Single of the Week: MJ Lenderman – Rudolph

MJ Lenderman’s Boat Songs was one of the highlights of 2022, channeling an alt-country sound with a lyrical curiosity that staggered listeners. Now the Wednesday guitarist is returning hot on its heels with new single, Rudolph, a first release since joining the esteemed stable of artists on ANTI-.

Written while tour with Wednesday, the track was the first he composed after his third solo album, and evolved on the road before being completed post-gig in Atlanta. The sound of the song will be familiar to those who fell in love with Boat Songs, with a distorted, buckled lap steel intertwining with fuzz-drenched strums. Lenderman’s voice verges on the angelic, but perhaps an angel who has experienced things no heavenly creature should. The visceral melancholy of the lyrics only underlines this as Lenderman sings ‘Rudolph waking up in the road / Dew dripping of his red nose / Blue and black tyre track town / Through a beautiful doe.’

When the inevitable fourth album comes, early indications are that the majesty of Boat Songs is just the beginning.

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