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Song Premiere, Lisa Hannigan, 'Prayer For The Dying'

Lisa Hannigan's new album, <em>At Swim</em>, comes out August 19.
Rich Gilligan
Courtesy of the artist
Lisa Hannigan's new album, At Swim, comes out August 19.

Lisa Hannigan has succeeded mightily as a collaborator: The Irish singer-songwriter first broke through singing alongside Damien Rice on his first two albums, then later performed on Steven Price's Oscar-winning score for the movie Gravity. But Hannigan's solo records — 2008's Sea Sew and 2011's Passenger — are uniformly lovely, as well, proving that she's always deserved a spotlight of her own.

On August 19, Hannigan will release her third album, At Swim. In a sense, it finds the singer inhabiting the best of both worlds: At Swim is unmistakably a solo project, but it also allows her to bounce ideas off a new producer, The National's Aaron Dessner. Together, they craft a moodily gorgeous collection of songs about longing and alienation — appropriate for a singer who'd been struggling to adjust to life after relocating to London.

This first taste of At Swim, "Prayer For The Dying," showcases Hannigan's considerable gift for slow-burning melancholy. Setting her lustrous voice against a backdrop of piano, slide guitar and swooning backing vocals, the song sways sweetly for four and a half languid, hypnotic minutes.

At Swim Track Listing

  • Fall
  • Prayer For The Dying
  • Snow
  • Lo
  • Undertow
  • Ora
  • We, The Drowned
  • Anahorish
  • Tender
  • Funeral Suit
  • Barton
  • At Swim comes out August 19 via 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.)