Three years ago, Tamara Lindeman released her most recent album as the Weather Station. A stunning self-titled collection, it felt as if it was the culmination of everything Lindeman had been building towards on preceding releases. We named it one of the best albums of 2017, and we also ranked its standout track, the brilliant “Thirty,” as one of the best of the decade. Given the fact that The Weather Station felt as if it would lead Lindeman towards a new chapter artistically, and given the high level at which she was operating, it was easy to look forward and wonder what she’d do next. We’re about to find out.
Today, Lindeman has announced her signing to Fat Possum and has shared a new song as well. It’s called “Robber,” and here’s what she had to say about it:
I think in my life I’ve been pretty naive, always tried to see the good in everyone (still do), always tried to make do with what is and not think of what can’t be (still do). But those attitudes are dangerous when applied at a societal level, especially at this moment in time. I think we’re all in denial a bit, about where we are, and what is happening, because it’s easier on some level, easier to try and make do with what’s missing than to see what’s missing. I think it’s hard to believe in the robber, hard to even see the robber; it’s easier to try and make love to or glamorize the robber. It hurts too much otherwise. To put it straight; there are real human people who are literally robbing us and all future generations of all of everything that matters, right now. But we literally can’t see that as a society, because for one thing we’ve been taught not to value what is taken, and for another because we’ve been taught to glamorize and love the taker. We love to love the taker. We don’t know how to see the victim of the taking.
Look, even if you loved the recent Weather Station albums as much as we did, you are not prepared for “Robber.” It marks a whole new sound for Lindeman, one based in tension-building jazz rhythms and disembodied saxophones and slow-then-all-encompassing melodies; she’s abandoned any remaining vestiges of folk for an elusive strain of rock music here. “Robber” blew me away the first time I heard it and it is, frankly, an incredible song. Check it out below.
“Robber” also marks Lindeman’s first foray into directing; Jared Raab shot it based on Lindeman’s concept, in a forest near where she grew up. Lindeman also offered some thoughts behind the video:
Throughout the video is a thread of denial, of people performing their roles even when nothing seems to make sense, and nothing is quite right, and we are quite literally lost in the woods; which feels like a pretty perfect summation of our year so far. From an emotional and mood standpoint, I wanted the video to feel like how 2020 does to me; steeped in a sort of omnipresent unease and a threat of distant violence, even as life goes on, performers perform, dancers dance, food couriers seek addresses. The threat is felt only by some characters, while others are curiously unaffected, seeming not even to notice. I wanted to capture the disorientation of participating in capitalism and performance in general, where it can feel like power and co-option, self actualization and violation, sometimes all at once.
“Robber” is out now on Fat Possum.