Premiere: Yeasayer - "Cold Night (Dirge Version)" | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019  

Premiere: Yeasayer - “Cold Night (Dirge Version)”

Cold Night EP Out This Friday via Mute

Oct 27, 2016 Photography by Eliot Lee Hazel
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Yeasayer released their new album, Amen & Goodbye, back in April via Mute. This Friday the New York trio (Anand Wilder, Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton) are releasing the Cold Night EP. It includes two versions of the title track, one found on Amen & Goodbye and one being labeled as a "Dirge Version" of the song. There's also a new B-side entitled "Loan Shark Blues" that we posted on Tuesday. Now we are pleased to premiere "Cold Night (Dirge Version)." It's an early version of the song that is slower and more mournful, but also more beautiful and affecting, than the final version that ended up on the album. This is fitting because, as Wilder explains in a statement below, the song is about the suicide of one of his friendsa friend who took their own life a year before the song was written. With the "Dirge Version," lyrics such as opening line "It's been one year since you turned yourself back into dust" resonate even more deeply and Wilder hopes the song will help encourage those battling with depression to carry on and will provide comfort for those dealing with the suicide of a loved one. This is no mere unfinished sounding demo, this version of the song is well-produced and worthy of a proper release. Listen below, followed by the EP's tracklist and the band's tour dates.

Here's what Wilder had to say about the "Dirge Version" in a statement to us: "Before we headed upstate in 2014 to flesh out the songs that would become Amen & Goodbye, 'Cold Night' sounded like this. Ira had sent me a harmonium-heavy piece of music, and I remember listening to it on an airplane in that heightened emotional state and crying while hearing words about my close friend's suicide, which at that point was one year prior. I basically just sang words over Ira's tweaked flutey bass melody for the verses, which is an easy way to get started with a song. I stole the opening line 'It's been one year since you turned yourself back into dust' from the Yoko Ono line 'Why do I miss you so if you're just a spec of dust,' from her mourning song, 'Spec of Dust.' (Never heard of the ashes to ashes, dust to dust line, it was all Yoko. Underrated songwriter.) 

"I wanted the song to capture how devastated and helpless I felt, but also to include all my nastier private feelings of anger and frustration at someone for doing something so selfish. How inconsiderate! Who am I going to hangout with and crack up laughing with when I visit India now? Didn't you want to meet my baby? 

"I don't believe in the afterlife or God or anything silly like that so religion did not comfort me in this situation, but I did understand for the first time why suicide is so strongly prohibited by many religions, as a form of social control, since it really wreaks havoc on a community. Don't do this or you'll go to HELL!!! Don't even think about it!!

"I would love it if this song had the power to prevent people from harming themselves but I know that's probably a long shot. If it provides comfort for people who've gone through similar grief I've done my job. I do not mean to glorify suicide at all, I wish I never had to write the song but this is what I do, write songs to deal with my issues.

"Ira's harmonium piece lent itself to a funereal sounding song which was a great starting place, but this version was a little too soaring for the album, too one dimensional. The album version, with its post-punk opening bass riff and early Kenny Gamble (Gamble & Ross!!) inspired back-up vocals, is a more album-worthy mix of influences for Yeasayer. But the early dirge version has some initial emotional resonance that I hope our fans will appreciate, along with giving a little glimpse into our creative process." 

Read our interview with Yeasyer on Amen & Goodbye.

Cold Night EP Tracklist:

01 "Cold Night"
02 "Loan Shark Blues"
03 "Cold Night (Dirge Version)"

Yeasayer Tour Dates:

10/27 San Francisco, CA @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
10/28 Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre
10/29 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/30 Phoenix, AZ @ The Pressroom
10/31 El Paso, TX @ Epic Railyard
11/02 Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom
11/03 Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
11/04 Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
11/05 St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
11/06 Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe @ Old National Center
11/07 Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall
11/08 Cincinnati, OH @ The 20th Century Theater
11/09 Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge @ Minglewood Plaza
11/11 Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
11/12 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
11/13 New Orleans, LA @ Republic New Orleans
11/14 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Downstairs
11/15 Austin, TX @ Emo's
11/17 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
11/18 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
11/20 Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Festival 



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