Bartees Strange zooms in on the pain of Black America with new single ‘Hold The Line’

“I remember watching George Floyd’s daughter talk about the death of her father and thinking wow – what a sad introduction to Black American life”

Bartees Strange has returned with another preview of his forthcoming second album, ‘Farm To Table’, sharing the poignant and powerful new single ‘Hold The Line’.

A notedly emotive cut from the Washington, DC indie-rocker, Strange explained in a press release that ‘Hold The Line’ is one of the most thematically raw tracks on ‘Farm To Table’. It was inspired by George Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter Gianna, who was thrust into the public eye when her father was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020.

Strange expounded: “I remember watching George Floyd’s daughter talk about the death of her father and thinking wow – what a sad introduction to Black American life for this young person. It was painful to watch her grow up in that moment, like all Black kids eventually do.

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“‘Hold The Line’ was written over the course of three days during that first pandemic summer. Through this song I was trying to make sense of what was happening in the US, my neighborhood and my community at that moment. During the marches people were trying to stop the bleeding, locked arm in arm, doing everything they could to hold the line.”

Check out the lyric video for ‘Hold The Line’ below:

Set to arrive on June 17, ‘Farm To Table’ – the follow-up to Strange’s debut album, 2020’s ‘Live Forever’ – was previewed in March with lead single ‘Heavy Heart’. That song’s release came with the news that Strange had signed to his “dream label”, 4AD, who will release ‘Farm To Table’. It was followed up last month with ‘Cosigns’, along with details for the new album.

NME named ‘Live Forever’ one of the 20 best debut albums of 2020, writing: “The record resists conforming to genre at every turn, blending shades of indie rock, hip-hop, punk, country and more – often within the same song.”

Since then, Strange has performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers, performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and released standalone single ‘Weights’. He’s also shared covers of Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’, TV On The Radio‘s ‘Province’ and The National‘s ‘About Today’, remixed Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Kyoto’ and opened for Courtney Barnett on her recent North American tour.

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Strange will head out on a UK and European tour in July – dates and details can be found here.

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