Ellen Kempner takes us to church on the first verse of “Cushioned Caging,” the latest track from Palehound’s upcoming Dry Food, but the confidence she has to perform and “walk out smiling” doesn’t carry through to the rest of her life. The title of the song is evocative of padded solitary confinement, where growth isn’t really possible because you’re so trapped inside yourself. Kempner’s ready to be more mature — “hoping that my hair will start its greying” — but she’s being held back by bad judgement: “I knew you were a close call/ I love you, it’s all my fault.” The band’s instruments on the song sound like they’re clanging against the jail cell that is her life, desperate to get out. But Kempner sets herself up to have a lot to lose: “When all that’s left of me is you, pointing at a person I’ve been faking,” and thus things stay the same. The risk ends up having no reward. Listen below.
Dry Food is out 8/14 via Exploding In Sound.