Photography by Stephanie Griffin.
Jordan Lee’s music as Mutual Benefit traffics in interiority, in those little secrets and spaces you save for your closest friends. His upcoming release, Thunder Follows The Light, doubles down on that intimacy. On single “New History,” Lee couches the passage of time in delicate pastoral imagery, singing, “The sun is setting on this town / Where rust and ivy intertwine / Where past and present remain bound / in all the things we leave behind.” This is where the music of Mutual Benefit has always derived its emotional power: In the puddled smallness of rust and ivy, where the inevitability of change doesn’t feel quite so oppressive.
Ahead of the album’s release on September 21, via Transgressive, Lee has released live versions of singles “New History” and “Storm Cellar Heart.” In the accompanying videos, Christmas lights are draped around the instruments and recording space like protective magic.
“It's important to me for the Mutual Benefit band to feel like a little family, so I got together some of my favorite musician friends in Brooklyn to make music and dinner at my apartment,” Lee told AdHoc about the recording process. “The end results were these two live arrangements and a veggie feast—not too bad!”
For Mutual Benefit, warding off sadness is as simple as friends, music, and good veggies. Mutual Benefit plays Park Church Co-op on December 8.