Photo by Damien Paris
New York electropop songwriter Ethan Marunas, aka Baby Dayliner, is prepping his first release in over 10 years, an EP titled You Push, I’ll Go. The follow-up to 2006’s Critics Pass Away is due out July 7th through Brassland, the indie label co-founded by The National‘s Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner.
The Dessner brothers were instrumental in Baby Dayliner’s early success, signing Marunas to Brassland in the mid-2000s. Baby Dayliner also then went on to tour with The National and gain widespread exposure. In addition to the sibling musicians, Marunas has found great support in Matt Berninger. The National frontman cites Marunas’ work as inspiration for his own in many ways; Berninger is such a believer in Marunas that he’s written the glowing and insightful new Baby Dayliner bio that’s accompanying press releases for the new EP.
“The lyrics of so many pop songs feel like they were chosen by a committee from the same stale bag of recycled thoughts. I never get this feeling with Baby Dayliner,” reads the Berninger-penned bio, which Consequence of Sound is pleased to premiere today. “He writes in an extraordinarily personal tone that I’ve never heard in pop music. He writes about the small vulnerable moments of life and nails the details. He goes on little narrative runs that put me right in the moment.”
“What I like most Baby Dayliner’s writing is that there’s rarely any meanness in his songs,” Berninger adds, “no forced posturing or aggressiveness; and they are loaded with empathy. He sings about flawed and vane characters but with genuine understanding and kindness. The music is catchy, smart, and weird — something beautiful and odd, that only he does.”
As a taste of this deft songwriting, CoS is also premiering “The Triumph of Sarah’s Past”, a quirky yet infectious pop cut about a woman who seems to leave a path of destruction wherever she goes. “Sarah behaves extremely rashly,” Marunas tells CoS. “She doesn’t consider consequences. In her impulsiveness her dreams are never met. She wants to hit home-runs but all she does is miss. She lives in the past, unable to feel the present. Through vice she perpetuates denial, and hence staves off recovery and actualizing her ambitions. She doesn’t like or trust herself, and sees herself in the narrator, and so does not trust him either.”
True to Berninger’s testimonial, the new song manages to capture the finer details of human nature and complex feeling. It’s as though Marunas has X-ray vision and is reading the tiny, tiny spaces that exist between the lines. See/hear it for yourself down below via the track’s corresponding Damien Paris-directed video, which stars Marunas as one of Sarah’s ex-lovers.
You Push, I’ll Go EP Artwork:
You Push, I’ll Go Tracklist:
01. Don’t Ghost Me (featuring Blockhead)
02. The Triumph of Sarah’s Past
03. You Push, I’ll Go (featuring Alex Sanchez)
04. All Parties Are Over
Read Berninger’s full Baby Dayliner biography:
“The lyrics of so many pop songs feel like they were chosen by a committee from the same stale bag of recycled thoughts. I never get this feeling with Baby Dayliner. He writes in an extraordinarily personal tone that I’ve never heard in pop music. He writes about the small vulnerable moments of life and nails the details. He goes on little narrative runs that put me right in the moment.
It’s almost like being inside his head while he thinks to himself — while pivots from a personal tone to an ornate one within the same song keeps me connected and on my toes.
Baby Dayliner’s live performances are as idiosyncratic as his records. Whenever I’ve seen him live he’s been alone on stage with nothing but a microphone singing to his recorded backing tracks; beats, synths, loops and layers of harmonizing backing vocals, all him. He pans these harmonies far away from each other in the stereo field creating moments when different versions of Baby Dayliner suddenly step into the room and join the party. It’s like he’s cloned himself and given them all different roles to play in his tiny personal pop opera.
And Baby Dayliner dances when he performs — minimal shuffles and struts that appear to have been strictly choreographed and rehearsed. It feels like I’ve been invited into someone’s tiny apartment just to watch them being themselves. Within minutes I feel welcome and at home. His charm and unselfconsciousness is contagious and before long my own social anxieties dissolve and I’m singing and dancing along. He’s not kidding when he says ‘You’ll forget about yourself.’ He likes to put little call and response moments in the middle of his songs like he’s teaching rally chants to freshman cheerleaders. ‘You say strange. I say dreamin’. Strange. Dreamin’. Strange. Dreamin’.’ At his shows people will start singing with him and answering his calls without ever having heard the songs before. I’ve never seen that happen with any other artist.
What I like most Baby Dayliner’s writing is that there’s rarely any meanness in his songs; no forced posturing or aggressiveness; and they are loaded with empathy. He sings about flawed and vane characters but with genuine understanding and kindness. The music is catchy, smart, and weird— something beautiful and odd, that only he does.
Baby Dayliner is something uncommon in pop music. He’s unique.”