Free Cake For Every Creature – “All You Gotta Be When You’re 23″ (Stereogum Premiere)

I’m starting to get a little freaked out about turning 23 in two months. It feels like the first year that I won’t have an “anchor” — this past year has been all about graduating and moving to a new city, and all of the rest of them were tied up in college or high school, and had some sort of structure or end goal. But 23 is the year where things feel like they start to get real. There are no major life events left — except for, like, death and maybe marriage — so what comes next? Katie Bennett, the songwriter and voice behind Free Cake For Every Creature, recently went through the same transition. Her new tape, Moving Songs, is made up of tracks that were written during the move from her college town of Saratoga Springs to Philadelphia and, luckily for me, it sounds like a comforting beacon of hope for those who don’t know where they’re going to end up.

Moving Songs sees Bennett returning to the muted strumming of her early solo work, before the release of her fantastic full-band debut last year. It’s appropriate for this set of songs, which sound like they were all made in transit, written during hidden moments found between uprooting your life from place to place. “All You Gotta Be When You’re 23″ opens with some dialogue from the 1994 cult film Reality Bites, which is all about feeling displaced and not knowing exactly how you’re supposed to start being an adult. “I was really gonna be something by the age of 23,” a young Winona Ryder mourns wistfully. Ethan Hawke responds: “Honey, all you have to be by the time you’re 23 is yourself.”

Bennett prescribes to the latter line of reasoning, at least most of the time. She turns Hawke’s advice into a catchy, self-affirming mantra, and paints her move to a new city in vivid color: “Shaky footing ’til ya kiss me/ Now I’m Philadelphia crushing, walking miles with my honey just for fun.” It’s the antithesis of Blink-182’s infamous “no one likes you when you’re 23,” a reflection on all of the hope and opportunity for self-expression that comes with independence and adulthood. “Do I settle down or keep moving?” she asks, and later answers her own question: “It’s all good.” Listen below.

Tour Dates (all w/ Trace Mountains):
3/26 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium w/ Florist & Told Slant
3/27 New Paltz, NY @ Team Love
3/28 Saratoga Springs, NY @ Spring St Gallery
3/29 Hudson, NY @ Spotty Dog
3/30 Poughkeepsie, NY @ Vassar College
3/31 New Brunswick, NJ @ Circuit City

Moving Songs is out 3/31 via Double Double Whammy. Preorder the tape here.