Like any good artist, Half Waif (real name Nandi Rose Plunkett) draws inspiration from a deeply personal place, and that remains true on her upcoming batch of music: She just announced that her next album, Lavender, is coming out on April 27th via Casine, and that its title is inspired by her grandmother and the lavender she used to pick from her garden.
Plunkett knew her grandmother’s life was drawing to a close while writing the album (she later passed away at 95 years old) and “as a result,” she says in a lengthy statement about the record, “themes of aging and collapse are all over this album. It is an elegy to time, the pilgrimages we take, and the ultimate slow plod towards our end.”
The album announcement also comes with a video for the smoldering synthpop single “Keep It Out.” Plunkett says the song is “about the evolution of the self in a relationship: the maintenance of autonomy in the midst of a process of coupling, aging, and decay.” She also shared her thoughts on the video, explaining that it’s about being together and alone in a relationship:
“[The video shows] two states of being that we experience in relationships: together and alone. The two boxers stand off as if to fight but then dissolve into a series of movements that depict both a struggle and a communion. They push off each other in one moment and guide each other the next. Meanwhile, alone inside a clear box, the solitary character explores confined movement and confronts boundaries that are invisible yet impermeable. Throughout the video, the three ‘Diamond Head’ dancers act as a kind of Greek Chorus, mischievously threading between the two states of being, operating as the only connection between the isolated islands. Together, these entities explore the ways we attempt to escape from ourselves by hiding inside others — and what we hide from others by keeping it for ourselves.”
Find the Lavender album art and tracklist below, as well as Half Waif’s upcoming tour dates and her full statement on the album.
1. “Lavender Burning”
3. “Keep It Out”
4. “Lilac House”
5. “In The Evening”
6. “Solid 2 Void”
8. “Back In Brooklyn”
11. “Salt Candy”
12. “Ocean Scope”
2/6 — Vienna, Austria @ Wuk ^
2/8 — Prague, Czech Republic @ Hypernia ^
2/10 — Wiesbaden, Germany @ Schlachthof ^
2/11 — Paris, France @ Café de la Danse ^
2/13 — Birmingham, UK @ Symphony Hall ^
2/14 — Dublin, Ireland @ The Helix ^
2/15 — Manchester, UK @ Bridgewater Hall ^
2/16 — London, UK @ Eventim Apollo ^
3/16 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo *
3/17 — Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar *
3/18 — Lexington, KY @ The Burl *
3/19 — Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
3/20 — Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop *
3/21 — Milwaukee, WI @ The Backroom at Colectivo Coffee *
3/22 — Madison, WI @ High Noon Salon *
^ with Iron & Wine
* with Mitski
“Lavender is so named for my grandmother Asha – a nod to the lavender she would pluck from her garden and boil in a pot on the stove. The first time I noticed her doing this, it struck me as a kind of magic: the small black cauldron bubbling with a piece of the earth. She did it to make the house smell good. I believe it was also a ritual of purification, clearing out any shadows that may have tried to creep into the old English home she’d lived in, alone, for fifty years.
When I wrote and recorded Lavender, my grandmother was alive, and though she wasn’t ill at the time of her sudden death in September, it was obvious her life – after 95 years – was drawing to a close. As a result, themes of aging and collapse are all over this album. It is an elegy to time, the pilgrimages we take, and the ultimate slow plod towards our end. It is an examination of the way we fracture, inside ourselves and inside our relationships – the fissures that creep along the structures we build, the tendency towards disintegration.
We face many endings in our lives, on the path toward that unfathomable yet omnipresent ultimate Ending. Break-ups and divorces, marriages and the estrangement of the self, hard times and bittersweet relief, steep precipices that rise up beyond our control over and over again. These endings are markers of time and growth, small personal apocalypses that pockmark our days. And yet there is more to come when the terror subsides; even the night itself – that great darkness – must end and give way to new light. Lavender is a talisman to hold in the midst of that uncertainty, to heal and remind ourselves that it’s not over. It’s not ending yet.”