Anna Tivel Premieres New Single 'Desperation' Ahead of Album

Her forthcoming album, Living Thing, is set to release on May 31.

By: Apr. 25, 2024
Anna Tivel Premieres New Single 'Desperation' Ahead of Album
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Portland, Oregon-based artist Anna Tivel is set to return with her sixth studio album, Living Thing, on May 31, 2024 via Fluff & Gravy Records (Margo Cilker, Kassi Valazza, Jeffrey Martin). 

She has previously shared two singles from the 9-track set — "Disposable Camera" and "Bluebird" — and she's back with a third, "Desperation." Under the Radar says, "'Desperation' finds Tivel dwelling on the toll that pain and injustice take on a person, exploring the frustration and bitterness of playing against life’s stacked deck.

She confesses, 'Real life is far from fair, you tried and tried and got nowhere / It’s like somebody rigged the whole damn thing / Bloody knuckles, empty hands, you want to fight, but all you ever had / Is desperation.' Despite the tense fury burning beneath the lyrics, Tivel’s performance brims with warmth and organic intimacy, and her vocals recall the airy beauty of Adrianne Lenker. Similarly, the track’s tense and understated instrumentation begins to loosen with the chorus, allowing Tivel’s vocals to sprawl and soar atop the winding guitar lines and sharp pop melody."

Of the track, Tivel offers, "Future vision is forever married to imagination. This is a song about being born into a harsh reality, about struggling to imagine something better than you’ve seen. Poverty, inequality, disenfranchisement – all these dark systems that devalue human capacity, crush human spirit and soul. To be born in that darkness, to see it mirrored all around you in the lives of everyone you love, is to read an unjust story about yourself that takes herculean strength to change."

More vibrantly sculptural than her previous releases, Living Thing was written through the tumultuous eyes of 2020 and recorded with longtime collaborator and friend Shane Leonard (Bon Iver, Field Report). Tivel says the record was an attempt to capture the "strange chaos of that year" with the resulting songs feeling "rhythmic and vital, with more melody and soaring chorus than I’ve explored in the past." Ahead of its release, she recently signed with Crossover Touring (Bonny Light Horseman, The Tallest Man On Earth, Watchhouse) to bring the new songs on the road. Tour dates to be announced soon.

Living Thing follows Tivel's widely acclaimed 2022 full-length, Outsiders, which received multiple Best of the Year nods from NPR Music, as well as Brooklyn Vegan, Aquarium Drunkard, Folk Alley, Post-Trash, The Boot, OPB, Folk Radio UK, and more. Album standout "Black Umbrella" was named one of NPR Music's Best Songs of 2022, and Tivel performed the track during her Tiny Desk Concert last year, alongside an unreleased new song called "Fluorescence In the Future" and Outsiders' "Heroes" and "Royal Blue." Of the "quiet and riveting performance," NPR's Ann Powers praises, "As always, Tivel's remarkable empathy elevates her folk-based, jazz-touched compositions from mere stories to secular prayers...Inside [the trio's] swirling arrangements, Tivel's portraits of pain and resilience become hypnotic, like dreams, like reality as we cope with it, always unfolding."

Living Thing will be Tivel's sixth studio full-length of all new, original material. Last year, she shared an unadorned acoustic version of Outsiders as has become her habit for each new record. She previously released Blue World in 2021 — a reimagined collection of songs from previous albums recorded live in sparse and experimental trio format, just keys, percussion, and vocals. The project followed her widely acclaimed breakout The Question, which NPR Music called "One Of The Most Ambitious Folk Records Of 2019," and its stripped-down 2020 acoustic companion album. Tivel began garnering attention throughout the U.S. and UK with 2017's Small Believer, after establishing herself within the Pacific Northwest folk scene upon the release of 2016's Heroes Waking Up and her 2014 debut, Before Machines.

Living Thing Tracklist

1) Silver Flame
2) Real Things
3) Bluebird
4) Kindness of a Liar
5) Desperation
6) Disposable Camera
7) Two Truths
8) Altogether Alone
9) Gold Web

Photo credit: Cody Onthank


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