Fred Thomas is the kind of songwriter who reorders your universe if you hear his music at the right moment, and for me, that moment arrived last night at the Brooklyn DIY venue Palisades. Watching Thomas perform completely alone to a small but silent audience felt bone-stripping, making each one of his tongue-in-cheek references cut twice as deep. Though Thomas’ songs narrate inane intricacies of daily life at breakneck speed, the small situations he conjures often speak to more universal feelings of unease. “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II,” from Thomas’ new All Are Saved, is a heavy, contempt-fueled discussion of power dynamics. It conveys a sentiment rather than a straightforward message, small pieces of passing scenery jutting out like misplaced limbs. “Life is so incredibly long, like a kiss on a bridge between two nervous-ass kids, terrified of doing everything wrong/ Fickle, belligerent, fully-existent.” When Thomas played this track last night, the room was so quiet that it felt frigid, despite the fact that the A/C wasn’t on and everyone in the surrounding crowd was so sweaty that we, as a collective, smelled rank. In less than two minutes, “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II” breaks your heart and puts it back together again with its defiant and declarative conclusion, “Nobody’s safe from the law because they don’t give a fuck/ They don’t give a fuck about us.” All of Thomas’ songs are intimate and earnest, with any hint at self-reverence dampened by his acerbic delivery, and this new video for “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II” perfectly illustrates his dichotomous persona. Joel Rakowski directs; Watch below.
05/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Lava Space
05/13 Raleigh, NC @ Neptunes
05/14 Asheville, NC @ Tiger Mountain
05/15 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
05/16 Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
05/17 Louisville, KY @ The New Vintage
05/19 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
06/25 Seattle, WA @ Therapy
06/26 Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
06/27 Guerneville, CA @ Deathstock
06/28 Guerneville, CA @ Deathstock
06/29 Oakland, CA @ 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
06/30 Los Angeles, CA @ Pehrspace
All Are Saved is out now via Polyvinyl.