Cassandra Jenkins releasing new LP (watch the “Michelangelo” video)
NYC singer/songwriter Cassandra Jenkins (who also is/was a member of Craig Finn, Eleanor Friedberger, Lola Kirke, and Purple Mountains' bands) will follow her 2017 debut album Play Till You Win with her sophomore LP, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, on February 19 via Ba Da Bing. She made the album with Josh Kaufman (who recorded it and played guitar), and it also features sax by Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire, Antibalas, etc).
We're premiering lead single "Michelangelo," a song that's heavier lyrically than it might seem on the warm, breezy folk rock surface. Cassandra says that the song explores her "relationship to past traumas and looking at how they're showing up over and over again in [her] current relationships and [her] experiences," and the video features a three-legged dog as sort of a metaphor for the song's themes. Cassandra wrote a lengthy essay accompanying the song/video, which you can read in full below.
Check out "Michelangelo" here:
Cassandra Jenkins on "Michelangelo"
Michelangelo is a song about being in limbo. It's the first song I wrote for the album & it never had a chorus which feels fitting, because the song never really arrives at any grand conclusion. It's a bardo, and there's so much rich information in that in-between space, if we can stand to take a good hard look.
and I carve myself out of marble
when I don’t know how to grow
flowers out of arrows
I’m a 3 legged dog
Looking for what I lost '
I'm looking at trauma, and wondering just how baked it is into my DNA. I'm exploring my relationship to past experiences, and asking how much control I have over falling into, or even perpetuating and calcifying, established roles. I'm simultaneously licking the wounds of a phantom limb and learning how to walk again.
It's a metaphor that falls apart as soon as you watch an actual 3-legged dog in action; everything in their physiology adjusts from imbalance to a new orientation– their gate changes, they learn to redistribute their weight, and they go on running, fetching, panting, living, and finding their balance. It's so human, on the other hand, to complicate the healing process by pushing against our experience.
'An Overview on Phenomenal Nature' was written as I pivoted from one sudden drastic change in my life to the next. Spaces and conversations became the punctums that helped me develop an intuition for where to go next, and how to connect the dots in a cloud of unknowns. Out of that experience came moments of connection– whether with people I met, or the natural landscape, or both– that provided a sense of wonder amidst confusion. This period of my life was all about trying to feel comfortable amidst chaos, and accessing a sense of balance in those brief moments just before everything inevitably shifts again.