Californian folk-ish artist Shannon Lay is on the build up to the release of her new album August on August 23rd - it'll be her first for Sub Pop. Today she shares the album's opening track 'Death Up Close', which she introduces by saying:

"With that song, I wanted to recognise that everyone else is going through something and reflect on that. Don’t be so close-minded to think you’re the only one who’s got issues, in fact, find comfort in the thought that everyone is on their own journey. I had this idea of the violin ascending. Then Mikal Cronin came in with the saxophone and just blew me away. I love the idea of building a song like that, take people by surprise."

For a song called 'Death Up Close', which is inspired by life's strife, it's actually a very beautiful song that unfurls in regal slivers of Shannon's acoustic guitar accompanied by her pointed and poetic lyricism. But 'Death Up Close' holds many more treasures beyond those, such as the wispy saxophone solo from Mikal Cronin, shortly followed by gasp-inducing violin interjections, and finally a thud of distortion - all of which compliment Shannon's central message perfectly. Through all of these myriad sounds and textures, Shannon remains focused, accepting and equanimous; her message is clear, you have to take the rough with the smooth, and as soon as you can accept that everything's not clean sailing, you can start to find some richness in it all.

You can check out the video for 'Death Up Close' below, which takes place in a familiar setting. Shannon explains: "For this video we wanted to create a space that never changes, as we grow up it stays exactly as it was, a safe place to retreat to in your mind. It’s a different place for everyone but for me it is this living room and these colors that have been one of the only consistent comforts in my life. It is a place I can go when everything else is falling apart, I know it will be there and it will be exactly as I left it."

Shannon Lay's new album comes out on August 23rd through Sub Pop.

Keep up with The 405's Tracks of the Day in our 2019 playlist, updated every weekday.