit Concert. And, last year, she played a solo acoustic version of “Summer’s End” for a Sirius XMU Session.

Phoebe Bridgers was up for four Grammys this year, including Best New Artist, Best Alternative Album (for Punisher), and Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance (both for “Kyoto”).

Phoebe Bridger’s Copycat Killer EP, out November 10th on Dead Oceans.

1. Kyoto
2. Savior Complex
3. Chinese Satellite
4. Punisher


Michelle Zauner is back with her first Japanese Breakfast album since 2017’s ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’.  Zauner will publish her memoir Crying In H Mart later this year. Set for release in the UK on August 5th, the book is described as an “unflinching and powerful memoir about [Zauner] growing up Korean-American, losing her mother and forging her own identity”.

The new album ‘Jubilee’ – you can hear its lead single, ‘Be Sweet’‘Jubilee’ will be released on June 4th via Dead Oceans. Speaking about the process behind making the album, Zauner said that she’s “never wanted to rest on any laurels. I wanted to push it as far as it could go, inviting more people in and pushing myself as a composer, a producer, an arranger.”

“After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow up to be about joy,” Zauner explained. “For me, a third record should feel bombastic and so I wanted to pull out all the stops for this one. “I wrote ‘Be Sweet’ with Jack Tatum from Wild Nothing a few years ago. I’ve been holding onto it for so long and am so excited to finally put it out there.”

For today, Michelle Zauner the mastermind behind Japanese Breakfast already has a busy year ahead of her third album “Jubilee”, the awaited follow-up to 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet, which will be out June 4th. The song is packed with massive drum hits, Nile Rodgers-like guitar strums, and shimmering synths (Oh! How those synths shimmer). The album’s lead single is a joyous and hopeful introduction to Zauner’s next album, but it comes after a long period of mourning and growth; her first two albums coincided with witnessing her mother undergo cancer treatment and grieving her death. “After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow up to be about joy,” she said of the new project. “For me, a third record should feel bombastic and so I wanted to pull out all the stops for this one. 

“Be Sweet” also comes with a fun video that Zauner directed which features Mannequin Pussy’s Marisa Dabice. Together they search for UFOs with a very legitimate looking neon-lit UFO tracker. “I want to believe in you / I want to believe in something,” Zauner sings during the chorus. 

“Be Sweet” the new song by Japanese Breakfast from ‘Jubilee’, out June 4th on Dead Oceans Records.

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'SHAME DRUNK TANK PINK'

Shame are releasing a new album, “Drunk Tank Pink”, next Friday (January 15) via Dead Oceans Records. This week they shared another song from it, “Nigel Hitter,” via a video for it. Maxim Kelly directed the video, reworking archival footage to make it seem like babies are singing along to the song.

Frontman Charlie Steen had this to say about the song in a press release: “The song is at the heart of what Drunk Tank Pink is about. After we finished touring I was left with a lot of silence as I stumbled around trying to figure out the daily routine. On top of that, I was confronting my subconscious at night through a series of intense dreams which left me in a daze during the day. ‘Nigel Hitter’ feels like a cathartic expression of that period.” 

Frontman Charlie Steen had this to say about the song and upcoming album in a press release: “A lot of this album focuses on the subconscious and dreams, this song being the pivotal moment of these themes. A song about love that is lost and the comfort and displeasure that comes after you close your eyes, fall into sleep, and are forced to confront yourself.” 

Drunk Tank Pink includes “Water in the Well,” and “Snow Day,” Shame’s previous album, Songs of Praise, was released in January 2018 on Dead Oceans.

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing and outdoor

There are moments on Drunk Tank Pink where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s Songs Of Praise. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

The genius of Drunk Tank Pink is how these lyrical themes dovetail with the music. Opener Alphabet dissects the premise of performance over a siren call of nervous, jerking guitars, its chorus thrown out like a beer bottle across a mosh pit. Songs spin off and lurch into unexpected directions throughout here, be it March Day’s escalating aural panic attack or the shapeshifting darkness of Snow Day. There’s a Berlin era Bowie beauty to the lovelorn Human For A Minute while closer Station Wagon weaves from a downbeat mooch into a souring, soul- lifting climax in which Steen elevates himself beyond the clouds and into the heavens. Or at least that’s what it sounds like.

From the womb to the clouds (sort of), Shame are currently very much in the pink. At five-minutes-plus, shame come out with a pretty epic white-out on ‘Snow Day’, the latest track to be taken from their forthcoming second album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, which is set to arrive on January 15th 2021 via Dead Oceans

Charlie Steen’s sombre opening soon moves into familiar menacing territory, carried by Charlie Forbes‘ formidable drumming, and the sharp, post-punk guitar riffs which dig like ice picks, dictating the flow. Tense and propulsive, Steen’s lyrics dovetail with the music, from its reflective opening to the power of its highest points.  “A lot of this album focuses on the subconscious and dreams,” explains Steen, “this song being the pivotal moment of these themes. A song about love that is lost and the comfort and displeasure that comes after you close your eyes, fall into sleep, and are forced to confront yourself.”

Alongside, the band have shared accompanying visuals featuring drone footage shot in the Scottish Borders – where the band wrote ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ – and the stark, snow-covered hills make a befitting backdrop for the atmospheric build of the track.

The band have also announced they will perform a live set from Rough Trade Records on January 14 2021.

“Snow Day” taken from shame’s new album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, out 15 January 2021 on Dead Oceans Records.

Not content with a charity cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’ and the EP “Copycat Killer”, an orchestral EP of songs from her 2020 album Punisher, Phoebe Bridgers has now released a Christmas cover in November. It is a cover of Merle Haggard’s ‘If We Make It Through December’, of which proceeds from sales and streams will go directly to Downtown Women’s Center, an organisation in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women.

In keeping with her annual tradition of releasing a charity track for the holidays, Phoebe Bridgers latest song is a cover released today on Dead Oceans. 

Produced by Tony BergEthan Gruska and Phoebe, and accompanied solely by Ethan on piano, the beautiful, melancholy rendition of Haggard’s 1974 track is a fitting end to a volatile year. Last year, Bridgers’ holiday single benefited Planned Parenthood. 

Phoebe Bridgers covers “If We Make It Through December” by Merle Haggard, out November 23rd on Dead Oceans Records.

What especially takes the biscuit, for us, is the news of Shame’s new album! since we witnessed their debut shake the very foundations of modern post-punk, we’ve been feverishly awaiting the next chapter in the saga of these lovely boys & it looks like they’ve swerved hard out of the path of any career ruts with this newie. their second album expands their sound into more anxious & atmospheric environs, tautly roped together by frontman Charlie Steen’s agitated vocals. what’s cause for even more excitement is the choice of coloured vinyl on offer! you can have any colour you like as long as it’s pink (or standard black). get your pre-orders in extra quick if you fancy grabbing the limited indies exclusive on galaxy pink vinyl with signed insert or the limited indies opaque pink lp.

There are moments on ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s ‘Songs Of Praise’. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

To understand this creative leap you need to first understand the journey Shame undertook to get here. From their beginnings as wide-eyed teenagers taken under the decrepit wing of The Fat White Family to becoming the most celebrated new band in Britain and their subsequent crash back down to earth. Come in, and close the door behind you…It’s no exaggeration to say the members of Shame have spent their entire adult life on the road. A wild-eyed tour of duty marked by glorious music and damaged psyches, when it eventually careered to a stop the band were parachuted back into home territory. Shell shocked, dislocated and grasping for some semblance of self.

Shame’s previous bases – the notorious den of iniquity that was The Queens Head pub, the musical petri dish of Brixton’s Windmill – were either gentrified into obsolescence or no longer viable as an HQ. Sometimes home just isn’t home anymore. Or at least it’s not the way you remember it.

To cope, guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith barricaded himself in his bedroom. Barely leaving the house and instead obsessively deconstructing his very approach to playing and making music, he picked apart the threads of the music he was devouring (Talking Heads, Nigerian High Life, the dry funk of ESG, Talk Talk…) and created work infused with panic and crackling intensity.

“For this album I was so bored of playing guitar,” he recalls, “the thought of even playing it was mind-numbing. So I started to write and experiment in all these alternative tunings and not write or play in a conventional ‘rock’ way.”

Frontman Charlie Steen, meanwhile, took a different tac and attempted to party his way out of psychosis. “When you’re exposed to all of that for the first time you think you’re fucking indestructible,” he notes. “After a few years you reach a point where you realise everyone need a bath and a good night’s sleep sometimes.” An intense bout of waking fever-dreams convinced Steen that self medicating his demons wasn’t a very healthy plan of action and it was probably time to stop and take a look inward. Shame had always been about exposure – be that the rogues’ gallery of characters they drew inspiration from or the cornucopia of joy to be had from simply being in a band – this time, however, they were exposed to themselves.

“You become very aware of yourself and when all of the music stops, you’re left with the silence,” reflects Steen. “And that silence is a lot of what this record is about.”

Pass along the plant-strewn corridor leading into Steen and Coyle-Smith’s shared living space in South East London and hidden away to your left is a dank, brown curtain. Pull it back and open the door… welcome to the womb.

More of a cupboard than a room (it used to house the washing machine until they lugged it outside and put a bed in) and painted floor to ceiling in the specific shade of pink used to calm down drunk tank inmates, the womb is where Steen cocooned himself away to reflect and write. Scraping and shaking lyrics out of himself that – through the prism of his own surrealistic dreams – addressed the psychological toll life in the band had taken on him. The disintegration of his relationship, the loss of a sense of self and the growing identity crisis both the band and an entire generation were feeling.

“The common theme when I was catching up with my mates was this identity crisis everyone was having,” reflects Steen. “No one knows what the fuck is going on.”

“It didn’t matter that we’d just come back off tour thinking, ‘How do we deal with reality?!?’” agrees Coyle-Smith. “I had mates that were working in a pub and they were also like, ‘How do I deal with reality?!?’ Everyone was going through it.”

The genius of ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ is how these lyrical themes dovetail with the music. Opener “Alphabet” dissects the premise of performance over a siren call of nervous, jerking guitars, its chorus thrown out like a beer bottle across a mosh pit. “Nigel Hitter”, meanwhile, turns the mundanity of routine into something spectacular via a disjointed jigsaw of syncopated rhythms and broken wristed punk funk.

Bassist Josh Finerty had begun to record the band’s divergent ideas at home in South London which were then fleshed out in a writing trip in the Scottish highlands with electronic artist Makeness, before sessions in La Frette studios in France with Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford. The result is an enormous expansion of Shame’s sonic arsenal.

Songs spin off and lurch into unexpected directions throughout here, be it “March Day’s” escalating aural panic attack or the shapeshifting darkness of “Snow Day”. There’s a Berlin era Bowie beauty to the lovelorn “Human For A Minute” while closer “Station Wagon” weaves from a downbeat mooch into a souring, soul-lifting climax in which Steen elevates himself beyond the clouds and into the heavens. Or at least that’s what it sounds like.

“No that’s about Elton John,” laughs Steen. “I read somewhere about him being so cracked out that he told his PA to move a cloud that was blocking the sun. I just thought that was the greatest, Shakespearean expression of ego. Humour is a massive part of this band. We’re not some French existential act where everything is actually sad. There’s light in it as well.” From the womb to the clouds (sort of), Shame are currently very much in the pink

“Water in the Well” taken from Shame’s new album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, out 15th January 2021 on Dead Oceans Records

Listen: Kevin Morby Shares New Single “US Mail”

Kevin Morby has released a new standalone single, “US Mail.” It was originally debuted during his Sundowner livestream last week; however, the new track is not a part of the album.

“‘US Mail’ is a song I wrote about a mother communicating with her daughter via the USPS from within an inpatient rehab facility,” Morby wrote in a statement (via press release). “Restricted from any forms of electronic communication, the two must rely on postcards carried by the United States Postal Service to reach one another.”

Morby also called on his fans to write him letters, as his PO Box address is featured on the single’s artwork (pictured below): “Please feel free to write me a letter and continue sending mail to your loved ones to support the USPS. It’s service has been integral to my career and I have been passionate about both sending and receiving physical mail since I was a child. It is simply one of my favourite things. I will do my best to write you back, but even if I don’t, please know that your letters mean the world to me and that I read and cherish them all.”

Kevin Morby has shared a further video for “Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun,” a track from his latest album, Sundowner, out now on Dead Oceans. Following the videos for “Wander” and “Campfire,” this is the final installment in a trilogy of videos made for the album.

At the time of writing the album, it felt like Katie [Crutchfield] and I were the only two people on earth—living out in suburban Kansas away from the chaos of our lives on the road and on the coasts and our days became very childlike and innocent: riding bikes, making up games and singing songs. When we found ourselves back in a similar environment due to the lockdown, and it came time to make videos, I wanted to depict our lives in solitude from when I wrote the album.

“Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun, the song by Kevin Morby, out now on Dead Oceans.

This week, Kevin Morby has shared the title track from his forthcoming album “Sundowner”, due out on October. 16th via Dead Oceans Records. “When I first moved back home to Kansas after having lived on both coasts for over a decade, I found myself – for the first time – dreading the sun going down,” Morby said. “This was a foreign feeling for me. In both Los Angeles and New York, I resisted the day light and thrived in the night – something I have sung about many times, most notably on my album “City Music”. But suddenly there I was, isolated in the Midwest in late autumn – the days growing increasingly shorter – chasing the sun as best I could.”

After five solo albums, Kansas City singer/songwriter Kevin Morby hasn’t missed a beat, and his sixth entry Sundowner continues that hot streak. Sundowner is perhaps less ambitious than his 2019 double album and spiritual escapade Oh My God, but any time Morby invites you on a lowly, dusty folk rock journey, you better get moving because it’s always worth it. If you’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Morby’s vocal, melodic and guitar quirks, you’ll find many of those here, along with his breath-taking intimacy and thoughtful pastoral tales.

No question about it, this is Kevin Morby’s best album to date. Formless, playful slacker rock as absurd as the year. Songs, like sunsets, are fleeting, and it’s only due to a willingness and desire to catch them that you ever, if even only for a moment, grab a hold of one. When writing “Sundowner”, Kevin Morby was lucky to have had the Tascam 424 there to help capture both. Sundowner is his attempt to put the Middle American twilight – it’s beauty profound, though not always immediate – into sound. It is a depiction of isolation. Of the past. Of an uncertain future. Of provisions. Of an omen. Of a dead deer. Of an icon. Of a Los Angeles themed hotel in rural Kansas. Of billowing campfires, a mermaid and a highway lined in rabbit fur. It is a depiction of the nervous feeling that comes with the sky’s proud announcement that another day will be soon coming to a close as the pink light recedes and the street lamps and house lights suddenly click on.

As the songs kept coming I cleared out the crowded shed that was sitting dormant in my backyard and built a makeshift studio before adding drums, lead guitar and piano to complete the demos. Each day I would teach myself basic recording techniques, watching the channels illuminate and pulse as if the machine were breathing, and then emerge in the evenings as the sun was getting low: – around 5:30 in the winter, when the Kansan sunsets look icy and distant, like a pink ember inside of a display case, and 9 o’clock in the summer, when the sunsets are warm and abstract.

“Sundowner” the new song by Kevin Morby off ‘Sundowner’, out October 16th on Dead Oceans Records.

The title track of Phoebe Bridgers’ second album pokes fun at the oblivious fan who, at a concert, will linger at the merch table for too long. Bridgers knows she could easily fill the role, too. “If Elliott Smith were alive, I probably wouldn’t have been the most fun person for him to talk to,” she told The New Yorker. “So I wrote that as if I were the punisher.” The record is the folk singer’s follow-up to 2017’s “Stranger in the Alps”, and her first solo project since she recorded with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker as boygenius and dueted with Conor Oberst as Better Oblivion Community Center.

On “Moon Song,” one of many standout tracks on Phoebe Bridgers’ new album, Punisher, Bridgers sings, “We hate ‘Tears in Heaven,’ but it’s sad that his baby died/ We fought about John Lennon until I cried.” These lines illustrate one of this album’s greatest strengths—while many records are emotionally resonant but emotionally one-note, “Punisher” is always as complex as it is resonant, unsatisfied with easy answers. The couplet wrestles with the conflicted nature of relationships, both between the speaker and another person and between the speaker and music itself. Like much of the record, the song is simultaneously tender, darkly funny, and mournful.

It’s a lot to take in. And just as we’re processing the weight of these lines, Bridgers whisks us away into a vivid dream: “You’re singing at my birthday/ I’ve never seen you smiling so big/ It’s nautical themed/ And there’s something I’m supposed to say.” Punisher, richly produced and beautiful throughout—complete with lush guitars, synth textures, swelling strings, and 2000s indie-rock horns—is a joy to listen to, but it takes some time to truly sink its claws in, revealing the depth of its humour and sadness. Certain lines kept swirling around in my head after the third listen: the one about whether Elvis “believed songs could come true” off “Graceland Too” or the moment when Bridgers sings, “I’m not afraid of hard work” on “Garden Song,” the album’s lead single.

“Garden Song” may be the most familiar song to fans of Bridgers’ first record, Stranger in the Alps—its slow, stately pace, its guitar picking and ethereal atmosphere, and, most importantly, its lyrics, which create their own self-sustaining universe. Like a faded memory or a rear-view vision of childhood, it’s a world that is at once familiar and strange, a tale of wrong, ghosts, healing, and the work of making things, if not right, then more whole. Bridgers’ voice is joined on the chorus by Bridgers’ tour manager Jeroen Vrijhoef’s resonant bass vocals. Elsewhere on the record, we hear Conor Oberst on “Halloween” and “I Know the End,” Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus on “Graceland Too” and “I Know the End,” along with many others.

The record is a triumph of collaboration, but it is always guided by Bridgers’ vision. Punisher was co-produced by Bridgers this time aroundalongside Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, who produced Stranger in the Alps—and at every point Punisher is more expansive than its predecessor, both in terms of its instrumentation and its songcraft. Classic Phoebe Bridgers slow-burners like “Garden Song” and “Halloween,” which recall her mostly downtempo debut, float alongside uptempo tracks like “Kyoto” and “I See You,” which reflect Bridgers’ fantastic indie rock collaborations, both as one-third of boygenius and one-half of Better Oblivion Community Center. The dynamic variation on Punisher is one of its greatest strengths. Although the downtempo tracks still set the tone, the addition of tracks like “Kyoto” keeps listeners on their toes.

Punisher, as punishing as it can be, is largely an affirming record. (Apparently, the title refers to the kind of fan who stays at the merch table way too long.) There’s an existential kind of determination to it, perhaps best embodied on “Chinese Satellite,” a moving meditation on doubt, faith, and loss: “Took a tour out to see the stars/ But they weren’t out tonight/ So I wished hard on a Chinese satellite/ I want to believe/ Instead I look at the sky and I feel nothing.” A classic story of spiritual desolation amid the disenchantment of modernity, perhaps. But when no star or God is forthcoming, artists latch on to what they see, forging their own spirituality, based on what symbols are available—in this case the satellite will have to do.

I tend to link the stubborn spirituality of this record, its determination to make beauty out of an ugly world, back to the album’s lead single, “Garden Song,” in particular to the line, “I’m not afraid of hard work,” as it relates to gardening, which is to say fostering life. The album’s closer, the shape-shifting “I Know the End” is as affirming as the apocalypse gets, beginning straightforwardly enough before settling into an incredibly cathartic build—complete with kick drums, horns, and screams—which busts the song wide open. It’s easily the most intense track on the album, but when all the instruments drop out and all that’s left is Bridgers’ voice, something between a death-metal scream and a low hiss, there’s a knowing playfulness to it. The humour that’s made her Twitter legendary often surfaces in Punisher’s heaviest moments, and maybe that’s part of what makes the album a source of hope rather than despair, for all its sorrow. In an interview with Amanda Petrusich in the lead-up to Punisher’s release, Bridgers joked, “Here’s my thing, for your emptiness.” Enjoy.

Dead Oceans released June 18th, 2020