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Bess Atwell Announces Aaron Dessner-Produced New Album 'Light Sleeper'

Tuesday, 13 February 2024 Written by Jon Stickler

Photo: David Pentecost

Bess Atwell has shared details of a new album.

'Light Sleeper' is scheduled to arrive through Lucy Rose's Real Kind Records on May 24, following up 2021's 'Already, Always' and the subsequent 2022 remix record, 'Already, Rearranged'. Helmed by super-producer du jour Aaron Dessner, it was recorded at The National musician's Long Pond Studio in upstate New York. In a statement, Atwell wrote:

"'Light Sleeper' is about the willingness to feel. While writing the album, I was realizing that somewhere along the line I had become very afraid of feeling. The record is about facing this realization and finding the bravery to challenge it. It's still hard for me to believe that I got to make this record with one of my heroes, but somehow, I got that lucky.

"Aaron Dessner posted about one of my songs on Instagram at the beginning of 2022. We got chatting on there and before I knew it, we'd made plans to meet up at All Points East and were discussing making a record together. He told me that 'Light Sleeper' is the first album he's worked on in several years that he didn't write, which is a huge honour.

"My approach on 'Light Sleeper' was to give up concern with what's cool and to reconnect with why I make the things I make. I was afraid to really sing on my previous record, having come to believe it wasn't cool or would draw attention to the fact that I am indeed an emotional woman and therefore not to be taken as seriously.

"This time, I wanted to really sing, I wanted to discuss my fears and feelings, I wanted to connect, and I wanted to perform like I meant it, because I do. After all, how can I write an album about the willingness to feel and be too afraid to sing like I mean it?"

Alongside the news, the Brighton singer-songwriter has unveiled the single, Release Myself, an indie-folk track that comes with a video by Dylan Friese Greene.

Atwell continued: "There are always a couple of songs on a record that just sort of fall out of you and this was one of them. This was the first time I've managed to write about my panic disorder without slipping too far into sorry-for-myself or cheesy, faux-empowering territory. It's a song that says "hey I'm struggling but I'm not a victim."

On the song's accompanying video, she added: "I knew I wanted to lean into a slightly '90s wall-of-guitars sound and make it as energetic as possible, without losing the song. My friend (artist Derek Inver) and I were discussing this era of music and how brilliantly expressive and unafraid a lot of the indie pop was. I wanted to perform like I meant it, because I do. I hope that's apparent on this track."

Atwell has a trio of UK shows in the diary for June, before a UK and Ireland tour in the autumn, and a date at London's KOKO in February 2025.

She will also support The National on their UK and European dates this summer, as well as playing festival slots at Deer Shed, Black Deer, and Moseley Folk and Arts Festival. Tickets are on sale now.

'Light Sleeper' tracklist:

1. Everyone Who's Not In Love With You Is Wrong
2. Release Myself
3. Sylvester
4. Fan Favourite
5. The Weeping
6. Something Now
7. Spinning Sun
8. I Am Awake
9. Crowds
10. Light Sleeper

Bess Atwell Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Thu June 06 2024 - MANCHESTER Band on the Wall
Fri June 07 2024 - LONDON Union Chapel
Sat June 08 2024 - BRISTOL Thekla

Wed October 02 2024 - NORWICH Arts Centre
Thu October 03 2024 - CAMBRIDGE Junction 2
Fri October 04 2024 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Sat October 05 2024 - LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Sun October 06 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Cluny
Tue October 08 2024 - GLASGOW Saint Luke's
Wed October 09 2024 - LIVERPOOL Leaf
Fri October 11 2024 - BELFAST Black Box
Sat October 12 2024 - DUBLIN Grand Social
Mon October 14 2024 - BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds
Tue October 15 2024 - CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
Thu October 17 2024 - OXFORD Bullingdon
Fri October 18 2024 - BRIGHTON Concorde 2

Sat February 22 2025 - LONDON KOKO

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