Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade is an annual event held to mark the start of summer in one of Brooklyn‘s oldest and most famed neighborhoods. It’s basically a Mardi Gras-like environment, with large groups of diverse people walking around in costume and making merry. Keeping with the spirit of real mermaids (think more Daryl Hannah than Ariel), a rather large amount of women choose to march topless. So that’s cool about it. It’s a festive environment, and not necessarily one that you’d think of making a setting for a beautiful country weeper. But here you go.
Today Stereogum premiered “The Mermaid Parade” from the forthcoming Phosphorescent album Here’s To Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans, 5/11), and it seems like songwriter Matthew Houck has taken his experience covering Willie Nelson to heart. This is the second song from the new album (after the rollicking, horn-fueled It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)) to possess a more straight-country feel than the haunting, night-sky folk of 2007’s brilliant Pride. The new sound is working just fine for me - this one’s as pretty as a song gets, with some great specific lyrics (“Now New York this morning’, it was 8 A.M. L.A. time”; “Yeah I found a new friend too and yeah she‘s pretty and small, but goddamnit Amanda, oh goddamn it all”) and a fitting bed of pedal steel guitar and piano. There are a bunch of new albums coming from big named indie-artists in the next few weeks. I’d bet money Here’s To Taking It Easy has them all beat.