Premiere: The Weird Years’ “Lifevest” Is a Haunting & Timely Confrontation with Failing Authority

The Weird Years © Shervin Lainez
The Weird Years’ impassioned and hypnotic new single “Lifevest” is a timely and relevant return, directly confronting the corruption, greed, ineptitude, and evil we experience from those in charge and signaling the time for change.
Stream: “Lifevest” – The Weird Years




Whatever your personal “lifevest” is, whether it actually helps or just makes you feel comforted, hold it close to your chest because the plane is going down.

Indie supergroup The Weird Years introduced themselves during the turbulence that was 2019 with a haunting sound and an all-too compelling moniker – and while the band’s first few releases captured the pain, frustration, anger, and confusion of 2019, just their name alone resonates with the global turmoil and upheaval that has become 2020. Their impassioned and hypnotic new single “Lifevest” is a timely and relevant return, directly confronting the corruption, greed, ineptitude, and evil we experience from those in charge and signaling the time for change.

Lifevest - The Weird Years

Lifevest – The Weird Years

Smile and wave
“How’s the weather?”
One more champagne to sleep at night
Shake hands, come together
Make your big plans to stay alive
Hold your lifevest, hold your lifevest tight to your chest
We’re going down, familiar ground
Hold your lifevest, hold your lifevest tight to your chest
Just hope and pray you’ll be okay
It’s something you say

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Lifevest,” The Weird Years’ first single since releasing their self-titled debut EP last March. Out August 4, “Lifevest” is a song of, from, and for this strange, disturbing reality in which we find ourselves; all proceeds from the song will be donated to Black Voters Matter.

Previously hailed an “indie supergroup” by Atwood Magazine, The Weird Years weave a dreamy and alternative folk-pop sound that feels familiar yet fresh, organic yet ethereal. The group consists of Fort Gorgeous‘ Billy Libby, ex-Secret Someones members Hannah Winkler (also of Human Natural) and Bess Rogers, and A Great Big World’s Chris Kuffner; yet it’s not what they do outside of this outfit, but rather what they make when they’re all together, that makes The Weird Years so special.

“We often use surprising chord changes and lush instrumental textures, and we incorporate a lot of harmony stacks,” the band shared in our 2019 interview. “Radiohead is a big inspiration for us. We’ve all experienced the pressure to gear other projects towards mass listener appeal, and it’s been really nice to just create whatever we want for our own enjoyment — whatever we find beautiful, intriguing, and weird!”

It’s clear that this project is an endeavor that, should it find favor with others, will forever be second to the depth, purpose, and meaning behind the art. Intimate and achingly raw, The Weird Years will shake you to your core,” Atwood wrote of the band’s 2019 EP, going on to call it “a breathtaking masterpiece channeling ethereal music into cinematic reflections on loneliness, isolation, and finding love, hope, and connection in dark times.”

The Weird Years' Hannah and Bess © Shervin Lainez

The Weird Years’ Hannah and Bess © Shervin Lainez



The Weird Years' Billy and Chris © Shervin Lainez

The Weird Years’ Billy and Chris © Shervin Lainez

“Lifevest” is an eerie, spellbinding continuation of these musical and lyrical motifs, shaking listeners awake with dazzling vocals and a stirring arrangement.

Read the lines like you mean it
Make your voice shake with empathy
Make believe that you feel it, while you dream up new enemies
Hold your lifevest, hold your lifevest tight to your chest
We’re going down, familiar ground
Hold your lifevest, hold your lifevest tight to your chest
Just hope and pray you’ll be okay
It’s something you say

“From the band’s inception, The Weird Years has been both a creative outlet and a mechanism for us to cope with these strange times we’re living in,” the band tell Atwood Magazine. “Our name is a direct nod to this and some of our other songs have pointed in that direction, but in writing “Lifevest” we wanted to spell it out as explicitly as possible. The verses are written about a corrupt, power-hungry leader who ignores (or fuels) systemic injustice, feigns empathy to win approval, forms allegiances only out of self-preservation, has to drink themself to sleep to numb their conscience, and creates fictitious enemies instead of taking responsibility for the real problems facing their constituents. Whatever your personal “lifevest” is, whether it actually helps or just makes you feel comforted, hold it close to your chest because the plane is going down. May our catharsis be your catharsis! We do hope, however, that this song challenges people to go beyond maintaining their own comfort to actually taking action, and challenges them to see through the notion that thoughts and prayers alone will solve our society’s problems.”

The band continue, “Chris and Bess brought this haunting, looped guitar part and the chorus melody to a Weird Years writing session, and the song bloomed from there. We enjoyed crafting the song through the process of rehearsing and playing it live. It was fairly stripped down at first, but we added a more visceral and powerful moment with a stomp and clap bridge section. We love how intense and passionate it feels whenever we play it on stage! We chose to incorporate that timbre of the stomps and claps in the final recording to maintain that feeling of emotional release. Proceeds from “Lifevest” will go towards blackvotersmatter.org, a non-profit aimed towards increasing the access to voting and to uniting communities in support of black issues during this election.”

The Weird Years Dive into Their Self-Titled Masterpiece

:: FEATURE ::



Nobody likes to be told things are going south; that we are in trouble, broken, fractured – but we need more voices decrying these messages at the top of their lungs. Our country is in need of dire change; of redirection and reform. The Weird Years are the latest artist to remind us of this sad, horribly true fact: That we’re in trouble, and need to right the course before our ship sinks altogether. “Lifevest” implores us to hold on for dear life, recognizing – quite plainly – that it’s going to get a lot worse, before it gets any better.

There are innumerable causes to take up in this moment, and one of them is enfranchisement: Guaranteeing the right to vote for all eligible citizens. It’s something that many of us might inherently take for granted in 2020, but millions of voters across the country have been stripped of this Constitutional right through laws that make voting more difficult, complicated, and problematic for minority groups and people of color. Black Voters Matter states its goal is “to increase power in our communities. Effective voting allows a community to determine its own destiny.” The organization engages in voter registration, policy advocation, organizational development and training, and more – all to support and increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Learn more here, and consider downloading “Lifevest” tomorrow: proceeds go to a worthy and important cause.

For now, stream The Weird Years’ “Lifevest” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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Stream: “Lifevest” – The Weird Years



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📸 © Shervin Lainez

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com