Will Butler has been playing with Arcade Fire for upwards of a decade, and he’s evidently spent some time thinking about how he’d present himself if and when he ever went solo. Yesterday, Butler released Policy, his first-ever solo album. Last night, he was the musical guest on the Late Show With David Letterman. And watching that performance, it’s clear that he thought long and hard about how he’d approach the whole thing. There was the unconventional backing band: Keyboardist, stand-up drummer, two backup singers, no bass, no guitar besides his own. There was the tuxedo and the slash of hair across his face. And there was the song: “Take My Side,” a punk song shot through with ’60s girl-group harmonies, played with basement-hardcore intensity. We don’t often hear guitar that sounds that scrambled on late-night TV. It’s a hell of a performance, and you can watch it below.
Policy is out now on Merge.