Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Will Butler + Sister Squares - WXPN

For our first Indie Rock Hit Parade live session of 2024, we’re joined by a group who are hardly strangers to our performance space (even if this is the first visit under their current name). Nearly a decade ago, while still a member of Arcade Fire, Will Butler performed a set songs from his debut solo album, Policy, for World Cafe. Since then, Butler’s hardworking backing band (drummer/producer Miles Francis and keyboard/guitar trio Sara Dobbs, Jenny Shore, and Julie Shore) have ascended from tour support to shared billing. In September 2023, Will released his third solo album, officially credited to Will Butler + Sister Squares. While on a short late-fall tour, the group returned to our studio to tear through a set of new material.

Though their album had only been out for two months at the time of this session, Will Butler + Sister Squares spent that time honing the new songs on a whirlwind tour of the United States and Europe. The resulting performance is an energetic and effervescent set that recalls the rhythmic art-pop of Remain in Light-era Talking Heads. Beginning with “Arrow of Time,” the band rockets between strutting funk verses, and a giddy headrush of a chorus. Next is “Stop Talking,” one of the album’s standout singles; drum patterns and synth lines rise and fall, and the interlocking group vocals toward the end add extra texture. Speaking of group vocals, they’re on full display as the tempo drops for the tender, ruminative “Old Year.” The pumping “Willows” is next, giving Butler a bright spotlight above a driving new wave beat. Finally, there’s “Long Grass,” a percolating dance anthem that brings our session to a disco-fied conclusion.

Watch and listen to Will Butler + Sister Squares’ Indie Rock Hit Parade session below…

Will Butler + Sister Squares - Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session (Full Set)
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