Alexandra Savior Shares New Single 'Howl' with Official Video
"Portland's mystery girl (VICE)" may no longer be a kept secret, but Alexandra Savior can never be fully figured out. Today, she shares "HOWL," the last single from her forthcoming album, The Archer, which will be released via Danger Mouse's 30th Century Records and announces the LP's release date: January 10, 2020.
Speaking about the new single, Alexandra Savior says:
"I originally wrote "HOWL" as a simple piece of poetry featured on an experimental sound tape that I created on my four-track recorder a few years ago. I never had any intention of releasing "HOWL" or any of the other pieces from that tape. But over time, I kept revisiting "HOWL" naturally, and continued to build a narrative.
Consequence of Sound, who debuted the single and video, said:
"If new single "Howl" represents that reclaimed autonomy, Savior has really hit the mark with The Archer. Dubious synthesizers creep along a slinking bass line, instilling the track with an eerie sense of steely caution. "Handsome dictator of my crimes/ I can't tell if they're yours/ I can't tell if they're mine," sings Savior, slowly picking apart a manipulative relationship. Despite the sensual insecurity of the track, there's a supreme confidence in its execution, a winning example of the Portland-based musician's talent."
Nina Ljeti, who fronts the LA-based band Kills Birds, directed the music video for "HOWL," which was shot in LA. Savior and Ljeti spoke to Consequence of Sound about the song and video, citing their inspirations. Savior noted that her Tascam 4-track recorder played a major role, as did Humbert, Humbert, the narrator of "Lolita" -- especially in the context of psychological manipulation. Savior says:
Humbert, Humbert, the narrator of "Lolita" is a reference for me because of his ability to characterize Lolita in a way that rationalizes his own desire for a child. In a manipulative relationship, it is oftentimes difficult to see whom the perpetrator is and who the victim is, I wanted to relay that confusion from the perspective of the young woman.
Ljeti channeled influences such as Harold and Maude ("particularly the sequences where Harold stages these elaborate death scenes as a way of coping with the world around him. There is obviously a dark humor to that, which we applied to the video," says Ljeti), Laurel Nakadate, "Suspiria," every Paul Thomas Anderson movie ever.
Ladygunn says, "Savior has a unique voice that veers away from the cookie cutter pop that is dominating the mainstream right now." The new album showcases that standout vocality Savior is now known for, and also weaves a bittersweet story together with clever wordplay and broodingly beautiful layers of melody.
Savior's forthcoming, sophomore album, The Archer, which was produced by Sam Cohen, often known as a fan of collaboration, most recently teaming up with Kevin Morby for his Oh My God album. On working with Savior, Cohen says, "It's really a joy to work with someone who's got such a strong sense of melody and also such a strong sense of what she wants stylistically."
Savior's debut record, Belladonna of Sadness, was written in collaboration with Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and NME says, "Savior continues to build on that bold arrival and is becoming a star in her own right." Her new album shows that not only does her voice stand alone, but that her musicality stands alone, too.
Savior recently announced her 2020 North American tour dates, which will bring her mesmerizing live show to Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA and New York, NY in February. Fans can hear the "striking and smoky vocals [that] belong solely to Savior (NME)" and these new picturesque melodies live. Tickets are on-sale now. For more information, head to Alexandra Savior's website: alexandrasavior.com.
ALEXANDRA SAVIOR'S 2020 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
02/11 - Barboza, Seattle, WA
02/12 - Lola's Room, Portland, OR
02/14 - Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, CA
02/15 - Pico Union, Los Angeles, CA
02/16 - San Diego, CA Soda Bar
02/18 - Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
It all started with a feeling of relief. Just after midnight on New Year's Eve, Alexandra Savior, who was six months out of a rocky relationship and appreciating her independence, sat down and wrote the song that would become "Crying All the Time." The melodic, heart-rending ballad, she says, "is about how it feels to be in a relationship with a person who's disappointed in you," but it's also a clarion call announcing the arrival of her sophomore album, The Archer, out DATETK. The dreamy, melancholy song, the first single from The Archer, feels at once classic and contemporary; it's a torch song for a new generation.
"There's depression and there's heartbreak," Savior says of the album's themes, which play out over 10 haunting tracks. "But each song represents a different emotional state. I tried to project some sort of strength; I wrote during a time when I was a young woman growing into my identity and developing my confidence, and I hope that comes through."
Her message gets across loud and clear. Tracks like "Crying All the Time" and "Saving Grace" are big songs-ambitious and atmospheric-that put Savior's ethereal voice and sharp writing on display. "It came from a place of anger," she says of "Saving Grace," the album's writhing second single. "I had gone through a breakup and people kept telling me it was a saving grace, and I found it ironic because I was so heartbroken." In some of the songs, Savior's emotions unfold like thunderstorms and envelop everything going on around them. Other numbers, like "Soft Currents," feel quiet and more intimate, like a whispered secret nobody was meant to hear.
And while Savior shoulders the responsibility for the lion's share of her output herself, writing her own songs, creating the artwork for her album's cover, and even filming her own videos, The Archer was created with an indispensable set of collaborators who helped harness her vision. Its Savior's first release on 30th Century Records, the label run by her friend and collaborator Danger Mouse, and was produced by Sam Cohen, who's best known for his work with artists like Kevin Morby and Benjamin Booker. "It's really a joy to work with someone who's got such a strong sense of melody and of what she wants stylistically," Cohen says. "It was amazing to go into her world of 1960s B-movie love stories; Alexandra had a vision that really spoke to me."
Of course, he wasn't the first to appreciate her talent. The Oregon native first gained industry attention in 2012 when she posted a cover of Angus Stone's "Big Jet Plane" on YouTube. The playful, haunting performance landed her a legion of influential fans-she ended up songwriting with Linda Perry, who compared her to Fiona Apple-and put her on the road toward releasing her debut album, 2017's Belladonna of Sadness, which was written in tandem with the Arctic Monkey's Alex Turner and produced by Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford. Pitchfork praised the album, saying, "Savior has a penchant for clever wordplay and a voice that can hypnotize, terrorize, or both," and the Guardian swooned for Savior's "preternatural self-possession" and "crystalline, intimate voice."
Still, with The Archer, Savior says, "I felt like I needed to establish my own voice and show my independence again." A listen to the new album will prove that she's done that, and then some. It's not only the establishment of a voice, but a showcase for an extraordinary talent at the peak of her power. She's already at work writing songs for what will be her next release. For more information, visit alexandrasavior.com.
The Archer - tracklisting
01. Soft Currents
02. Saving Grace
03. Crying All The Time
05. Send Her Back
06. Can't Help Myself
07. The Phantom
08. Bad Disease
09. But You
10. The Archer
Artwork Credit: Dana Trippe