say goodbye to pretty boy

February 12, 2020

Bartees Strange’s entire life has been building towards a statement like the one he makes on his debut EP, Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy. A complete reimagining of songs from The National, a genre-defining indie-rock staple of Bartees’ generation, the EP is both a heartfelt homage and a political act of critique. It utilizes everything from the cover art to his reading of the lyrics to allude to how black artists can find room in white spaces, and with just one listen it’s clear––this collection of songs was made with energy, intelligence, and love.


Recorded at Bartees’ home and mixed/mastered by Grammy-winning producer and engineer Chris Connors, Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy will be out on March 13 via Brassland, an independent record label founded in 2001 by The National’s’ Aaron and Bryce Dessner.

The first track from the EP, “About Today,” is streaming now, along with an original bonus track from Bartees called “Going Going.”

Click HERE to listen.

photo by Bao Ngo

The National have been both a soundtrack to Bartees’ journey as an artist, and a lens for some of that journey’s more jarring lessons. Moving from Oklahoma to Brooklyn to pursue music, Bartees was looking for the mythic artistic community that included people of color from across the country. He found an incredible scene of black and queer artists that welcomed him into their world––but he also found many of the same old patterns and problems.

At a 2019 National show in DC, Bartees was struck by how few black folks were in the crowd. Bartees felt compelled to recast these songs, focusing on the elements that made him fall in love with them but in translating them, he was speaking to the possibilities and contradictions within the genre.

The EP’s cover art reflects the themes of context and contradiction within. It features the tri-color Pan-African flag and a black sticker, its edges scraped and frayed, a nod to the cover of Bad Brains’ Black Dots.

“They try to tear that black dot off the surface, but it’s still there,” Bartees explains. “Battling erasure has been a big part of my journey as an artist. This black dot represents attempts to undersell the contributions black people have made to genres like indie rock music.

"Despite the lack of credit, we’re still here and we’re adding to these scenes every day.”

photo by Bao Ngo

Born in Ipswich, England to a military father and an opera singer mother, Bartees grew up all over the world until settling in Mustang, Oklahoma just before his 12th birthday. It was there that his vast range in musical taste and ability began to take shape.

As a teenager Bartees found himself fixated on the blooming hardcore and emo scene of the Midwest and Deep South, drawing inspiration from bands such as At The Drive-In, Norma Jean, MeWithoutYou and Bright Eyes. Later, through AOL instant messenger, Bartees would connect with old friends in the UK who exposed him to a new world of sonic influence, led by Bloc Party, Burial, Robyn, and Skream.

College, and a half-decade stint in Brooklyn, connected him with the rising indie scene—particularly favorites like Bon Iver, TV on The Radio, Frank Ocean, James Blake, King Krule, Japanese Breakfast, Mt. Kimbie, Mitski, Thao Nguyen and The National, giving him a crash course in lyrical intrigue and textural brilliance.


Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy is a summary of all of these influences combined, and the first release by an artist who is progressively developing into a cultural influencer in his own right. Bartees currently resides in Washington, DC, where he makes music and works at a non-profit, fighting against climate change and poverty.

‍

Music

say goodbye to pretty boy

February 12, 2020

Bartees Strange’s entire life has been building towards a statement like the one he makes on his debut EP, Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy. A complete reimagining of songs from The National, a genre-defining indie-rock staple of Bartees’ generation, the EP is both a heartfelt homage and a political act of critique. It utilizes everything from the cover art to his reading of the lyrics to allude to how black artists can find room in white spaces, and with just one listen it’s clear––this collection of songs was made with energy, intelligence, and love.


Recorded at Bartees’ home and mixed/mastered by Grammy-winning producer and engineer Chris Connors, Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy will be out on March 13 via Brassland, an independent record label founded in 2001 by The National’s’ Aaron and Bryce Dessner.

The first track from the EP, “About Today,” is streaming now, along with an original bonus track from Bartees called “Going Going.”

Click HERE to listen.

photo by Bao Ngo

The National have been both a soundtrack to Bartees’ journey as an artist, and a lens for some of that journey’s more jarring lessons. Moving from Oklahoma to Brooklyn to pursue music, Bartees was looking for the mythic artistic community that included people of color from across the country. He found an incredible scene of black and queer artists that welcomed him into their world––but he also found many of the same old patterns and problems.

At a 2019 National show in DC, Bartees was struck by how few black folks were in the crowd. Bartees felt compelled to recast these songs, focusing on the elements that made him fall in love with them but in translating them, he was speaking to the possibilities and contradictions within the genre.

The EP’s cover art reflects the themes of context and contradiction within. It features the tri-color Pan-African flag and a black sticker, its edges scraped and frayed, a nod to the cover of Bad Brains’ Black Dots.

“They try to tear that black dot off the surface, but it’s still there,” Bartees explains. “Battling erasure has been a big part of my journey as an artist. This black dot represents attempts to undersell the contributions black people have made to genres like indie rock music.

"Despite the lack of credit, we’re still here and we’re adding to these scenes every day.”

photo by Bao Ngo

Born in Ipswich, England to a military father and an opera singer mother, Bartees grew up all over the world until settling in Mustang, Oklahoma just before his 12th birthday. It was there that his vast range in musical taste and ability began to take shape.

As a teenager Bartees found himself fixated on the blooming hardcore and emo scene of the Midwest and Deep South, drawing inspiration from bands such as At The Drive-In, Norma Jean, MeWithoutYou and Bright Eyes. Later, through AOL instant messenger, Bartees would connect with old friends in the UK who exposed him to a new world of sonic influence, led by Bloc Party, Burial, Robyn, and Skream.

College, and a half-decade stint in Brooklyn, connected him with the rising indie scene—particularly favorites like Bon Iver, TV on The Radio, Frank Ocean, James Blake, King Krule, Japanese Breakfast, Mt. Kimbie, Mitski, Thao Nguyen and The National, giving him a crash course in lyrical intrigue and textural brilliance.


Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy is a summary of all of these influences combined, and the first release by an artist who is progressively developing into a cultural influencer in his own right. Bartees currently resides in Washington, DC, where he makes music and works at a non-profit, fighting against climate change and poverty.

‍

Music

say goodbye to pretty boy

February 20, 2020

Bartees Strange’s entire life has been building towards a statement like the one he makes on his debut EP, Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy. A complete reimagining of songs from The National, a genre-defining indie-rock staple of Bartees’ generation, the EP is both a heartfelt homage and a political act of critique. It utilizes everything from the cover art to his reading of the lyrics to allude to how black artists can find room in white spaces, and with just one listen it’s clear––this collection of songs was made with energy, intelligence, and love.


Recorded at Bartees’ home and mixed/mastered by Grammy-winning producer and engineer Chris Connors, Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy will be out on March 13 via Brassland, an independent record label founded in 2001 by The National’s’ Aaron and Bryce Dessner.

The first track from the EP, “About Today,” is streaming now, along with an original bonus track from Bartees called “Going Going.”

Click HERE to listen.

photo by Bao Ngo

The National have been both a soundtrack to Bartees’ journey as an artist, and a lens for some of that journey’s more jarring lessons. Moving from Oklahoma to Brooklyn to pursue music, Bartees was looking for the mythic artistic community that included people of color from across the country. He found an incredible scene of black and queer artists that welcomed him into their world––but he also found many of the same old patterns and problems.

At a 2019 National show in DC, Bartees was struck by how few black folks were in the crowd. Bartees felt compelled to recast these songs, focusing on the elements that made him fall in love with them but in translating them, he was speaking to the possibilities and contradictions within the genre.

The EP’s cover art reflects the themes of context and contradiction within. It features the tri-color Pan-African flag and a black sticker, its edges scraped and frayed, a nod to the cover of Bad Brains’ Black Dots.

“They try to tear that black dot off the surface, but it’s still there,” Bartees explains. “Battling erasure has been a big part of my journey as an artist. This black dot represents attempts to undersell the contributions black people have made to genres like indie rock music.

"Despite the lack of credit, we’re still here and we’re adding to these scenes every day.”

photo by Bao Ngo

Born in Ipswich, England to a military father and an opera singer mother, Bartees grew up all over the world until settling in Mustang, Oklahoma just before his 12th birthday. It was there that his vast range in musical taste and ability began to take shape.

As a teenager Bartees found himself fixated on the blooming hardcore and emo scene of the Midwest and Deep South, drawing inspiration from bands such as At The Drive-In, Norma Jean, MeWithoutYou and Bright Eyes. Later, through AOL instant messenger, Bartees would connect with old friends in the UK who exposed him to a new world of sonic influence, led by Bloc Party, Burial, Robyn, and Skream.

College, and a half-decade stint in Brooklyn, connected him with the rising indie scene—particularly favorites like Bon Iver, TV on The Radio, Frank Ocean, James Blake, King Krule, Japanese Breakfast, Mt. Kimbie, Mitski, Thao Nguyen and The National, giving him a crash course in lyrical intrigue and textural brilliance.


Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy is a summary of all of these influences combined, and the first release by an artist who is progressively developing into a cultural influencer in his own right. Bartees currently resides in Washington, DC, where he makes music and works at a non-profit, fighting against climate change and poverty.

‍