Still from Bill Callahan's "Last One At The Party" video showing Coyote asleep in "Bite me" socks.

New Bill Callahan: Last One At The Party

Video: Bill Callahan – “Last One At The Party”

Directed by Mikey Kampmann and Anthony Gasparro. From YTILAER, out now on Drag City.

I love it when artists don’t play the typical music release promotion game. Normally, first you see a single released out of nowhere, and then a few weeks later you get another single released with the album announcement, and then a few weeks later another single comes out on the album release date. The conventional wisdom is that this will build up anticipation for the album and keep it on people’s minds leading to big first-week sales. Maybe it even works sometimes.

Bill Callahan’s YTILAER came out last October but “Last One At The Party” is its first official video. (Yes, a “lyric video” was created for “Coyotes” but that’s not the same; lyric videos mean the label didn’t want to put the money up to produce a real video.)

It was worth the wait. The video is great. Drag City says it “shows a man way out there on an island of his own that sits right at the heart of humanity. We find ourselves riding alongside on one of his perfect, perfected days. His life and mind belong to him, and if there’s nowhere to put them, then that’s where he’ll go. Every day holds the potential of being wild in the wilderness. Never let the party die!”

While the video is fun and a little silly, the song itself is not. Callahan has said it’s about his friend David Berman who took his own life in 2019. “It’s hard to write a song about anyone that you love so much when they’re gone, but I really felt like I had to. I was obligated to do something, just for myself. And I tried to keep it as brief as possible, and that’s why that song is also very unadorned–there’s no horns or overdubs or backup singers.”

If you met him in the hallway
You just had to go toe to toe
Eyes like typewriters
Held all the poetry you’ll ever know.

It’s a lovely tribute.

Bill Callahan: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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