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This week at Beggars....March 4-8

This week, The National announced that their new album I Am Easy To Find will be released May 17th via 4AD, and shared the opening track “You Had Your Soul With You” which features the vocals of long-time David Bowie collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey. I Am Easy To Find is the band’s eighth studio album and the follow-up to 2017’s GRAMMY®-award winning release Sleep Well Beast.

The album features vocal contributions from Sharon Van Etten, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle, Kate Stables and more. A companion short film with the same name will also be released with music by The National and inspired by the album. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Mike Mills (20th Century Women, Beginners), and starring Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander. More film details to be released at a later date. Mills, along with the band, is credited as co-producer of the album, which was mostly recorded at Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY with additional sessions in Paris, Berlin, Cincinnati, Austin, Dublin, Brooklyn.

Having already announced A Very Special Evening with The National, five events happening this April in Paris, London, New York, Toronto and LA, the band has also announced a world tour beginning this June with Courtney Barnett and Alvvays opening on select dates.

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SOAK – a/k/a Bridie Monds-Watson – has released a video for “Déjà Vu”, the lead single from her anticipated second album Grim Town, which will be released on April 26th on Rough Trade Records. Bridie has also been confirmed to appear at this year’s SXSW in addition to further US dates and global shows.

Director Brother Willis – whose credits include recent videos for Parquet Courts and Beirut – calls the “Déjà Vu” video “a looping, nonsensical, Lynchian dream,” and explains further that his goal “was to make a disconnected and confusing performance video, one that recasts Bridie as both performer, then observer, and back and forth in dreamlike messiness.”

“Déjà Vu” is a further window into SOAK’s hugely-accomplished second album Grim Town, which follows the success of Bridie’s multi-prize-winning 2015 debut album Before We Forgot How To Dream. Its central premise, says the still-just-22-year-old, is “a dystopia that I’ve created in my brain: me on the inside, processed into a pretend location. The way I could wrap my head around a lot of what I was going through was to make it feel like something quite physical and real. Once I had the idea of the album being an actual location, exploring the dynamics of this town and what it would look or sound like felt like the right way to give my mental state a personality.”

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Following the release of singles “Viktor Borgia” and “Rushing The Acid Frat,” Stephen Malkmus has shared a third track off of Groove Denied (out March 15th on Matador Records), the psychedelic Eastern-inspired (is that a sitar!?) “Come Get Me” and its accompanying lyric video. Despite the predominant 80s-minimal-synth and industrial influences on much of the rest of Groove Denied, “Come Get Me” is a bit closer to Malkmus’s comfort zone: “warped psych,” as he terms it, that avant-garage tradition of dirty guitars and ramshackle grooves — except in this case, it’s one person pretending to be a band — but the illusion is pulled of magnificently on the loose ’n swinging new song.

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