Michael Kolb caught our ears with his recent tune “Jean-Luc,” the lead single from his forthcoming debut Tyrannical Vibes (Sept. 30, Ramp Local). The Brooklyn songwriter—formerly the third live member of Water From Your Eyes before going solo under his surname—is back with another preview of the album today (Aug. 18), sharing “I Guess I’m Lucky” alongside a music video directed by Palberta’s Ani Ivry-Block.
Kolb steps away from the mic on his deft new single, with Carolyn Hietter (Financial Collapse, Sweet Baby Jesus) handling lead vocals. Set against acoustic guitar and xylophone so bright, they almost sting, Hietter croons her way through a tale of self-delusion. The track’s narrator watches the dinner she made get cold while she waits for a partner who’s not coming, which even she seems to know on some level: “I’ll give you till a quarter-to-six / To make your way through the door / I bet they kept you late / I guess that I’m lucky,” she sings, with Kolb’s backing harmonies of “I guess” underscoring this mental and emotional house of cards’ fragility. An upbeat saxophone solo—Steely Dan was an influence on the track, per a press release—tops things off, another wide fake smile wallpapered over a breaking heart.
Kolb says of the “I Guess I’m Lucky” video in a statement:
We shot the video at my house, originally going for a party theme but it was torrential, pouring rain that day and nobody showed up (except for a couple people). Even before the party theme, I wanted to cook a miniature meal for Donny the cat who was staying at our house but sadly, he passed before we were able to shoot the video. The result is a pastiche of those concepts, woven together by Ani’s distinctive hand-drawn titles and green-screen post-production additions. We got Carolyn Hietter (who’s featured on lead vocals) beamed in through the TV like a narrator from another time, Marmalade (the cat we are watching now) gets a tiny meal, dice are rolled. It’s fitting because I ended up being VERY lucky I had the friends who were able to make this possible in spite of the emotional and logistical challenges life throws at you sometimes.
Friends showing up was a theme behind the scenes of Tyrannical Vibes: Ivry-Block contributes lead vocals to the album, as well as Hietter, and Kolb’s former Water From Your Eyes collaborators Nate Amos and Rachel Brown mixed the album and shot its cover art, respectively.
Watch the “I Guess I’m Lucky” video below.