About a month ago, Aaron Dessner teased that there was new material on the way from Big Red Machine, his side project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. In an Instagram post addressed to a friend, he wrote that he was “literally finishing new @bigredmachineadjv as we speak.” Now he has pulled back the curtain some on the group’s upcoming output: Dessner hosted a livestream yesterday, during which he performed some new songs.
He played six new tracks in total, with four of them credited to Big Red Machine: “Brycie,” “The Gaîté,” “Hoping Then,” and “Latter Days.” One some of them, he performed along to recorded portions of the song.
“Brycie” is named after his twin brother and fellow The National member Bryce, and Dessner said the song is “a love song to my twin, and it’s sort of about… for all these years, Bryce has kind of picked me up whenever I fall or I’ve struggled with depression or some things like a lot of us have.” On “Hoping Then,” Vernon’s vocals could be heard, and Dessner said the song was one of the last ones he and Vernon worked on before self-quarantining.
Dessner said last two songs he performed, “Stella” and “Jenny Kissed Me,” aren’t necessarily for Big Red Machine. He also noted that there are 20 new Big Red Machine songs that have been recorded so far, and that Sharon Van Etten and Anaïs Mitchell contribute to the new material.
Watch Dessner play the new songs above.