Premiere: Self-Love & Reckoning in Darkbird’s Visceral “3-2-Wake Up”

Darkbird © Dustin Cohen
Darkbird © Dustin Cohen
Austin indie rock band Darkbird dwell in a space of self-love, self-discovery, and inner reckoning on their single “3-2-Wake Up,” a visceral, deeply introspective exploration of the self.
Stream: “3-2-Wake Up” – Darkbird




Sometimes a bird’s eye view helps in ways we can’t even imagine: Stepping out of our bodies for a moment, and seeing ourselves and our present situations from above allows for a fresh perspective and new insights beyond that which we can see or fathom on the ground. However you’re able to disengage and step back, make sure to do it every once in a while. Austin indie rock band Darkbird dwell in a space of self-love, self-discovery, and inner reckoning on their single “3-2-Wake Up,” a visceral, deeply introspective exploration of the self.

Ballad of a Junebug - Darkbird
Ballad of a Junebug – Darkbird
When I saw
When I saw your face tonight
I nearly fell down
Yeah it hit me like a bolt of lightning
How did you find out
That you’re so beautiful
You are everything I thought you could be
I guess you threw out
That old suitcase full of hand me down delusions
I know the world is a whale
and it’s swallowing you

Hold onto me and you’ll see
That it doesn’t matter

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the Travis Lee Ratcliff-directed music video for “3-2-Wake Up,” the second single taken off Darkbird’s recently-released debut EP, Ballad of a Junebug (independently out April 1, 2022). Comprised of singer/songwriter Kelly Barnes and guitarist Brian Cole alongside additional band members, Darkbird formed as both Barnes and Cole were seeking a fresh start: As they themselves proclaim on the band’s socials, “Lyrics to the first song Kelly and Brian would ever write together set the stage for the romantic waterloo that would become Darkbird.”

I know the way you thought it should it be
And oh how it hurts you so
Listen for me
I count back from 3-2-wake up
Baby let’s go

A sweeping six track immersion, Ballad of a Junebug captures a band coming into their own with cool confident and unrelenting passion. Strains of feverish ’00s indie rock, from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes, to LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire, make their way effortlessly into Darkbird’s evocative and cinematic alternative sound. The EP’s lead single “Heartbreat” is a catchy outpouring of sweet searing rock-driven indie pop, and songs like the title track “Ballad of a Junebug” and “Bastard Governor” showcase the band’s fully unleashed potential.

Darkbird © Dustin Cohen
Darkbird © Dustin Cohen

“‘Ballad of a Junebug’ was the first song Kelly and I ever wrote, and it still resonates within us today,” Brian Cole tells Atwood Magazine. “This EP, in my mind, is the culmination of our pasts, and our readiness for the future. We all evolved so much while working on this. We have all brought years of heartbreak, hardships, and real life rock n’ roll to this album. But it’s still Darkbird.”

The same can be said of “3-2-Wake Up,” an intimate upheaval of fraught inner emotions that sees Darkbird dwelling in the depths of introspection and self-discovery. Cole’s tight, riffing and roaring guitars help to create a searing, dark atmosphere around Kelly Barnes’ voice; Barnes, for her part, injects fiery emotion into every uttered line, ensuring listeners hang on her every word from the song’s start, straight through to its cathartic end. “I know the world is a whale and it’s swallowing you,” she sings in an impassioned pre-chorus. “Hold onto me and you’ll see that it doesn’t matter…”

When you called
When i heard your voice tonight
I nearly broke down
I am never one to take things lightly
But hey i’m ready to start
I’m ready to start it all over…
I know the world is a whale and it’s swallowing us
Hold onto me and you’ll see
That it’s getting better
You’re kicking rocks with no shoes or socks
It makes for a hard walk home
Listen for me, listen for me
I count back from 3-2-wake up
Baby let go

As Barnes candidly shares, this song is an open and intimate conversation between herself and herself.

“A while back I decided to try hypnotherapy after stumbling into a conversation about it with a friend,” the Darkbird vocalist explains. “I went in with no real expectation outside of a new experience. Maybe I’d have a bit of self discovery if I was open to it, and lucky.”

“‘3-2-Wake Up’ is about what I saw during this experiment which was basically two contrasting versions of myself that I could watch from the outside, as I looked in.Lyrically, one version is admiring the other, seeing the possibilities realized. In turn the admired version is attempting to empower and uplift the other. I’m no Whitney but I guess it’s really just my ‘Greatest Love of All’. Self-love is not easy.. In my “hypnotized” state, I was able to watch how hard it can be for me, and it was pretty damn powerful.”

And you wanted you wanted it, oh
I know the world is a whale and it’s swallowing you
Hold onto me and you’ll see
That it doesn’t matter
Look at the sun girl
That’s your reflection
When will you give yourself some affection
Listen for me
I count back from 3-2-1
Baby let go
Darkbird © Dustin Cohen
Darkbird © Dustin Cohen



Self-love is not easy.. In my “hypnotized” state, I was able to watch how hard it can be for me, and it was pretty damn powerful.

“3-2-Wake Up” is all about recognizing your own strengths, faults, fractures, and everything in-between; about being open, honest, and vulnerable in acknowledging who you are, and who you can be. While Darkbird are an open emotional book in the song, they bring us in close to their band identity in their visual accompaniment: A performance video shot entirely in black and white, the “3-2-Wake Up” music video takes us onstage and into the studio with the indie rock band, giving listeners a chance to put a face to the name and experience this emotional experience with a little more physical clarity.

All told, Darkbird are well on their way to being one of our favorite Austin indie rock bands. With vibrant lyrics and a dynamic, charged sound, “3-2-Wake Up” and Ballad of a Junebug prove a great introduction to a group with a strong sound and tremendous promise.

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:: stream/purchase “Ballad of a Junebug” here ::
Stream: “3-2-Wake Up” – Darkbird



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Ballad of a Junebug - Darkbird

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📸 © Dustin Cohen

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