Phoebe Bridgers and Noah Gundersen Blend Voices and Songs
By Stephen Thompson
Phoebe Bridgers is an NPR Music favorite — she’s already been one of our 2018 Slingshot artists and played a Tiny Desk concert — whose Stranger in the Alps was one of last year’s best debuts. Noah Gundersen has spent the last decade breaking out slowly and steadily, releasing a long string of well-received albums and EPs.
Last fall, Bridgers opened for Gundersen on a tour that stopped in the latter’s Seattle hometown. The two actually go way back — she used to sell merch at his shows — so sharing a stage gave them the idea to visit Seattle’s Studio X and record an eight-minute medley of their songs with help from Gundersen’s sister Abby. It’s remarkable how well their voices and songwriting blend as they swap verses and share choruses: Bridgers’ “Killer” stuns in any setting, and Gundersen’s “The Sound” is a revelation in their collective hands. Performed back to back, the two songs sound hauntingly beautiful.
Bridgers is one of Gundersen’s biggest fans: “I’ve been a fanatic Noah fan since I was a teenager,” she writes via email. “He changed the way I write music, made me more comfortable with being honest in my songs. Getting to sing with him was like getting pulled onstage by your favorite band during a show.”
The feeling, it turns out, is mutual.
“I’m just a big fan of her work,” Gundersen writes. “I listened to her record obsessively and I wanted to make something with her. This was recorded on our last day of tour together, when we all had a few spare hours in the afternoon.”
Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album, Stranger in the Alps, is out now via Dead Oceans. Noah Gunderson’s new record, White Noise, is out now via Cooking Vinyl.