Annie Dressner's "Midnight Bus" Is a Twilit Reflection of Life's Quieter Moments (premiere)

Photo: Elly Lucas / Courtesy of Sweetheart PR

Indie folk's Annie Dressner joins forces with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf to deliver the nostalgically-layered "Midnight Bus".

Annie Dressner's lyrical life has seen her trot from the US to the UK throughout the development of her musical identity. With roots sewn in New York, much of her heritage lies in music, with her grandparents having first met while working in radio and her parents imbuing her with a love of piano in her early years. Since, she's developed an individualistic style as a singer-songwriter—direct, indelible, and subtly bittersweet—that she's toured throughout the indie circuit to acclaim since. Her latest, "Midnight Bus", is unsuspecting, grungy folk that wouldn't feel remiss in the songbooks of Phoebe Bridgers or Elliott Smith, but it's Dressner's own.

Co-written with Nada Surf's Matthew Caws, he accompanies Dressner on the track and assists in filling-in its nostalgic layers. On its development, she recalls, "I co-wrote this song with my friend Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) back in 2013. I hadn't written songs with many other people, and we just decided to do it one evening for the fun of it. The song has meaning to both of us, but separately, which I think is really interesting. For me, it reminded me of being 24 wandering around Astoria, New York, and going to a lot of open mics. There was a man who I would sometimes run into with a red telescope, and he would show me Saturn when I was walking back to the subway in a bit of a daze. He was almost a friend. New York can be special in that way."

"Midnight Bus" features on Dressner's latest album, Coffee at the Corner Bar, due out 4 September. "In choosing my songs for the album, Coffee at the Corner Bar, I remembered this one and was lucky that Matthew was happy to play and sing on the song. Since we wrote it together, it made it very special for the recording. Matthew wrote the part at the end during the recording, which was also a wonderful musical gift. There was lots of back and forths with my husband, Paul Goodwin, who produced the record, about "should there be tambourine, should there not be tambourine?"





'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?


Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.


IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.


Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.


NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.


Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.