Watch Bartees Strange Perform Four Songs in a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, March 8th, 2021  

Watch Bartees Strange Perform Four Songs in a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Live Forever Out Now via Memory Music

Feb 22, 2021
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Washington, D.C.-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Bartees Strange (real name Bartees Cox Jr.) released his debut album, Live Forever, last fall via Memory Music (it was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2020). Now he has done a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert for NPR Music, performing four songs remotely with his band. He performed “Boomer,” “Mustang,” “In a Cab,” and “Flagey God.” Watch the performance below.

Read our rave review of Live Forever here.

Read our interview with Strange about Live Forever here. 

In July 2020, Strange announced that the album was coming last fall, but shared no other details beyond releasing its first single, “Mustang” (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then in August 2020, Strange officially announced Live Forever and shared another song from it, “Boomer,” via a video for the track (which made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list). Then he shared one more pre-release single from it, “Kelly Rowland,” via a video for the short track (which also made our Songs of the Week list). In January, Strange made his late night TV debut, performing “Boomer” with his full band on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Live Forever was recorded in a barn studio in Wassaic, NY. It was later mastered by Grammy-nominated producer Will Yip. A press release digs into the album’s genre-blurring sound: “It spans gentle, Moses Sumney-meets-Yves Jarvis minimalism, Kings of Leon-ish indie rock vigor with post-punk cracks in its danceable veneer, the throbbing industrial alt-soul of Algiers, Justin Vernon’s acoustic tenderness, and the volatile, unforgiving production and delivery of Death Grips.” 

Strange first garnered attention for covering a string of The National tracks, including on Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy, his EP of National covers released earlier this year on Brassland, a label run by members of the band. He was born in Ipswich, England, but grew up in Mustang, a largely the white and conservative rural town outside Oklahoma City. “Boomer” is partly about getting stoned with his dad for the first time and how his dad is proud of the growth Strange has experienced since leaving Mustang. “Things are changing,” Strange said in a previous press release. “I can change too, and this is who I want to be.”

Live Forever finds Strange taking full creative control. “I’m often the only Black guy in the room when I’m playing in a band or working in a studio and I’ll be honest, I don’t think the engineer always knew what I wanted to capture, what I was trying to do or what I was referencing,” Strange said. “I wanted a space where I could be in control of how it was gonna sound, and have people there to check me that I trust.” 

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