On the one-year anniversary of their album Bitter Better—which released on July 17, 2020, during the pandemic—Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards are celebrating with an animated video of one of the songs from the album, “Where the Fox Hides.” Cortese has long been a fan of Myles David Jewell’s animation, and they collaborated during lockdown on the winsome though weighty video for the song. “Where the Fox Hides” opens with a synth-like—though it’s simply the shimmering fiddle, cello, and bass of Cortese and the band (Valerie Thompson on cello, Zoe Guigueno on bass, and Cortese on fiddle)—atmosphere, mimicking the scampering of the fox hither and yon as the singer tracks it. The video craftily juxtaposes images of a fox running through the fields with an animated town of foxes trying to carve out a little space for community and conversation in the midst of their frantic lives. In a canny wink at the obstacles and the necessity of technology—represented by the cell phones the foxes carry—the video depicts ways that we both conceal and reveal ourselves with or without a cell phone in our hands. In the end, the video celebrates music-making and community.
Cortese describes the song and the making of the video: “The song is about seeking connection through difficult times. Myles and I started brainstorming on voice calls between Belgium and Vermont, discussing our own conflicted feelings around social media and how it feels like screens are taking over our lives. We were critical of our own dependence on technology and wanted to re-examine the song through that frame. And then the pandemic began. Suddenly our screens were lifelines to communicate with friends, family, or to work at a safe distance. In Myles’s own words, ‘Technology is fulling the role that we wanted to criticize, but possibly, it will shed light on how many contradictions are happening all around us right now.’”
“As I think about that duality, and this moment of re-opening, returning to tour and travel, I realize my need for staying in touch with friends and family is equal to my need for leaving the phone behind, getting out of my house, and being in the world. As we gear up for 15+ shows supporting The Mountain Goats this August, I wonder what role technology will play in bringing this experience to those who can’t be present for one reason or another.”
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