What is America?

Wednesday is for Apocalypse Lovers

And no, we're not talking about whatever entry that was in the increasingly tortured X-Men cinematic universe. No, we have a pair of songs from longtime MMS favorites that are suitably eschatologically-themed for release during a pandemic.

First up, we have Phoebe Bridgers. Since 2017, she's rocketed from indie breakout to in-demand producer and uber-collaborator, releasing albums with Conor Oberst as Better Oblivion Community Center and with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker as boygenius. She just dropped a new album, Punisher, which doesn't involve any Death's Heads but does pack a mighty lyrical and sonic wallop. The concluding track, "I Know the End", is a fictionalized account of a real road trip through California, where she witnessed both the pinnacle of human achievement in a Space X launch and the dystopian wasteland parts of America have become. The song is 2 1/2 minute of the sweetly sparse indie folk for which Phoebe is known, followed by a slow-churning and symphonic crescendo worthy of The National or another Sufjan Stevens concept album. It's an astonishing, horn-drenched journey through the tinfoil-hat universe, with breathless production values that call to mind exquisitely crafted albums like Death Cab's Directions or Depeche Mode's Black Celebration



Next up we have a heaping helping of Canadian blue-eyed soul from Basia Bulat. She released a new album, Are You in Love?, as we were settling into the "new normal" near the end of March. The final track on this album is appropriately named "Love is at the End of the World". Returning to a formula that worked so well on her 2016 album, Good Advice, Basia collaborated with Jim James to add some organ-driven psychedelic girl group groove to her sound. This is a song you listen to turned up to full blast with the top down on a dusty back road late on a too-hot July afternoon.

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