Bleachers was one of the most impressive and energetic shows I saw at Bonnaroo this year.
I went to their show with the intention of leaving early for Hozier but once I was there I was like, Hozier can take me to church another day. I was absolutely blown away by their performance. They play their shows with two full drum sets. Like what?? And Jack Antonoff, Bleachers’ main dude, was actually created to be a frontman on stage. Not only were his vocals and presence perfect, but he did such an incredible job of engaging the audience that we were all literally jumping up and down the entire set. He would say things like: “Bonnaroo! I know y’all are so hot and so exhausted and yet this is THE BEST SHOW WE’VE EVER PLAYED!!!” And we would all scream and jump some more and it was awesome.
Jack Antonoff, from Steel Train and Fun., formed the idea of Bleachers in 2013 but kept it under wraps until he released their first single “I Wanna Get Better” in February 2014. They are an American indie pop act based in New York City and their music is heavily influenced by the ‘80s (but like — the GOOD part of the 80’s lol).
This past Monday, Sept. 28th, Bleachers released an album called Terrible Thrills, Vol. 2 which is a reimagining of the songs from their debut release Strange Desire all sung with a wide variety of female voices. Antonoff first had this idea 6 years ago when he was making the third Steel Train album, and that’s why it’s called volume 2 (because volume 1 happened for the self titled Steel Train album).
“I love female voices. When I write songs I typically hear things in a female voice and then match it an octave lower so I can hit the notes…I’ve always written this way. So with that in mind I wanted to release a version of my record that spoke to how it was written and the ways I originally heard it in my head before I recorded and sang it. I think it’s important for people to know where the songs came from and why the songs came out sounding the way they do.”
I think this is the coolest idea. My favorites are:
“Wild Heart” (feat. Sara Bareilles)
Jack Antonoff co-wrote “Brave” with Sara Bareilles, the single off of her most recent album The Blessed Unrest. She is one of my favorite artists/singers/writers and it’s really cool to hear her voice in a semi-techno format.
“Wake Me” (feat. Lucius)
I actually saw Lucius for the first time when they opened for Sara Bareilles on her Little Black Dress Tour in 2014 and instantly fell in love with their vibe and voices. This sounds like something straight out of the 50’s. Major tbt.
“Reckless Love” (feat. Elle King)
Elle King is a new discovery for me and she is a total bad ass. This is such a cool cover combining throwback vocalistic styles with current techno production.
“Take Me Away” (feat. Brooke Candy & Rachel Antonoff)
I actually like this one better than the original version, which is more laid back and whimsical. This version features Brooke Candy’s sick rapping skills complimented by Rachel Antonoff’s sweet, pure vocals (and yeah, that’s Jack’s sister, who’s also a fashion designer in NYC — gah what a lame family).
“Like A River Runs” (feat. Sia)
I feel like Sia and Jack are similar in that they are so multi-talented and love to dabble in a lot of diversified projects. I have so much respect for that. This song is one of my favorites on the original and I would always play it when I wanted to get super pumped for Bonnaroo. This version is totally stripped down, with just strings, piano, and Sia’s unique voice, and it’s so beautiful.
“Who I Want You To Love” (feat. Nancy Maines)
I would have never expected to see Nancy Maines on this. She adds a really refreshing Patty Griffin-like sound in one of these songs. This folky/a little country version of this is so great and different.
So….almost all of them.
At least as of right now Terrible Thrills, Vol. 2 is only available on GooglePlay….? (insert straight-lined mouth emoji here). I made an account just for this album lol but hey it’s free! And will hopefully be distributed on Spotify soon…!