Bartees Strange - Province / Ever New
TV on the Radio's "Province" and Beverly Glenn-Copeland's "Ever New" were released more than 20 years apart, with little in common sonically, but here, they're intrinsically linked as studies in formative musical heroes for artists with dazzling voices. For Bartees Strange, TV on the Radio is an inspiration for where he could take his own genre-bending brand of guitar-driven rock. For Anjimile Chithambo, Glenn-Copeland is a reflection of themself in every way - a Black trans musician writing profoundly resonant songs focused on identity and rebirth, and the expansiveness you can find within.
"Province" began with Eric Slick, who was the producer behind the track. The multi-instrumentalist, solo musician, and Dr. Dog drummer had been obsessed with Return to Cookie Mountain, TVOTR's third record, as a kid, and found himself revisiting it again and again. This past year, he made his own rough acoustic cover of "Province," before deciding to reach out to Bartees Strange and having him contribute vocals. TV on the Radio was pivotal for Bartees - the moment he saw the band perform is seared into his memory. He came across their performance on The Late Show with David Letterman while channel surfing one night when he was a kid, and was immediately enraptured by their performance. He hadn't known what he wanted to do musically until he saw them perform, and it changed the possibilities of his life. Here, in his interpretation of the song, his voice is cavernous here, fleshed out atop a bed of Mellotron, Moog, and MPC instrumentations from Slick and celestial swells added by Ohmme's Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart.
Anjimile's interpretation of Glenn-Copeland's "Ever New" came together in a more solitary way, recorded alone in their Boston apartment. In his cover, the original seven-minute new age ballad from Glenn-Copeland's revolutionary 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies is trimmed down, sonically simplified to it's core. Anjimile moves it more into a folk territory, building out the sonic world with the delicate, tender acoustic guitar lines and finger picking that's been an identifier across their own catalog. It's a more muted, subtle palette translating Glenn-Copeland's epic of springtime bloom and rebirth, but emanates that same tenderness. Anjimile's stunning vocal performance ushering the hymn into new direct clarity.