Watch the video for ‘Unready’ now, featuring a cameo from Alex Borstein – voice of Lois Griffin in Family Guy + currently starring in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Local proceeds from ‘Unready’ sales on Bandcamp during June to be donated to NAAJA – North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
Our Two Skins album out June 26 via Liberation Records
With a little over two weeks left until the release of her sophomore album Our Two Skins, Gordi shares a new single ‘Unready’, complete with video, from the offering. Gordi is also proud to join the line-up for Bon Iver’s recently rescheduled Australian arena tour for March and April next year.
Following previously released songs ‘Sandwiches’, ‘Aeroplane Bathroom’ and ‘Volcanic’, ‘Unready’ appears like a blast of pop optimism, a song about being caught off-guard by your life while you stand in the middle of it. Co-produced by John Congleton, the track is ornamented with synth, muted percussion, and Gordi’s emotive voice. ‘Unready’ began as a voice memo Gordi had recorded while sitting at a harmonium in Reykjavik, Iceland at the beginning of 2017. To bring it to life, she, Chris Messina (Bon Iver, Bruce Hornsby, Big Red Machine), and Zach Hanson (Bon Iver, Hand Habits, Waxahatchee, Tallest Man) turned out the lights and plugged in an old strobe light she uncovered in her brother’s bedroom in an attempt to put her in the right headspace.
“For me it sits quite separately to the rest of the record – it’s the only song whose lyrics predate the period of my life described by the rest of the songs on Our Two Skins,” says Gordi. “When it came time to record the song we tracked every guitar we could find for the big strum sound in the chorus. Singing it proved a challenge because it sits a little higher than my comfortable register. We had tried to do the vocal takes in the cottage but it wasn’t working so one night we ventured over to my parent’s house for a change of scene. Chris asked me (as a joke) if we had any strobe lights in the house to set the mood. We always joke that you could request any object from my Mum and she’d have it to you in minutes from some treasure trove of stuff in the house. Sure enough, we found a strobe light in the wardrobe of my brother’s childhood bedroom. We turned the lights off and hit the strobe, setting the perfect conditions to finally execute the vocal take for ‘Unready’.”
The single is accompanied by a video directed by Madeleine Purdy, which features a cameo from Family Guy’s Alex Borstein (voice of Lois Griffin). Alex is also one of the leads in current TV series The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, and put her hand up to join Gordi’s video after a series of Instagram DMs and Tweets.
Playing on a sequence of slightly absurd and incongruous scenarios, the clip acts as a flamboyant enactment of the album’s playful side. “I asked Purdy to make a video in the middle of a pandemic, and we finally arrived at this idea: “vignettes of despair”, Gordi reflects.
The writing of Our Two Skins began after a nervous breakdown while pacing around an Etihad flight from Australia to Europe in late 2017. Gordi had finished exams to earn a medical degree and after trading her “nice, safe relationship” for a new one, she began coming to terms with a new truth in her identity. That identity struggle and her new relationship, which played out against the backdrop of the marriage equality plebiscite in Australia and her Catholic upbringing, led to an isolated internal state. That state was further fueled by distance, trying communication and lost loved ones. Our Two Skins chronicles the intense and impossible time that Gordi spent renegotiating who she is and how she fits into the world.
Eager to bottle the isolation and emptiness she felt during this period of rediscovery, the remoteness of Canowindra, the tiny town where her family has lived for over a century, proved the right location. Here, her internal state could be seen, felt and captured. Gordi called upon her friends Chris Messina (Bon Iver, Bruce Hornsby, Big Red Machine) and Zach Hanson (Bon Iver, Hand Habits, Waxahatchee, Tallest Man) to help her achieve this sonic goal. The producer duo flew from Wisconsin to Canowindra armed with selected gear, and set up a studio in an old cottage on the family farm for a month – a quarantine-premonition of sorts. There was no phone reception, no wi-fi, and a tin outhouse located in a nearby shearing shed. “It was very removed, very isolated,” Gordi says. The trio each selected their favourite few instruments and studio tools, and restricted themselves to just those resources while making Our Two Skins.
Currently, Gordi has applied to return to the medical field to help out during the COVID-19 crisis, where she will likely be placed in a pop-up “fever clinic” or in a rural hospital. She is on standby with a variety of hospitals and health authorities for rural local work and metropolitan overflow work, saying she is ready to return to the wards while touring is not possible. Speaking to News Breakfast on ABC TV in Australia she said “I’ll dig out my work backpack, make sure my stethoscope is functioning as it should and go back to my other life; it will likely be in a more frantic state than I left it.”
In light of recent international events, Gordi will be donating proceeds from ‘Unready’ Bandcamp sales during June to NAAJA in Australia and NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the US.
Gordi’s debut album Reservoir debuted in the Top 20 of the ARIA Albums Chart in 2017.
GORDI – TOUR DATES WITH BON IVER
Wednesday 24 March | RAC Arena, Perth
Monday 29 March | Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday 27 March | AEC Arena, Adelaide
Thursday 1 April | Riverstage, Brisbane
Monday 5 April | First State Super Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday 6 April | First State Super Theatre, Sydney
Our Two Skins Gordi
Album out 26 June 2020 through Liberation Records
Available to pre-order here
Our Two Skins tracklisting:
1. Aeroplane Bathroom
6. Extraordinary Life
7. Hate The World
8. Look Like You
10. Free Association