Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laura Gibson has announced that her new album, Goners, will be released on October 26, 2018 via City Slang.
Goners found its name in the first line she wrote in the bleak beginning of 2017: “If we’re already goners, why wait any longer, for something to crack open”. That line became a lyric in the title track. It also became a sort of mantra. “I’d known for a long time that I wanted to make a record about grief. In some ways, every song I’ve ever written has something to do with grief. This time around, I felt compelled to stare into the abyss. ‘Goners’ seemed an apt title because it speaks of both the future and the past. The word is used for two types of people: those who lose themselves in the ones they love, and those whose deaths are imminent.”
Much of Goners explores the loss of her father as a teenager, and her wrestling with the decision of whether or not to become a parent herself. “My days are charged. Potential future grief forces me to reckon with past grief. These were two points on a map of grief. I wanted to explore the territory between them.” Her lyrics are populated with sharp objects: a needle, a thistle, a sickle, a scythe, claws and animal teeth. “I wanted the songs to feel like fables, to unfold with dream logic.”
This is the first record Gibson has made after completing a MFA in writing, and her language has never felt more alive, her storytelling sharper, her imagination looser. It is a record for thinkers and feelers, for the fierce and also the weary, and despite its darkness, she has succeeded in making a work of radical hope.
Gibson co-produced Goners with engineer and friend John Askew, with whom she’d also collaborated on her 2016 album, Empire Builder, in his Portland, OR, studio. The songs began as simple demos, but Gibson kept returning to the studio to tinker, until she realized these demos had become a record. She ditched her guitar on half the songs, and instead played piano and Wurlitzer. Gibson enlisted a number of long time collaborators, including guitarist/synth extraordinaire Dave Depper (Death Cab for Cutie), drummer and found-sound percussionist Dan Hunt (Neko Case), and stand-up bassist Nate Query (The Decemberists); then built horn and woodwind arrangements with Kelly Pratt (St. Vincent and David Byrne, Father John Misty) and imaginative string parts with Kyleen King (Stephen Malkmus, Case/Lang/Veirs).
Along with the album’s announcement, Gibson has shared a first single, as well as news that she will be playing London’s Southbank Centre this November 13th. “The songs I wrote for ‘Goners’ all circle around the theme of grief, and the intimacy of shared loss” she explains. ““Tenderness” reflects on the ways we project pain, lash out, or become cracked open by the immediacy of another person. The act of holding each others’ trauma and grief, is both miraculous and messy. When we’re young, we adopt certain strategies for seeking and receiving tenderness. Much of adulthood is spent dismantling those strategies, and drawing new ones. I wanted to write about that dismantlement.”
Listen to “Tenderness” below:
Goners artwork (by Katrina Kepule) & tracklisting:
1. I Carry Water
3. Slow Joke Grin
10. I Don’t Want Your Voice To Move Me