For the last 13 years, Bridget Kearney’s primary gig has been playing bass for soul-pop band Lake Street Dive, who had one of our favorite albums of last year. Now Kearney’s ready to flex her solo muscles. She’s not leaving Lake Street Dive, but today Paste is happy to debut the video for “Wash Up,” the first single from Kearney’s forthcoming solo debut, Won’t Let You Down.
Kearney has always shared songwriting duties with all of the members of Lake Street Dive, and provides powerful backing vocals on plenty of the band’s songs, so it comes as no surprise that when she leaves the sounds of that band behind, including her signature double-bass playing, the results are still remarkably strong. “Wash Up” sounds like it could have come out of the ‘80s, with layers of twinkling synths and punchy bass—“that crying-on-the-dance-floor beat,” Kearney calls it—dominating the mix, but Kearney’s lyrical chops set it apart. It proudly wears its badge as a pop song, but maintains a mature head, allowing Kearney’s laid-back vocals to hit home.
This certainly doesn’t mark Kearney’s first time venturing outside of Lake Street Dive. In fact, her musical path has led her into too many collaborative scenarios to name, but this is the first time she will be working as an official solo act, and “Wash Up” serves as an excellent precursor to the full record, which combines pop sounds of yesteryear, particularly artists like The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, with Kearney’s soulful but relaxing voice and the kind of humor she brought to LSD tunes like the live staple “Neighbor Song.”
The video, embedded above, shows Kearney jogging through the streets of Brooklyn, and features cameos from Lake Street Dive frontwoman Rachael Price and the artist behind another of Paste’s favorite albums of 2016, Margaret Glaspy.
Won’t Let You Down is out March 24 via Signature Sounds, but is available for pre-order here. For those looking for something a little extra, there are pre-order options that include autographed vinyl, a limited-edition enamel pin, a four postcard set, and an album art poster. Kearney has announced plans to embark on her first national solo tour this year, dates for which will be unveiled soon.
Watch the video for “Wash Up” above, and look below to see the tracklist and album art for Won’t Let You Down, plus a short essay from Kearney called “On Running and Music,” and video from Lake Street Dive’s Paste Studio session last summer.
“On Running and Music” by Bridget Kearney:
I love running and I’ve had some of my most powerful experiences with music while running. Alone, out in the elements, lungs, heart and brain pumping air, blood and endorphins, respectively, through my body; it’s as if my headphones were another vital organ, pumping the music in through my ears and then down flooding through my veins, where it meets the other elements and creates the perfect, swift, flowing stride that carries me, Godlike, across the terrain.
The first time I remember feeling this way I was listening to Wilco and I was running along the sand dune-covered beaches of Essaouira, Morocco. It was a perfect moment—the perfect marriage of sensations: my body in bursts of free fall, hurdling down the dunes into the sinking sand, the sunshine and the salty ocean air, the chill wave of the guitars, the triumphant rise of the melody, and the joyful defiance of Tweedy’s words “Theologians, they don’t know nothing about my soul, oh they don’t know.”
Now let me take a moment to make sure I’m painting the proper picture here…I am no athlete. I’ve never been thin and at this time I was sporting an extra 10 lbs thanks to sugary mint tea and salty lamb meat and also I had been relishing my role as the Bohemian traveler-type and hadn’t taken my hair out of it’s ratty bun for months. (I famously took it down once for my bemused classmates to see while we were stuck on a broken down train to Marrakesh, at which my friend George pointed out, “I think there’s food in it!”) But none of that mattered out here alone on the dunes. It wasn’t so much that I forgot about all that, but that I loved it. I loved my flabby body flailing in the sand and my blotchy face contorting with exertion and my stupid Bohemian rat-bun bumping along behind me. I think I’ve been chasing that moment every time I’ve been running since.
So, I made a running video! It seemed appropriate for my first music video, since I feel such a powerful connection between music and running. I think “Wash Up” has the right feel for it, that crying-on-the-dance-floor beat. The beach scene at the end harkens back a bit to my exultant Moroccan dune-diving run. The subject matter is loosely related to the visuals in the connection between the ocean and washing oneself and also the more general connection between running and clean living. Other than that though, the lyrics come from an entirely different story, and for now I will let them speak for themselves and save that embarrassing episode for another day.
Won’t Let You Down Tracklist:
01. Won’t Let You Down
02. What Happened Today
04. Wash Up
05. Who Are We Kidding
06. Living In A Cave
07. Love Doctor
08. Nothing Does It
10. So Long
Won’t Let You Down Album Art: