Los Angeles folk artist Shannon Lay recently announced her first album for Sub Pop, August. Appropriately, it’s coming out next month, but in fact the title references the month in 2017 when Lay began to fully devote herself to her artistic growth and liberation.
Her first two offerings from the new record were a Karen Dalton cover, “Something On Your Mind,” and the billowy “Nowhere.” Today the singer-songwriter is sharing the first song from August’s tracklist.
“Death Up Close” is a stark, grounded introduction. Lay’s gentle ruminations and guitar strums steadily blend into an eerie climax of saxophone and strings. The sax is played by none other than Mikal Cronin, as Lay explains in a press release: “I had this idea of the violin ascending. Then Mikal Cronin came in with the saxophone and just blew me away. I love the idea of building a song like that, take people by surprise.” As for the lyrics, “I wanted to recognize that everyone else is going through something and reflect on that. Don’t be so close-minded to think you’re the only one who’s got issues, in fact, find comfort in the thought that everyone is on their own journey.”
Watch the song’s eerie, Simpsons-indebted music video below.
August is out 8/23 via Sub Pop. Pre-order it here.