Premiere: Ester’s “Seed, Sun, Soil” Is an Aching, Enchanting, & Tender Lament

Ester © Ash Dye
Ester © Ash Dye
An enchanting lament for a lost plant, Ester’s “Seed, Sun, Soil” is a haunting dirge full of warmth, tenderness, and the raw pulse of an aching heart.
Stream: “Seed, Sun, Soil” – Ester
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/1553095753?secret_token=s-kbI61fHRgy5″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=true&visual=true&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]




You could take me right down if you knew how to beat me…

Back in 2016, I purchased my first proper “pet plant” at one of New York City’s street fairs – a beautiful baby pineapple.

I had never really cared for non-succulent plants before, nor am I known for having anything close to a green thumb – so this was as much a test for me, as it was for the pineapple. But I studied proper plant care, and over the following months and years I made sure she was well hydrated, in a space with plenty of (but not too much!) sunlight, and looked after. She was a delicate, spiky thing, and over our time together she grew to be nearly twice her starting size.

And then came the day, in mid 2018, that I discovered a patch of mold on her underside – and knew our time together was coming to a close. It sounds silly to grieve a plant, but it hurts to lose something you cared for – even if it never had a way of showing you that same care in return (and even if it was responsible for any number of small, but painful cuts, thanks to a particularly sharp set of edges that, despite your trying, never seemed to dull down). I grew up in a house full of greenery, and the baby pineapple was my first serious attempt at nurturing something on my own. Losing it felt, appropriately, like the end of an era of sorts – and I wish Ester’s latest single had been around earlier, as it would have been a poignant accompaniment to those final days before she fully keeled over, succumbing to the rot. An enchanting lament for a lost plant, “Seed, Sun, Soil” is a haunting dirge full of warmth, tenderness, and the raw pulse of an aching heart.

Seed, Sun, Soil - Ester
Seed, Sun, Soil – Ester
Take the seed and plant it, water it and watch it
it takes a bit of earth
take the plant and tend it, water it and weed it
it takes a bit of dirt
Worry and lament
the cracks in the cement with weeds all pushing through
I tried my very best to do it all without you
all the green it goes and leaves me wanting
it takes a bit of hurt
all left with the feeling of a feeling
smaller than it’s worth
worry and lament the actions I regret
with no way out of them
wait for some seraphim to tell me I am blessed

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Seed, Sun, Soil,” the latest single taken off Ester’s forthcoming EP, Laundry (out November 2023 via EU-based indie Audiosport Records). The Chicago-based band helmed by Anna Holmquist, Ester have made a name for themselves over the past few years as an up-and-coming force in the Midwest, with a considerable sonic range and spellbinding musical palette that bridges the indie rock, folk, and pop worlds.

Ester © Ash Dye
Ester © Ash Dye



Featuring new songs alongside reworks of older material, Laundry is set to be Ester’s first larger release in over three years’ time, since 2020’s acclaimed sophomore LP, Turn Around – a record that garnered comparisons to artists like Big Thief and Lucius, while standing out on its own merits.

“Darkness permeates Ester’s visceral new album, but not in the draining, melancholic way to which most of us are accustomed,” Atwood Magazine wrote in our album premiere, dated March 23rd. “Rather, Turn Around is a heavy, vulnerable, and refreshingly introspective record reckoning with adulthood. It’s a coming-of-age album that brings listeners intimately close to life’s regular and not-so-regular turbulence – from cults and strained relationships to self-love, insecurity, and chasing our dreams… [It’s] a passionate, expressive, and dynamic alternative rock force ready to fill our ears during those long days and nights ahead.”

A lot of life has come and gone in the time since March 2020.

ESTER’S VISCERAL SOPHOMORE RECORD ‘TURN AROUND’ IS A TURBULENT COMING-OF-AGE EXPERIENCE

:: ALBUM PREMIERE ::



The longer it takes, the harder it gets
the same old escapes I’m full of regret
you could take me right down if you knew how to beat me
you could take me right down if you wanted to be me
you could take me right now if you wanted to
you could take me right now if you wanted to
all the leaves curl inward tighter and tighter
it takes a bit of work
to open them and hope the sun is what grows it,
and grows it and grows it, and grows

“Seed, Sun, Soil” doesn’t look at the bigger picture, however; it’s a small, haunting song focused on a relationship those of us without green thumbs – but who try anyway – know all too well: That of the human carer, and the dying plant.

And while it surely applies to other aspects of life as well, I can (for reasons already mentioned above) deeply appreciate Ester’s songwriting for its initial intent.

“This song is about how sad it is to watch the death of something you grew and nurtured,” Anna Holmquist tells Atwood Magazine. “Once after we played this live, someone enthusiastically told me that he wanted to share it with his Dungeons and Dragons group and I’ve never received a higher compliment.”

hurry let us go about our business
with no thought to bigger things

the way you look at me makes me want to be better
And I can promise nothing
but that I’m not done until I say I’m done
and even then I haven’t found a thing that stops me

THE LONELY, HEAVY WEIGHT OF ESTER’S LOCKDOWN SONG, “RED ROVER”

:: TODAY'S SONG ::



the longer it takes, the harder it gets
the same old escapes, I’m full of regret
you could take me right down if you knew how to beat me
you could take me right now if you wanted to be me
you could take me right now if you wanted to
you could take me right now if you wanted to
you could take me right now if you wanted to
you could take me right now if you wanted to

Cellos wail and guitars churn a melancholy melody as Holmquist sings, their voice hypnotic and full of weight. “Seed, Sun, Soil” explores what it means to lose, and how loss hangs with us long after the point of death. It’s a song that dwells in gut-wrenching depths, exposing us to the darkest parts of life so that we may remember what a beauty it is to be alive and to be here, right now.

You don’t need to have ever mourned a plant’s loss in order to appreciate and understand what Ester’s song is really about. Stream “Seed, Sun, Soil” exclusively on Atwood Magazine.

Ester’s Laundry EP is out November 2023 via Audiosport Records.

— —

Stream: “Seed, Sun, Soil” – Ester
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/1553095753?secret_token=s-kbI61fHRgy5″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&visual=true&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]



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Laundry - Ester

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? © Ash Dye

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