MP3 Download: The Tallest Man on Earth, '1904'

Swedish singer-songwriter ponders death on new track

tallest man on earth
Courtesy of Dead Oceans
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Click to listen to The Tallest Man On Earth's '1904'

During a manic five-week recording period for his last album, The Wild Hunt, Kristian Matsson, a.k.a the Tallest Man on Earth, becamse something of a vagabond, drifting from one place to the next while sporadically laying down tracks. Matsson says the process of putting together his new LP, There's No Leaving Now (out June 12th), was far more relaxed. "For the first time I had time to set my deadline and just spend some time on this," Mattson, 29, tells Rolling Stone of the five-month long sessions. "That felt great."

Matsson recorded the bulk of his new album – including first single "1904," available for download exclusively at RollingStone.com – at the permanent home that he shares with his wife and fellow musician, Amanda Bergman, in Sweden. "This time I'm much luckier," he says. "I live in a beautiful place and I actually have a little studio." Time also afforded him the luxury of recording in a more traditional manner: while the singer had dismissed multi-track recording in the past, this time around he tinkered with technology. "I wanted to build something that didn't sound like a rock band, but wasn't super minimalistic," Matsson says. "I wanted a sound that had that brittle [quality], that feeling that it might just fall apart."

The resulting tunes veer from tales of unfulfilled promise ("Revelation Blues") to death ("1904") and stifled dreams ("Wind and Walls"). Though dark in its subject matter, There's No Leaving Now is bolstered by uplifting, major-chord strumming. Lyrically, the songs are a wish-wash of words, a poetic storm blowing by. "Sometimes I just needed to make it even more abstract because some songs were almost a bit too much than what I could handle right now or than I would want to sing every night for two years," Matsson says.

With the album ready for release, Matsson is now focused on prepping his new tunes for the stage; he'll play a few select U.S. shows next month, including a two-night affair at The Town Hall in NYC. "The other songs – songs from The Wild Hunt – I've played for two years every night and they become a part of you," he says. "It's gonna be fun to play these new songs, but also a bit scary."

You can download The Tallest Man On Earth's "1904" for free here.