The Antlers have returned with their first new song in nearly two years. On Thursday, they unveiled “I Was Not There,” an introspective ballad that captures their signature sound and style. Alongside the release, they also announced a special, one-off show in New York this June.
“Perhaps counterintuitively, ‘I Was Not There’ is about the elusive experience of complete presence,” frontman Peter Silberman explained in a statement about the song. “Across three scenes, the song describes fleeting moments of clarity and wholeness, and the accompanying feeling of leaving yourself.”
To that end, the powerful-yet-succinct message of the song perfectly matches the subtle moods conveyed by the accompanying music. Starting out with just a hazy, nostalgic piano, the arrangement blossoms open with shimmering synths, expressive guitar lines, and drummer Michael Lerner’s tastefully syncopated part. Over top, Silberman’s silk-smooth vocals strike a symbolically appropriate balance between raw vulnerability and angelic beauty.
The single also came with news of The Antlers’ special, one-off show at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge on June 7th, in celebration of the venue’s 15th anniversary. The performance will be “in the round,” and tickets will go on sale Friday, March 10th at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The Antlers made waves in 2009 with their hauntingly beautiful album, Hospice. In 2021, they returned after a seven-year lull with the album Green to Gold. They’ve since followed up with a number of additional releases — including the EP Losing Light and the 2022 single “Ahimsa” — but “I Was Not There” is the first wholly new composition since Green to Gold. Listen to it below.
“I Was Not There” Artwork: