Watch Phoebe Bridgers Perform “Kyoto” in Her Bathtub for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Watch Phoebe Bridgers Perform “Kyoto” in Her Bathtub for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Punisher Due Out June 19 via Dead Oceans

Apr 10, 2020
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Phoebe Bridgers is releasing a new album, Punisher, on June 19 via Dead Oceans. It was announced yesterday and at the same time she shared a new song from it, “Kyoto,” via a Nina Ljeti-directed video for the track that featured Bridgers flying around a city and battling Godzilla. Last night she performed “Kyoto” for Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but because of COVID-19 social distancing she did so remotely, from her bathtub at home, dressed in her pajamas and accompanied by only a synthesizer on her lap. Watch the memorable performance below.

Punisher includes “Garden Song,” a new song she shared in February via a video for it. “Garden Song” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Bridgers had this to say about “Kyoto” in a press release: “This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.”

Punisher is her sophomore album, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut album, Stranger in the Alps, released in September 2017 via Dead Oceans. For Punisher she reteamed with Stranger in the Alps’ producers/collaborators Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, although this time Bridgers co-produced the album with them. Mike Mogis mixed the album, as he did with her debut.

Punisher features Bridgers’ main band: Marshall Vore (drums), Harrison Whitford (guitar), Emily Retsas (bass), and Nick White (piano). But the album also features a slew of notable guests: Conor Oberst (“Halloween,” “I Know The End”), Lucy Dacus (“Graceland Too,” “I Know The End”), Julien Baker (“Graceland Too,” “I Know the End”), Blake Mills (“Halloween,” “Savior Complex,” and “I Know the End”), Jenny Lee Lindberg (“Kyoto,” “ICU”), Christian Lee Hutson (“Garden Song,” “Halloween,” “Savior Complex,” “I Know the End”), Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner (“I Know the End”), legendary drummer Jim Keltner (“Halloween” and “Savior Complex”), and Bright Eyes’ Nathaniel Walcott on horns (“Kyoto” and “I Know the End”). 

Bridgers has been plenty busy since the release of Stranger in the Alps.

Last week she sang guest vocals on a new song by The 1975, “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America,” which is featured on their forthcoming new album, Notes On a Conditional Form, and was one of our Songs of the Week.

In 2018 she teamed up with fellow singer/songwriters Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus to form supergroup boygenius, whose self-titled debut EP was released in October 2018 via Matador.

In 2019 Bridgers teamed up with Conor Oberst for the side-project Better Oblivion Community Center, who released their self-titled debut album last year via Dead Oceans. In February Oberst and Bridgers also appeared in a video for Conan O’Brien’s TBS show Conan, which has launched a new fake behind the scenes web series, Meet the Conan Staff. In one episode Oberst and Bridgers play production assistants on the show. Oberst can’t help but break into song during the staff meetings, much to the annoyance of O’Brien and his other employees, especially as his songs are usually quite depressing. Bridgers, meanwhile, is very well liked. 

In March Bridgers shared a video of her covering Oberst’s “Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)” from home, as artists have been doing during the COVID-19 quarantine. She did so to benefit Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater, which has had to close down during the pandemic. There’s a GoFundMe campaign to help pay the staff while they are shut down, which she has linked to. Bridgers says she met Oberst at the Bootleg, hence the cover of the song from his 2016 solo album Ruminations.

Last December Bridgers shared the new Christmas track, “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night,” which featured Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger (of The National). Last October Bridgers and Berninger also teamed up for the new song, “Walking On a String,” which they performed in Netflix’s Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Then they shared a studio version of the song via a black & white video featuring them recording it, making “Walking On a String” one of our Songs of the Week.

Read our 2017 exclusive interview with Phoebe Bridgers and check out our photo-shoot with her.

Read our 2019 cover story interview with boygenius.

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