Sea Lion – “Ghostlands” (Stereogum Premiere)
The wind sounds a certain way at the beach. It doesn’t sound like any other wind on Earth; it’s a special waft, heavy with saltiness and fierce possibility. Linn Osterberg’s voice is like that, but gentler. She casts her melodies out with slow, plaintive hopefulness, like fishing line into the great deep. On her new album as Sea Lion, Desolate Stars, Osterberg investigates the cosmos through the telescope of herself. Out in August, this record is her debut full-length, following two initial releases from last year, Big Moon EP (Early Songs) and Cobra Eyes EP.
“Ghostlands” is the second song she’s shared off the new album — the slurring, probing “Room” came out a couple weeks back — and we’re premiering it today. It sounds like the skeleton of an old Cat Power song submerged in a wetsuit. It sounds like the whirring that comes out of a seashell when you put it up to your ear. It’s impossible to think of this as anything but an underwater folk song. “Ghostlands” coasts on wind, waves, and spray, the chance delicacy of water hanging in a vast, enormous force. Imagining the source of this song as a lone sea lion heavy with maternal blubber is easier than attributing it to the slim, big-eyed Swedish woman who actually gave it to us. Osterberg is an incisive force, convincing me that the real locus of power can be found in restraint instead of hysteria; vulnerability, not brassy pomp. Listen.
Here’s the tracklist for the album:
02 “He Wears A Smile”
03 “If My Baby”
06 “Baby’s Town”
08 “Desolate Star”
Desolate Stars is out 8/28 via Turnstile. Pre-order it here.