Andrew Bird and Phoebe Bridgers must be pals now. From reinterpreting Emily Dickinson poems to covering Handsome Family classics, these two are already about 1/7th the way to making a whole album together. A very, very sad album. Happy holidays, everybody!
Their Dickinson jam just got a video, made in collaboration with the Emily Dickinson Museum and featuring handwritten transcripts and footage of Dickinson’s lifelong home. See where the magic happened! That sweet, lonely, revolutionary, poetic magic.
From the television series “Conversations With Friends” based on the novel by Sally Rooney, out now on Dead Oceans.
In the opening lines of the very first song I ever heard by Phoebe Bridgers, she sang, “Playing ‘would you rather’ / When it comes to fire / You always say that you’d prefer to drown,” setting up an evocative story about her house burning down when she was 19. These days, that idea no longer seems to bother her.
I’m not afraid of anything at all
Not dying in a fire
Not being broke again.
The glory of anti-anxiety medication, I guess.
“Sidelines” is apparently from some tv show on Hulu. If the song is any indication, it’s about zonked out people who don’t feel anything…until they meet somebody who inspires them “to want to go outside.” Seems like the pandemic has exacerbated the agoraphobia in just about everyone.
I’m not afraid of getting older
Used to fetishize myself
Now I’m talking to my houseplants.
Nothing wrong with that. Houseplants need love too.
Directed by Zoe Donahoe and Adam Sputh. From Quitters, due April 1 on Anti-.
Does this song sample Wilco’s “Born Alone” or just interpolate it? Either way, it’s a good use of a great riff.
I really like Christian Lee Hutson. He’s about 20 years younger than me but he reminds me of people I knew growing up. He just seems like somebody I would’ve hung out with. His lyrics are sad and funny and nostalgic and a little hopeful. And his melodic sensibilities and delivery reveal an appreciation of Elliott Smith, which gets me every time. I’ve been a fan since the first time I heard “Northsiders” with its references to Morrissey apologists and pretentious college kids.
Anti- is calling “Rubberneckers” the lead single from the upcoming album Quitters, so does that mean “Strawberry Lemonade” — released in November — was a standalone single? Doubtful. But whatever. Who knows what “lead single” means anyway. It can mean whatever you want it to mean, I guess, or it can mean nothing at all. Who cares, the song is good and the video is silly.
Hutson says, “The last time I danced was at the 8th grade social and it was mainly just swaying to ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’ but I wanted to showcase what a natural, gifted dancer I am.” Absolutely!
If you tell a lie for long enough
Then it becomes the truth.
I am gonna be okay someday
With or without you.
There’s nothing truer than the lies we tell ourselves.
Directed by Ally Pankiw. Single out now on Saddest Factory.
Is this any good? Or is it boring major label pop music that seems kinda cool because it’s super gay and features Phoebe Bridgers? I can’t tell anymore. A lot of people apparently have a lot to say about Haim, but does that make them interesting?
Muna released two albums on RCA and toured with Harry Styles before being picked up by Bridgers’ Saddest Factory imprint. Is this what passes for independent music these days?
The song is catchy enough.
Like life’s so fun, life’s so fun
Got my miniskirt and my rollerblades on
Bag on my side cause I’m out til dawn
Keeping it light like silk chiffon.
It’s refreshing in a pandemic, I guess, to keep things light and emphasize fun. The video is cute: Our hero gets sent to conversion therapy camp where she faces indoctrination until all the inmates escape to a rock and roll roadhouse gay bar. Yee haw!
Too bad they’re not selling those “straight is great” shirts in their merch store. Come on! Leaving money on the table.
I wonder if Bridgers’ verse that mentions “feeling anxious inside of the CVS” is a reference to her 2020 photo shoot for Rolling Stone in a CVS.
Like all well-crafted pop songs, the more you listen to “Silk Chiffon” the more it grows on you. Turns out it is pretty good after all.
Be honest. How excited would you be for a new Jackson Browne video if you hadn’t heard it features a cameo from Phoebe Bridgers playing a naughty nurse?
That’s alright. Whatever gets the eyeballs in the attention economy.
And it turns out the song is pretty good. Sounds just like a classic Jackson Browne song. Val McCallum plays guitar and there’s some nice lap steel by Greg Leisz, and Browne’s voice is still strong. He told Rolling Stone the lyrics were inspired by stumbling across Cleveland Heart, the place where they make artificial hearts: “I said, ‘Oh, I could use one of those!’”
As for Bridgers’ appearance in the video, Browne said, “I thought it was really appropriate to take out my worn-out, useless heart and hand it to Phoebe. Who better to hand [it] to than somebody young, strong, and possibly as cynical as me?”
Directed by Zoe Donahoe and Adam Sputh. From the Count the Stairs EP, due February 26. Single out now.
The kids are alright.
Charlie Hickey is 21. And he’s been writing songs since grade school. The story goes that he impressed Phoebe Bridgers when he was 13 by covering one of her songs. Eventually she introduced him to her drummer/ex-boyfriend Marshall Vore who collaborated with Hickey and produced his upcoming EP. It’s all about who you know, I guess, but it doesn’t hurt to write good songs and be able to perform them so effortlessly.
He went to college for a year before he dropped out to focus on his music, but it sounds like he was there long enough to capture the essence of the whole experience: “There’s not a problem here that can’t be solved with liquor, stickers, and strawberry Boone’s.”
Hickey describes how “Ten Feet Tall” came about:
“I was going to school at the time and was feeling quite alienated in this little world where everybody was instantly partying with their brand new best friends and fun came so naturally. I found solace in Marshall’s studio on the weekends. This was our first proper attempt at writing together and we were writing something really horrible. We were both kind of delirious and Marshall started singing the verse melody for the song as a joke, making fun of what we had been trying to write. But when I heard it, I said to him, ‘Wait, that’s the song that we’ve been trying to write.’ After that, we wrote the rest that night and recorded it the next day.”
And that’s all it takes!
The video makes me nostalgic. It was so much fun to be young and bored and goofy, hanging out with your crew and doing nothing, cracking each other up. Looking for excitement and never finding it.
Directed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. From Punisher, out now on Dead Oceans.
In a humorous yet not entirely unexpected move, indie darling Phoebe Bridgers has tapped the similarly named creator of the BBC hit series “Fleabag” to direct a music video. Phoebe Waller-Bridge directs Phoebe Bridgers. Get it? Ha ha.
I love this song. I love Elliott Smith. Phoebe Bridgers certainly doesn’t attempt to hide her love of Elliott Smith. On 2017’s Stranger in the Alps as soon as I heard the chorus of “Demi Moore” I was like, oh, this person loves Elliott Smith as much as I do. I was not wrong.
Bridgers has gone on the record as saying that Smith’s music is “like The Beatles to me, and I mean that in every way. If someone doesn’t like his music, I actually feel like I’m not going to agree with them about anything. It informs everything I like.”
The title track of her latest album features an imaginary conversation with Smith: “What if I told you I feel like I know you / But we never met?”
I get that.
It also contains the lines “Hear so many stories of you at the bar / Most times alone, and some looking your worst / But never not sweet to the trust funds and punishers.” If you’ve ever met one of your heroes and shamelessly gushed to them how much they mean to you until their eyes glazed over, you know what it’s like to be a punisher. We all try to be cool but it’s hard to shut off that valve once you start pouring your guts out.
In the summer of 1999 I talked my friend Marko Shafer into driving 1,000 miles with me from Los Angeles to Olympia, WA last minute to attend a DIY festival he knew little to nothing about called Yo Yo A Go Go. I was excited to see The Make Up, Thrones, Sleater-Kinney, Dead Moon but the main attraction was without a doubt Elliott Smith. But when we arrived at The Capitol Theater we learned that the show was sold out. Determined to get in despite the odds, I walked down the side alley of the theater and saw Elliott Smith standing by the back door. I shit you not. He was wearing a trucker hat that said “WHO’S THE BOSS?” and pulling from a cigarette as you’d expect him to be. I explained to him that my friend and I had drove all the way from Los Angeles to see him play but couldn’t buy tickets, in a way only a fan-dorking 19 year old could. To which he replied with something along the lines of “Well I’ve got two guest passes and no friends, wanna be my friend?” And like that he finished his smoke and led us in the back door. We walked past several bands who were setting up their gear, and Elliott asked “Who’s the boss” which immediately got the response as if on cue “you are Elliott!” Elliott then led us to the side of the stage where I sat for the entirety of his performance and shot this photo. You could hear a fuckin’ pin drop in that sold out theatre of 1500 people. Afterwards, we went to a bar with Elliott and chatted. I think it was my second time in a bar ever. He was beyond sweet, seemed generally interested in what I had to say. He was funny, intelligent and charming. One of the realest people I ever met and I feel lucky to have gotten a chance to be around him while he was here.
“Savior Complex” is Bridgers’ most Elliott Smith sounding song since “Demi Moore,” especially the way she sings “But I’m too tired to have a pissing contest…” It’s classic. And it’s great.
The video is cute too. Spoiler: The dog’s the protagonist.
Directed by Alissa Torvinen. From Punisher, out now on Dead Oceans.
Well at least now we know how Phoebe Bridgers keeps wearing those skeleton jammies without them disintegrating off of her body: She’s got a whole locker room full of them!
But that’s the only optimistic part of this whole video, which perfectly conveys the existential dread of life in during a pandemic. Keep washing your hands, but they’ll never get clean. You’re constantly haunted by ghosts of your past self and your dying future. And it all culminates in a completely socially distanced concert at an empty Los Angeles Coliseum.
The billboard said The End Is Near
I turned around there was nothing there
Yeah, I guess the end is here.
The final message seems to be: Kiss old age goodbye. Embrace death. We’re all doomed.
Directed by Nina Ljeti. From Punisher, out June 19 on Dead Oceans.
It’s got to be so hard being a musician right now with no way to tour to make any money. How do you even promote an upcoming release if you can’t assemble a crew and make a video?
Well, as we’re seeing, artists are getting creative and doing it themselves, working from home like the rest of us.
In Phoebe Bridgers’ new video, she gallivants around Japan without leaving the comfort of her jammies. Dead Oceans says the original plan was to shoot the video on location, but who needs that hassle when you’ve got a green screen and some old Godzilla footage? Plus, you know, the whole global pandemic situation…
The only evidence of potential social distancing violations is a little hiccup with the person holding the fan who accidentally gets into the shot. They’re fired!
Day off in Kyoto, got bored at the temple
Looked around at the 7-11.
The band took the speed train, went to the arcade
I wanted to go but I didn’t.
Bridgers says, “This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.”
We love your ballads, Phoebe Bridgers, but this is good too!
Directed by Jackson Bridgers. Single out now on Dead Oceans.
Phoebe Bridgers is the best. I’m a sucker for sad sack dad rock, and Bridgers isn’t exactly that, but she ticks all the boxes that make me love Elliott Smith, Wilco, and Phosphorescent so much. Her 2017 album, Stranger in the Alps, has been in heavy rotation on CarPlay in my Subaru since she released the video for “Killer” and I realized how amazing she was.
Since then she’s released collaborations with boygenius (with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker) and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst) and sang a song with the guy from the National (which I meant to share but never got to it…it’s pretty good!). She also produced an album by Christian Lee Hutson and the two songs that have been released from that so far are both amazing.
So yeah, I’ve been excited to hear new solo material and “Garden Song” is a tasty appetizer.
And when I grow up I’m gonna look up
From my phone and see my life