At a Halloween house party in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, last year, I saw Natalie Mering, a.k.a. Weyes Blood, emerge from a dark hallway dressed as an 18th-century French lady-in-waiting. Her face was powdered white with rosy-blushed cheeks, red lipstick accentuating her cupid’s bow. She smiled and entered the kitchen with the artist Jordan Wolfson, a notorious provocateur known for his unsettling animatronic sculptures and video work. Within minutes, Wolfson, whose face was painted as a kind of generic ghoul, was reclining on a window seat talking to another woman dressed as a cheerleader. L.A. cool-guy shit.

Mering moved to stand at the threshold of the French doors overlooking the party, watching people in full costume as they smoked and drank on the crowded patio. I approached her to say I was going to be profiling her for CREEM; her eyes widened with recognition. In her low tomboy California dialect, she said some kind words about the magazine’s legendary status, making apparent her role as an acolyte of ’70s rock ’n’ roll. Then she descended the stairs and disappeared into the crowd.

It was my second party of the evening and the first where everyone was in costume. I wasn’t, so I felt underdressed and a little out of place. The crowd was mostly hungry-eyed “music people” who I didn’t know but looked vaguely familiar, though it was hard to recognize them without their typical rock-revival costume: suede jacket, Cuban heels, flared polyester pants. Ian Svenonius, a legend of D.C. punk, was among them; he didn’t appear to be dressed for Halloween, but who could tell? He’s looked straight out of a photograph of British mods for at least the past three decades.

“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” the first song on Weyes Blood’s fifth record, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, released in November 2022, opens with the lines: “Sitting at this party/Wondering if anyone knows me/Really sees who I am/Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve felt really known.” When I first heard it, I pictured Mering at the party, the loneliness felt most strongly when surrounded by other people. The opening lyric has an exaggerated “woe is me” tone, a solipsism that is abandoned as the song progresses. Its sound is typical of Weyes Blood’s particular style of unfussy, easy indie rock: an affinity for a ’70s sound, maybe Joni Mitchell Court and Spark-era, specifically, with gliding guitar and piano accompanying Mering’s clear vocals.

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