Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver’s collaborative project Big Red Machine announced that their sophomore album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? is set to be released on August 27 on 37d03d. They also shared a lyric video for the lead single, “Latter Days.”
“Latter Days” is a chilling piano track with sparse drums, featuring folk musician Anaïs Mitchell on vocals, who Vernon worked with previously for her 2010 album Hadestown. Dessner states, “It was clear to Anaïs that the early sketch Justin and I made of ‘Latter Days’ was about childhood, or loss of innocence and nostalgia for a time before you’ve grown into adulthood — before you’ve hurt people or lost people and made mistakes. She defined the whole record when she sang that, as these same themes kept appearing again and again.”
Vernon and Mitchell duet the chorus, “I recall it all forever/How it found us where we lay/With our arms around each other/In the latter days, in the latter days.” Michael Brown directed the lyric video, which shows the lyrics handwritten over an abstract pattern, with footage from the track’s recording sessions superimposed behind both.
Mitchell appears on a couple of other songs from the album, including “New Auburn” and “Phoenix” alongside Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes. Other guests on the record include Taylor Swift on “Birch” and “Renegade,” Ilsey on “Mimi,” Naeem on “Easy to Sabotage,” Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova on “Hutch,” La Force on “8:22am” and Ben Howard & This Is The Kit on “June’s a River.” The full tracklist can be found below.
Notably, Dessner also contributes lead vocals to three tracks for the first time in his career. “This is all music I initially generated and feel emotionally connected to, but it has been very interesting to hear how different people relate to it and how different voices collide with it,” he stated. “That’s what makes it special. With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”
Big Red Machine’s last single was a cover of Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up,” which they released to promote voting in for the US presidential election in Wisconsin. They also collaborated with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe last year for a track called “No Time For Love Like Now.” Their debut full-length album was a self-titled release that came out in 2018.
Both members of Big Red Machine significantly contributed to Taylor Swift’s 2020 albums folklore and evermore. Vernon also featured on albums by Naeem, Bruce Hornsby and a posthumous John Prine live album. His latest song with Bon Iver was a politically-charged single called “AUATC,” not including a contribution to a Jagjaguwar 25th anniversary compilation. Their contract was just renewed with Secretly a few days ago.
How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last tracklist:
1. Latter Days (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)
3. Phoenix (feat. Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell)
4. Birch (feat. Taylor Swift)
5. Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)
6. The Ghost of Cincinnati
7. Hoping Then
8. Mimi (feat. Ilsey)
9. Easy to Sabotage (feat. Naeem)
10. Hutch (feat. Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, and Shara Nova [My Brightest Diamond])
11. 8:22am (feat. La Force)
13. June’s a River (feat. Ben Howard and This Is The Kit)
15. New Auburn (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)