These days, Palehound, Ellen Kempner’s Boston-based indie rock trio, are pretty busy. A few months ago, they released Black Friday, their great new album. Tomorrow night, they begin a month-long tour with Big Thief. And today, without any forewarning, they’ve released a new single with two new songs: One heart-stopping new track and one cover of an indie classic.
The new song, “Your Boyfriend’s Gun,” is a hushed, quiet, eerily beautiful track built out of acoustic guitars and humming organs. Kempner sings about a terrifying situation: “You think he’s playing, and it’s all in fun / As I’m staring down the barrel of your boyfriend’s gun,” and it doesn’t seem like she’s being metaphorical. The song absolutely tingles with stillness and fear. It will get to you.
The cover is a very different song. “Autumn Sweater” is the highlight of Yo La Tengo’s near-perfect 1997 album I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, and it’s probably the single greatest indie rock makeout anthem of all time. The Palehound version of the song is pretty faithful — similar droning organ, similar motorik percussion-patter — but Kempner’s sighed vocals give it a whole different dimension. Listen to both songs below.
“Your Boyfriend’s Gun” and that “Autumn Sweater” cover are out now on Polyvinyl.