New Music Monday - Smoke Signals by Phoebe Bridgers

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

Dickens wrote those words nearly 160 years ago, but they ring every bit as true today. Last year shaped up as both a banner year for outstanding music, and an annus horribilis as so many of our musical heroes shuffled off this mortal coil. Combine that with political and civil unrest in America and many other places in the world, an era of fake news and alternative facts, and it's a time of uncertainty for our way of life the likes of which few living have known.

It's against this backdrop that Los Angeles-based Phoebe Bridgers has released the video for her new single "Smoke Signals". The song has earned breathless praise from NPR Music and Stereogum with good reason. As sweeping in sound as it is exacting in detail, "Smoke Signals" is a love song every bit as unsettling as its video. Written in a cabin outside Ketchum, Idaho (coincidentally, where Hemingway committed suicide), the song evokes comparisons to the florid imagery and naked vulnerability of early Bon Iver and Ingrid Michaelson.

Phoebe Bridgers on MetroMusicScene
Photo courtesy of Frank Ockenfels