Today Widowspeak announce their new album Plum, to be released August 28. Along with the announcement, the band share “Money”: the record’s hypnotic second single.
“Will you get back what you put in?” Hamilton asks over an insistent guitar riff, a line delivered with a playful knowingness. “Money” considers whether this is, in fact, the world we want to live in: a world that increasingly sees monetization as the greatest goal, even at such great expense to ourselves, and especially our future. What does it mean to contribute? And what is the cost of “selling out”?
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we tell ourselves in order to ‘forget’ the toll of our collective actions: whatever makes it easier to forgive what we’re complicit in. Some of that is related to the environment and how people have trained themselves to tune out ‘environmentalist propaganda’. We made part of the video at a park in Kingston, NY and the archival footage is mostly pulled from films aimed at employees or shareholders of various industries. The narration for many of them (forestry, agriculture, mining, energy) was surprisingly concerned with the dangers of an environment out of balance… Shows you that we haven’t learned much in the last 70 years. On the other hand, the lyrics are also about capitalism and how it trains us to see everything in terms of value, even our experiences, and we get so caught up in seeking some sort of return on investment that we ignore the damage we inflict (on people, on ourselves, on the planet).”
This follows the release of the album’s first single “Breadwinner,” a track “as spare and breathy and beautiful as anything they’ve released” (Stereogum), and “a gorgeous delivery of a troubled reality’ (Jezebel). It’s a song about shared burdens in life and love, and hoping that there’s something transcendent, honest in whatever it is to work.
On Plum, Widowspeak continue to expand on the shared visions they’ve explored across five albums, delving deeper into what was always there: dusty guitars, ear-worm melodies, warm expansive arrangements. In the decade since forming they’ve garnered praise from top outlets, with The New York Times saying “…their music keeps opening up new spaces” and NPR noting the duo’s ability to “fuse lightness and darkness like few others.” Recorded over a handful of weekends last winter by Sam Evian (Cass McCombs, Kazu Makino, Hannah Cohen) at his Flying Cloud studio in the Catskills, and mixed by Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, Perfume Genius), Plum was finished up just as the start of spring signaled something, everything was changing. Hamilton’s lyrics speak to the unique turmoil of anyone who creates as their work, who must somehow survive off the “fruits of their labor.” With its release, Widowspeak have brought something into the world that seems to know its own worth, even as it wonders aloud about what is to come.