The ‘Gum Drop XCV: Hear New Tiny Vipers, Win Wilco Goods

Next week, Jesy Fortino, aka Seattle’s Tiny Vipers, is releasing her second Sub Pop full length, Life On Earth. Building up and clarifying what we loved about her debut Hands Across The Void, it’s one of the year’s best. We already posted Life’s “Dreamer,” now take a listen to the stunning, heartbreaking “Development.” To add resonance to the track, read her thoughtful responses to our queries about loss and growth, both spiritual and spatial, via the ghosts of small towns and loved ones. We didn’t have room for all of her words in the Drop, but you can see them here in their entirety.

STEREOGUM: What inspired “Development”? There’s a connection between urban development and the disappearance of a person.

JESY FORTINO: I grew up in a place surrounded by mountains and woods. When I was younger I used to hang out in the woods a lot. I still go back there to hang out and walk around. Each time I go there is less and less woods. They are building condos everywhere around Seattle now. Condos and gross Wal-Marts and Fred Meyers. I remember when I lived out there it was dark at night. You would look up at the mountains and they would be menacing and black. It is special to feel like you live at the edge of the world. You could run out at night and get lost in those woods. People would disappear there. Now I go to some of these parts and there are huge condos all the way up. And street lights. It is hard to accept that these places are gone. And with them being gone comes a new variable: The dark mysterious cold woods can be turned into Wal-Mart. Sometimes it feels like the world is moving away from the places I drew hope and spiritual inspiration from. And it is moving so fast it is hard to adapt to. It’s hard to find new sources of this mystery and darkness. The evil witches and monsters that hid in those woods at night when I was a kid are nothing in comparison to the terror there now. The inspiration for “Development” comes from this: What does it mean to long for places that no longer exist? Even the bad places.

STEREOGUM: The album opens with the question “Do you remember when the world was still young / Just a small town..” How important are the themes of “small towns” and “impermanence” to Life On Earth? There’s a lot of drifting — people drifting to different towns, but also people drifting away in death, etc.

JESY FORTINO: I am not sure how personal to be in an interview, but I feel like it is important to be honest. I lost some important people when I was younger. When they died I couldn’t stand staying in the town we lived in so I left. I just sort of wandered away with nothing. I was scared to leave my life there and everything I knew, but it was to hard to stay. It was too painful. Now that I’m older I have accepted their death, but when I return to the town, the town is totally different. It’s been developed and looks like any other place. The place I left can never be returned to… And this is a cycle that I feel I relive so many times. And maybe other people do too. That is what a lot of this record is about I guess. The feelings that come from this.


Life on Earth is out 7/7 via Sup Pop.


In this weeks’ Drop, we also offered the chance to win a Wilco vinyl prize pack: 3 2xLP+CD reissues, Wilco (The Album), plus a limited-edition poster. Courtesy of Insound, one winner gets the three 180 gram double vinyl reissues of A.M., Summer Teeth, and Being There (each comes with a CD) plus the new Wilco (The Album) on vinyl and a limited-edition post by Jason Munn of The Small Stakes created exclusively for Insound.


This is the poster (click for enlarged PDF):

Enter to win. Also, just in time for summer, you still have a few days left to win a pair of MOSCOT sunglasses.