Hopeful & Hopeless, the 2017 EP from San Francisco-born, New Zealand-raised singer-songwriter Reb Fountain, was a difficult listen. Developed in collaboration with the late Sam Prebble and released shortly after his death, the songs were rootsy but stark, recorded live with all of their raw emotion intact. The record won a slew of New Zealand Music Awards, further cementing Fountain's place as one of her adopted homeland's most acclaimed songwriters (and best-kept secrets), but it was also the end of one creative thread. She booked a tour soon after to celebrate Nick Cave's 60th birthday, playing 17 of the Australian rock star's songs every night and trying to embody his shamanic energy en route to some sort of transcendence of grief.
You can hear Cave's influence all over "Samson," the first single from her forthcoming self-titled LP (and debut for legendary NZ label Flying Nun), premiering at the top of the page. His mysticism is certainly there when Fountain talks calmly over a lone bass about going "to the Hindu temple" and pouring "milk among the flowers," or going "to the house where memories live, and all that is left of the world's first cities is splendor and sorrow, duty and dust." It's a departure musically, and the video for the song — starring Medulla Oblongata and directed by Lola Fountain-Best — marks a change too. "We wanted the video for 'Samson' to feel like a home edit," Fountain wrote in an email to The FADER. "Medulla, in their room, performing to camera; cutting, pasting and ‘sharing’ with the Internet. There’s a sense of immediacy and vulnerability; we’re drawn into the home and heart space where Medulla both emerges and merges into themself."
Watch the video for "Samson" at the top of the page. Reb Fountain is out May 1 via Flying Nun.