Hudson Valley-based singer, songwriter and producer Nandi Rose has unveiled her latest album as Half Waif, The Caretaker, out on March 27 via her new label, ANTI- Records. Our first taste of the album arrives today (Jan. 28) in the form of the Kenna Hynes-directed video for stunning lead single “Ordinary Talk.”
“Ordinary Talk” centers a confident, self-sufficient Rose: “Baby, don’t worry about me / I don’t worry about you,” she sings softly over stark synths and a liquid kick drum pulse, with layered vocals encircling the song with a sense of multiplicity that’s somehow both haunting and comforting. The instrumentation ebbs and flows, like the emotions of a day on earth, but persisting through it all is Rose’s voice, flitting from foreground to background, ever-present.
Rose says of her new song:
Recognizing your own ordinariness can be depressing, or it can be a relief. In “Ordinary Talk,” I wanted to honor and celebrate my ordinariness as an incredible tool for making me feel less alone. The song is a reassurance that feeling bad—or “ill”—isn’t something that needs to be corrected. There’s a depth of experience that comes from feeling emotions at their extremes. And it is, in fact, this vivid, varied messiness that makes us human and ordinary.
She adds of the “Ordinary Talk” video:
The corresponding video, written in collaboration with director Kenna Hynes, tracks the progression from isolation to communion as we move from a tableau of a troupe of strange courtiers to the neon lights of a good old house party. And as the song shifts and melts away, the cast of characters follows and looks outward: up toward the vast night with its unsettling drift of stars, over a vista of coffee cups and blue TV screens and folded T-shirts—the million tiny moments that define our days.
The Caretaker is the first Half Waif album since 2018’s acclaimed Lavender. While Rose arranged and produced her previous record with a full band, she opted for solitude in crafting The Caretaker, writing and arranging the entire album herself before bringing her co-producer David Tolomei into the fold to sharpen the songs up.
It’s the push and pull between the individual and the collective that defines The Caretaker, named for the character Rose created as a representation of humankind’s conflicting desires for independence and communion. ”[The Caretaker]’s someone who has been entrusted with taking care of this estate, taking care of the land, and she’s not doing a very good job,” Rose explains. “The weeds are growing everywhere, and she’s not taking care of herself.” What could be more human than such a struggle?
Watch the “Ordinary Talk” video and Half Waif’s 2018 Paste session below, and find the details of The Caretaker further down, followed by Half Waif’s spring tour dates. You can preorder the new album here.
The Caretaker Tracklist:
01. Clouds Rest
03. Ordinary Talk
04. My Best Self
05. In August
07. Halogen 2
08. Blinking Light
11. Window Place
The Caretaker Album Art:
Half Waif Tour Dates:
04 – Portland, Maine @ State Theatre *
05 – Port Chester, N.Y. @ The Capitol Theatre *
06 – New York, N.Y. @ Webster Hall *
27 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Public Records ^
05 – Boston, Mass. @ Cafe 939
06 – Northhampton, Mass. @ Iron Horse
07 – Montreal, Que. @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
08 – Toronto, Ont. @ Baby G
09 – Detroit, Mich. @ Deluxx Fluxx
10 – Chicago, Ill. @ Schubas
12 – Washington, D.C. @ Songbyrd
13 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Johnny Brenda’s
15 – Seattle, Wash. @ Sunset Tavern
16 – Portland, Ore. @ Mississippi Studios
18 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Chapel
20 – Santa Ana, Calif. @ Constellation Room
21 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Moroccan Lounge
06 – Peterborough, N.H. @ The Thing in the Spring
(* w/ Calexico and Iron & Wine)
(^ The Caretaker release show)