Bachelor—the collaborative project of Palehound’s Ellen Kempner and Jay Som’s Melina Duterte—release their highly-anticipated debut album, Doomin’ Sun, via Polyvinyl Record Co., Lucky Number and Milk! Records today! With an ominous eye to extreme fandom, the duo has also released their new “Back Of My Hand” video, directed by Ellen Kempner.
The band shares: “For the “Back Of My Hand” video, we wanted more than anything to make something fun given the limited time and options available due to the current pandemic. Ultimately deciding to put Ellen in the director’s chair as well as film at her home with a skeleton crew. Our final single is about the dark side of fandom and we wanted to exaggerate that as much as possible in our video concept. When it came to choosing an artist to obsess over we quickly chose Harry Styles as we both are truly big fans!”
To celebrate the album release they have also announced Doomin’ Sun Fest, a massive, free/donation-based livestream festival + telethon to benefit and uplift Seeding Sovereignty. The festival will take place on June 10 starting at 6pm ET., and features the likes of Tegan & Sara, Courtney Barnett, Benjamin Gibbard, Sylvan Esso, Adrianne Lenker (Big Thief), Jeff Tweedy, Japanese Breakfast, Julien Baker, Tank And The Bangas and more.
Today, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Watchhouse – the critically acclaimed roots music duo who until recently were known as Mandolin Orange – announce their new self-titled album Watchhouse, out August 13 on Tiptoe Tiger Music / Thirty Tigers. With the change of name comes an artistic rebirth: While still firmly rooted in poetic Appalachian folk, there’s a sonic adventurousness informed by American primitivism and ambient soundscapes that gives Marlin and Frantz’s songs a new, unknowable allure. Watchhouse is audacious, spectral music that wrestles with and finds magic in the relationships we build with our families, our society, our planet, and ourselves.
Produced by Andrew Marlin and Josh Kaufman — who has produced records for The National and Bonny Light Horseman, and also played on Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore — Watchhouse, as the name change suggests, is a reinvention. These nine songs are both personal and political, touching upon Marlin and Frantz’s newfound parenthood as well as climate change and caustic online interactions as they parse out how to live a kinder, more decent life on their own terms.
To create the album, Watchhouse decamped to Smith Mountain Lake, a sprawling hideaway at the foot of the Appalachians. Kaufman urged Marlin and Frantz to approach the process with new eyes and throw out their old conceptions about what their music sounds like. Alongside drummer Joe Westerlund, guitarist Josh Oliver, and bassist Clint Mullican, Marlin and Frantz broke loose, surprising themselves as they indulged in novel structures and textures. “Belly Of The Beast” is an astral waltz, while “Better Way” shifts from nimble harmonies to an acoustic drone. “Beautiful Flowers” is a particular highlight: A sparse elegy for a butterfly crushed by an car windshield that ponders industry and environmental degradation, it climaxes with funereal horns and Frantz’s affecting vocal.
Alongside the album announcement, Watchhouse also share the music video for “New Star,” a song about familial solidarity and self-sacrifice that is plain-spoken but vital. Directed by Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, the video centers on the almost instinctual rituals of our lives that tie us to our various communities: children playing, friends sharing a cigarette, families gathering for dinner. After a year that forced many of us apart, it’s a reminder of the joys we are just beginning to return to and the strength we draw from each other.
“We’re different people than when we started this band,” Marlin says, reflecting on all these shifts. “We’re setting new intentions, taking control of this thing again.”
Watchhouse have also announced new tour dates starting in June:
Watchhouse Tour Schedule
6/5 & 6/6 – The Caverns – Pelham, TN
6/17 to 6/20 – Telluride Bluegrass Festival – Telluride, CO %
6/25 to 6/26 – Bluegrass in the Bottoms – Kansas City, MO %
Bachelor—the collaborative project of Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner—will release its debut album Doomin’ Sun on May 28th via Polyvinyl Record Co. (North America), Lucky Number (ROW) and Milk! Records (AUS/NZ). To celebrate the album release they have also announced Doomin’ Sun Fest, a massive livestream festival / telethon to benefit and uplift Seeding Sovereignty. The festival will take place on June 10 starting at 6pm ET., and will be followed by a virtual afterparty inside the 3D social game Hotel Hideaway.
Created as a chance to gather for “Community, Compassion, Climate, and Celebration,” Doomin’ Sun Fest will be FREE to attend, but donations to Seeding Sovereignty will be highly encouraged. The organization is an Indigenous-led collective working to radicalize and disrupt colonized spaces through land, body, and food sovereignty work, community building, and cultural preservation.
Melina & Ellen will live-host Doomin’ Sun Fest, which will culminate in the first ever Bachelor concert, shot and directed by Haoyan Of America with designer Richie Brown, powered by HIFI Labs. “Basically we just wanna have fun celebrating our album release, raise funds for Seeding Sovereignty, and get people excited about donating and opening their hearts to themes of the fest – the “4 C’s” as we call them – that are driving this endeavor,” note Ellen and Melina.
Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief
Alexis from Sleigh Bells w/ Young Women Who Crush
Alynda Segarra (Hurray For The Riff Raff)
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Jessi Frick of Father Daughter Records
Jose James + Taali
Kero Kero Bonito
KR from Decolonize UnConference
Tank & the Bangas
Tegan and Sara