Posted on October 26th, 2022
[as seen on Paste]
Bay Area rock trio Sour Widows are back with their second new single of the year, out now alongside an animated lyric video. Like this summer’s “Witness” before it, “I-90” was produced in collaboration with Oakland-based engineer Maryam Qudus (Toro y Moi, SASAMI, Spacemoth).
Sour Widows’ Maia Sinaiko says of the song, written in 2017 after their partner’s tragic passing:
"I wrote “I-90” at a time when all I could do was make music alone in my room. Day to day life was a constant cycling through memories of places, feelings and experiences of which I was now the sole keeper. I found that the most mundane memories—driving in my partner’s car, the rural midwest landscapes of my college town—felt priceless, acting as vivid portals into what was now an irrevocable part of my life. The endlessness of grief supersedes the normal passage of time and the people we lose remain in places we can never go back to. It’s magic and terrible all at once; that is what this song is about."
Sour Widows build a characteristically dynamic memorial to those lost moments on “I-90,” the instrumental marching forward unafraid, much like Sinaiko journeying back into their precious, painful memories. The band’s luminous slowcore expands and contracts like a lung, with steady bass from Will Bohrer and atmospheric synth from Qudus expanding its dimensions. Meanwhile, Sinaiko’s songwriting shines: They zero in on the kind of details that make it feel like you’re right there in the backseat, singing, “I wonder what it felt like asleep in that car / While I drove by all the cold cattle / Could you feel them breathing?” Crashing choruses let the track’s passion shine through, as do a hauntingly beautiful instrumental bridge and an explosive climax: “I’m all emptied out / Like the freeway / You keep driving down,” Sinaiko sings just before the track explodes into distorted electric strums and a vocal shout-along, one last gasp.
There’s no official word yet on whether “I-90” and “Witness” belong to a longer body of work, but we’ve been anticipating Sour Widows’ full-length debut for quite some time. Paste praised “Witness” as one of the best tracks of July 2022.
Sour Widows have a handful of shows with Duster (!) on the docket this week, the first of which is tonight (Oct. 26) in Santa Cruz, California. They also have a San Francisco show with Torrey and Living Hour set for early December.
Watch the “I-90” lyric video (animated by Cole Montminy and assembled and edited by Asher Sinaiko) and Sour Widows’ 2022 Paste session below, and find their tour dates further down.