Lily Konigsberg Announces Debut LP “Lily We Need To Talk Now” Out 29th October via Wharf Cat Records
& Shares New Single “That’s The Way I Like It”
Lily Konigsberg, a Pitchfork Rising and FADER Gen F artist and a member of the beloved art rock band Palberta, is announcing her solo debut LP. The album arrives after what has been a busy 18 months for Konigsberg, who released her first solo EP on long-time Palberta label Wharf Cat Records (Water From Your Eyes, Dougie Poole) to an extremely positive reception in March of 2020 (Pitchfork described it as a collection of left-field pop that sits “at the center of a Venn diagram containing haunted dolls, Arthur Russell, and Ariana Grande”), before Palberta released their most critically-acclaimed record to date in January of this year (“a gleefully odd record…perfectly Palberta” according to the New York Times), which was followed by the release of a compilation of her early solo recordings culled mostly from Bandcamp and Soundcloud releases entitled The Best of Lily Konigsberg Right Now (FADER called it “[a showcase] of Konigsberg’s breadth as a pop songwriter“).
Her new album is called Lily We Need To Talk Now (out October 29th on Wharf Cat), with the title taken from a text she received from the album’s producer Nate Amos of the band Water From Your Eyes, and the announcement is accompanied by the release of the album’s first single “That’s The Way I Like It“.
“That’s The Way I Like It” commences with this obscure sweep across the fretboard, welcoming an array of angular, gritty, thudding notes which lead the way for the standout vocal harmonies to come into play and push the fierce, fast-paced ensemble deep into its crucial journey. The notes offer a wealth of textures, from scratchy tones to a complex drum beat, all of which capture this punk energy. A buoyant bass riff and standout breakdowns add this unpredictable nature to the new single.
This brash frequency provides an emerging and compelling depth to the melody that has been mastered for this ensemble, Lily’s vocal tones consume the audience and the entire release, flawlessly showcasing this plentiful range on offer from the tonal delivery. Attitude oozes from the ensemble with some power and infliction, the new single has been shaped to add this infectious and almighty approach. It’s an abrupt ensemble which covers plenty of ground within 2 minutes. The looping beats and repetitive yet fearless lyrics all make for a mesmerizing arrangement.
Though the album is a characteristically eclectic collection of pop songs, recalling in moments the guitar-driven, punk-adjacent feel of her work with Palberta, to things like mid-Aughts Sheryl Crow, and even Cure-inflected post-punk, its buoyant energy is nicely captured by this single. Backed on drums by her Palberta bandmate Nina Ryser with backing vocals from Amos, the track is a burst of perfectly-formed guitar pop with a slight pop punk lean that displays the imaginative and slightly warped melodic turns that Kongisberg has mastered. It holds a deceptive complexity and yet feels as natural as breathing, and its ease only serves to highlight Konigsberg’s considerable gifts as a songwriter.
“I said ‘I’m going to write a song now’ to my friend and then wrote this song in 20 minutes,” says Konigsberg. “The chords are symmetrical so it’s really fun to play on guitar. It’s a fucking catchy and sassy song about getting what I want when I deserve it. Not whatever I want. Just when I deserve it.“
Lily Konigsberg wrote “Sweat Forever,” one of the singles from her forthcoming full-length album, Lily We Need to Talk Now, in the heat of a moment when her life felt upside down and a longtime relationship was ending. “I’m still here / Is that what you wanted?” she sings, with light and clarity that belies the true sadness of that sticky refrain. The song is propelled by the feathery strum of a 12-string guitar (one gifted to her while she was working at the Gym, a Brooklyn mutual-aid hub), her playful vocal asides, and crisp, detail-oriented production by Nate Amos (Water From Your Eyes, My Idea).
Lily We Need to Talk Now is a record Konigsberg has been slowly chipping away at since 2016, revising and re-recording the songs over the years. The eleven-track collection is her first proper full-length, following her anthology of EPs and unreleased tracks, The Best of Lily Konigsberg Right Now, released in 2021 by Wharf Cat Records. The new record is catchy the whole way through, like much of the poppy and plainspoken indie rock output that’s made her a fixture of the NYC underground in recent years. Her voice twists and turns and dashes around her clever wordplay in new ways here; there are hints of power pop, pop punk, and downtempo introspection, all dotted with easter eggs of winking humor. She’s joined by many of her longtime collaborators: Andrea Schavelli, with whom she released the 2017 split Good Time Now; Matt Norman, with whom she has collaborated in the avant-pop duo Lily and Horn Horse for years; Paco Cathcart, of the Cradle, who produced her 2020 EP It’s Just Like All the Clouds; and Nina Ryser, with whom she plays in the acclaimed art-punk trio Palberta. But it’s her collaboration with Amos that makes the most notable new additions.
True to its title (taken from a text message sent to Konigsberg by Amos), this collection of songs is like a check-in with herself. On “That’s the Way I Like It,” with backing vocals from Cathcart, Konigsberg reflects on the feeling of struggling with a loved one. “You can get all evil about it—like a brat, like a baby,” she says. On “Proud Home,” she sings one of the record’s boldest earworm hooks (“You’ve got a lot of fucking things to be proud of!”) and tries to comfort a friend who has a crush on her mom. “I really cracked myself up with the lyrics,” she says. “It’s kind of a ‘Stacy’s Mom’ riff. I decided it’s a dedication to Adam Schlesinger [of Fountains of Wayne].” But Konigsberg’s lyrics aren’t happy all of the time. “There’s a lot of sadness or strangeness in them,” she says. “This album is clearly about breaking up with somebody that I love. But, in all of my music, there’s humor. I don’t take myself too seriously.”
Konigsberg’s sense of humor is on display in “Hark,” an infectious and light-hearted track about the frustrations of songwriting. It was originally written for her quarantine project with Palberta bandmate Ani Ivry-Block, Forever. “I hate the fact that I belong to something that needs my help or else it will die,” she sings gracefully about her unfinished tunes, before joking, “You can look, but don’t touch / That part’s a mess / Leave it to me,” backed by a bouncy bassline and horns, her voice occasionally wrapped in a touch of autotune. “It’s an odd song but weirdly catchy,” she says. “My musical life is kind of encapsulated in it.”
Konigsberg has been writing songs all her life. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she started playing solo sets around NYC clubs as a teenager, before linking up with Bard classmates Ryser and Ivry-Block to form Palberta. “They’re the reason that I’m such a confident performer,” Konigsberg says about her Palberta bandmates. “We learned to perform together, and now I’m genuinely not scared when I go onstage. They’re my sisters, and they inspire me to just do me.” Despite this being her namesake project, Konigsberg’s biggest influences remain her friends and collaborators, and the project generally has the feeling of a collective effort. “I just love all of my friends, and I’m really happy that some of them are part of the record. Charlie, Hugo, Nina, Paco, Andrea, Matt, Nate. They inspire me a lot.”
Lily We Need to Talk Now explores the rollercoaster of grief that accompanies a heartbreak—and the rush of exciting things that come next. The album ends aptly with “True,” a cathartic, high-energy rocker that Konigsberg says captures “the feeling that you can’t live without someone—but you can.” She compares the end of a relationship to a death. “You can’t imagine someone in your life not being there, and then they’re not there. And sometimes you’re happy and laughing, and sometimes you’re mourning. But life does go on.”
Lily We Need To Talk Now will be released on Wharf Cat Records on October 29th. It is available for preorder here.
2. I Can Make You Sweat Forever
3. That’s The Way I Like It
5. Don’t Be Lazy With Me
6. Proud Home
8. Bad Boy
9. Roses, Again