Already heralded as one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year, 25-year old singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has confirmed details of her sophomore solo album, Punisher, to be released on Dead Oceans on June 19th. Details of the album comes just weeks after she released the haunting first track, “Garden Song” in February. Today’s announcement comes replete with another video – for brand new single “Kyoto” – a song she wrote following her first trip to Japan in February 2019. Bridgers will perform “Kyoto” on the 4/9 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! – live from her Los Angeles’ bathroom.
The initial plan for the “Kyoto” video was to shoot in Japan in March 2020. When the trip was canceled – for obvious reasons – the video was completed with green screen in Los Angeles. Says Bridgers of the track, “This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.”
Bridgers released her debut album in 2017 as a relatively unknown singer-songwriter living in Los Angeles. A little over two years later, she’s become an internationally lauded musician with three acclaimed bodies of work to her name: her solo debut, Stranger In The Alps, the boygenius EP with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus in 2018, and Better Oblivion Community Center, a surprise collaboration with Conor Oberst, in 2019.
Bridgers is a singular talent, and also the rare artist with enough humor to deconstruct the tired heuristics of a meteoric rise. Punisher, written and recorded between the summer of 2018 and the fall of 2019, cements her as one of the most irresistibly clever and tenderly prolific songwriters of our era. Returning to work with her Stranger In The Alps collaborators Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, Bridgers – who co-produced the boygenius EP and Better Oblivion Community Center album – stepped into the role of co-producer for Punisher and has drawn from the same tight-knit group of musicians who appeared on her debut as well as those she has worked with since.
The album includes Bridgers’ band of Marshall Vore (drums), Harrison Whitford (guitar), Emily Retsas (bass) and Nick White (piano) as well as performances from Conor Oberst (“Halloween”, “I Know The End”), Lucy Dacus (“Graceland Too”, “I Know The End”), Julien Baker (“Graceland Too”, “I Know The End”), Blake Mills (“Halloween”, “Savior Complex” and “I Know The End”), Jenny Lee Lindberg (“Kyoto”, “ICU”), Christian Lee Hutson (“Garden Song”, “Halloween”, “Savior Complex”, “I Know The End”), Nick Zinner (“I Know The End”), legendary drummer Jim Keltner (“Halloween” and “Savior Complex”) and Bright Eyes’ Nathaniel Walcott on horns (“Kyoto” and “I Know The End”). Punisher was mixed by Mike Mogis, who also mixed Stranger In The Alps.
Photo credit: Frank Ockenfels