Premiere: We Are The Willows & Orchid Eaton’s “Keep Your Head Up” Is a Mantra for Turbulent Times

We Are The Willows (right) & Orchid Eaton (left) © Peter M
We Are The Willows (right) & Orchid Eaton (left) © Peter M
A psych-soaked hypnosis, We Are The Willows and Orchid Eaton’s song “Keep Your Head Up” is a poignant mantra for turbulent, strange times: A “personal anthem for life in a horrifying and confusing political reality.”
for fans of Grizzly Bear, MGMT, Passion Pit, The Postal Service
“Keep Your Head Up” – We Are The Willows & Orchid Eaton




You gotta keep your head up when everything is fucked up.

A psych-soaked hypnosis, We Are The Willows and Orchid Eaton’s new song is a poignant mantra for turbulent, strange times: A commitment to rise about the chaos and turmoil of any given moment, and “Keep Your Head Up” no matter what trouble comes our way. It may be easier said than done, but whether we’re focused on the global, national, or personal scales, it’s our duty to ourselves to remain resilient and persevere; to not get caught up in the madness, or lose ourselves in the shuffle.

Keep Your Head Up - We Are the Willows
Keep Your Head Up – We Are the Willows
A moment in time
To bare in mind
Two bears in mind
All of these sounds
I hope they are found
Why did I get so high?
You gotta keep your head up.
Everything is fucked up
We gotta be better
The politics of what’s inside

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Keep Your Head Up,” the first release from We Are The Willows’ Peter Miller and Orchid Eaton’s Matt Leavitt. Billed as the first of hopefully many more collaborations, the technicolor psychedelic pop song – whose sounds and textures call to mind artists like Passion Pit, MGMT, and so on – reunites two friends at a time when so many of us have been disconnected and isolated from one another.

Friends from Memorial High School in Eau Claire, WI, Peter Miller and Matt Leavitt both ended up moving to Minneapolis, MN and pursuing music through their respective bands. Active since 2007, We Are The Willows is a five-piece orchestral indie band featuring songwriter and producer Peter Miller, Hilary James (cello/ voice), Travis Collins (bass/voice), Jeremiah Satterthwaite (guitar) and Josh McKay (drums); the band have released three full length albums to date. Meanwhile, Orchid Eaton formed in 2017-18 as the duo of Brian Moen (Peter Wolf Crier, The Shouting Matches) and songwriter Matt Leavitt; they released their sophomore LP in April 2021.

Where are we now?
Are we too far gone?
I’m looking around
To see if we will rise up or fall down.
You gotta keep your head up
Everything is fucked up
We are running out of time
You gotta keep your head up
Everything is fucked up
The politics of what’s inside

While both individual artists/bands deserve listeners’ attention, their reunion is noteworthy for its compelling sonic, melodic, and emotional immersion. “Keep Your Head Up” arrives in a two-song single alongside “Tied Up in Knots,” another glistening outpouring that takes a gentler route to convey the drama within.

Built on a foundation of hope, “Keep Your Head Up” employs tender vocals, sweet melodies, swirling synth work, and driving drums to convey its uplifting message of keeping calm and carrying on. “You gotta keep your head up,” the duo sing together, octaves apart, in the chorus. “Everything is fucked up. We gotta be better – the politics of what’s inside.”

“‘Keep Your Head Up’ is a personal anthem for life in a horrifying and confusing political reality,” Peter Miller tells Atwood Magazine. “It may sound trite or naive, but we’re positing in this song that hope, optimism, and persistence are essential for a path forward, both politically & personally. I mean…how else are we gonna progress in a world that’s as troubled as our’s? And how are we gonna keep our sanity if we don’t believe that things can be better? That’s how I see it, I guess. Or that’s how I need to see it.”

“Musically, this song bloomed over a long period of time. It has a half dozen different iterations. It was a couple years of sending files back and forth until what we heard in our headphones matched what we heard in our heads. It was hard work, but it was honest. I don’t know if I’ve ever worked on a song for this this long without making any creative concessions. Which is not to say it was a struggle or contentious, but rather, the song kept giving us clues about what it was supposed to be and we had to keep looking for it. In the end, we found what we were looking for. That’s a gift.”

We Are The Willows (right) & Orchid Eaton (left) © Peter M
We Are The Willows (right) & Orchid Eaton (left) © Peter M

It almost feels naive or small to say it, but we’re positing in this song that hope and persistence are necessary for a path forward, both politically and personally.

Though the worst feels done and over
You gotta keep your head up now
It ain’t gonna be much better
Oh my god
Yeah, we gotta come clean and clever
You gotta keep your head up now
Cuz the work aint done and over
Oh my god

Miller and Leavitt go on to describe “Keep Your Head Up” and “Tied Up In Knots” as “songs about the difficulty of being alive in the world,” and indeed they are. Yet for the darkness it was born out of, “Keep Your Head Up” truly is a warm, affable mantra; can it feel bittersweet at times? Yes. Does it feel like the guys are sometimes saying words they don’t fully believe? Of course. It’s hard to keep your head up, especially when everything is fucked up. But to triumph over adversity, we must push through – even when we’re losing hope. The magic of this song lies in its no-matter-what message: That dynamic human fortitude that helps us adapt, overcome, and thrive.

Whatever the obstacles lying in your path, may this song help you soar. Stream We Are The Willows and Orchid Eaton’s “Keep Your Head Up” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

You gotta keep your head up
Everything is fucked up
We are running out of time
You gotta keep your head up
Everything is fucked up
The politics of what’s inside

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“Keep Your Head Up” – We Are The Willows & Orchid Eaton


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Keep Your Head Up - We Are the Willows

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📸 © Peter M

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