Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Anna Ash has announced her next album Sleeper and shared two new singles, “Favorite Part” and “Popularity.”
The new releases build off of the rootsy, delicate Americana sound that Ash updated with more complex soundscapes on her most recent EP Fire Season, which she released in March. Her intimate, intricate songwriting has conjured literary comparisons, with her work described as “like a Sally Rooney book, if the novelist could palm-mute a Silvertone and launch her voice into cathartic falsettos.”
On “Favorite Part,” she reflects on a bitter past relationship over rich, 1970s-style rock grooves, looking back on an old version of herself while simultaneously reconstructing a new one. “Replay the memories one by one,” she commands at the beginning, as if she’s sliding a quarter back into a familiar jukebox.
“Popularity,” meanwhile, finds her searching for peace, turning to friends, hometowns, and even religion to resolve feelings of turmoil in the face of worldly suffering. “We’ve all got someone we love who swears that Jesus is just coming back to save them,” she says, pointing out that ”somewhere down the line we forgot about all the good things that that guy said.” When her contemplative lyrics give way to a wrenching warble of “I can’t stand another heartbreak like this,” the song reaches an emotional tipping point just in time for the end of the track, forcing its own embodiment and reckoning.
A music video for “Favorite Part” is also forthcoming, and Sleeper will be released in full on January 21 via Black Mesa Records. For now, though, you can check out both singles here:
Sleeper, Ash explains, was recorded live to tape in two different sittings; a November 2020 session while quarantined in the Catskills, and an April 2021 sit-down back in Los Angeles with a full studio band as the world started to reopen. The tracks open up her formerly stripped-down sound with pedal steel, horns, keys, and striking group harmonies.
Anna Ash has appeared on a variety of film and television soundtracks, including Billions and Masters of Sex, and she’s a frequent appearance on curated playlists like Spotify’s Fresh Folk and Noir mixes. She’s also developed a reputation for her sotto-voce covers of country and roots rock classics, and her repertoire includes versions of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor” and “Righteously,” The Flying Burrito Brothers‘ “Sin City,” Patsy Cline‘s “Crazy,” and America’s “Sister Golden Hair.”