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Song Premiere: Blind Pilot, 'Umpqua Rushing'

Blind Pilot's new album, <em>And Then Like Lions</em>, comes out August 12.
Eric Ryan Anderson
Courtesy of the artist
Blind Pilot's new album, And Then Like Lions, comes out August 12.

Blind Pilot, <em>And Then Like Lions</em>
/ Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
Blind Pilot, And Then Like Lions

It's been nearly five years since the charming Portland folk-pop band Blind Pilot released its second and most recent album, We Are The Tide, and that record's roiling title track has only recently begun popping up in beer commercials. Given that the band used to tour up and down the West Coast via bicycle, it should come as no surprise that Blind Pilot is accustomed to taking its time.

On August 12, Blind Pilot will finally release And Then Like Lions, the band's third album and first new release for a big label. Its grower of an opening track, "Umpqua Rushing," points to a softer, dreamier direction for Blind Pilot. It's a hazy, quiet beauty that builds slowly but persistently — appropriate for a band that's long balanced rising-star status with the subtlety of a lifer with little to prove.

Blind Pilot singer-songwriter Israel Nebeker writes about "Umpqua Rushing" and And Then Like Lions via email:

The past isn't finished with us yet. Love can be like that, too. I think of this album as a conversation about different kinds of loss and the courage we find when we face loss honestly, cracked open and unsure of what we will become, which is the only real way to face it. In this song, I write about the Umpqua Forest in Oregon and the lost coast of Northern California. It amazes me how places reveal themselves as significant to us by the stories we live in them. They echo memories back to us when we visit or when we listen from afar. I like that, and it reminds me how the past isn't finished with us.

And Then Like Lions comes out August 12 on ATO.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)