MJ Lenderman – “Hangover Game”

MJ Lenderman – “Hangover Game”

When Jake Lenderman is not playing guitar in the incendiary Asheville indie rock band Wednesday, he’s releasing his own Southern-fried indie tracks under the name MJ Lenderman. He’s about to follow up his excellent 2020 debut Ghost Of Your Guitar Solo with a new LP called Boat Songs, dropping in late April via Dear Life.

Having heard Boat Songs already, I can confirm that it rules, especially if you’re a fan of acts like Jason Molina, Uncle Tupelo and its offshoots, Pinegrove, or just about any of the rootsy indie rock that has emerged in Neil Young’s wake. But you don’t need me to tell you how good it is; all you need to do is listen to opening track “Hangover Game,” inspired by the Michael Jordan docuseries The Last Dance. The chords are chunky, the leads are twangy, the rhythm is rambling, and Lenderman’s vocal cuts through the mix with just the right balance of earnest excitement and downtrodden weariness.

Here’s Lenderman on the song’s genesis:

Michael Jordan’s illness in the legendary game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals is generally attributed to the flu. However Michael’s security guards and trainer suggest in The Last Dance docuseries that he was actually intentionally poisoned by a bad pizza made by Utah Jazz fans. Another less popular theory is that MJ was hungover after partying and playing poker — one person says he was at Robert Redford’s chalet, another says he was in Vegas — all night before the game. I liked the idea of the latter theory so I wrote a song about it. Remember that I am no detective, just a songwriter and whatever really happened in Utah, Jordan still dropped 38 points and won the game.

Below, watch the “Hangover Game” video, directed by Wednesday’s Karly Hartzman.

01 “Hangover Game”
02 “You Have Bought Yourself A Boat”
03 “TLC Cage Match”
04 “Toontown”
05 “SUV”
06 “Under Control”
07 “Dan Marino”
08 “You Are Every Girl To Me”
09 “Tastes Just Like It Costs”
10 “Six Flags”

Boat Songs is out 4/29 on Dear Life Records. Pre-order it here.

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