Today, Anni Rossi is back with a fierce new single called “Blood Runs Down Your Brow,” premiering below, and it’s a gritty, growling indie rock number that sees the New York singer-songwriter and electro-violist calling for a political awakening.
“‘Blood Runs Down Your Brow’ is an outcry of anger, confusion, and hope,” Rossi says in a statement. “It emphasizes awakening to our collective trauma and the inequalities inflicted on us as a society. The song proposes we all have blood running down our brows, sometimes like zombies unaware of our actions and privilege, or as victims of injustice.”
“The song was written in the pre-Trump era,” Rossi continues, “but has gained newfound relevance and meaning given the rising political consciousness of both myself as an individual and American culture at large.”
Though Rossi only got around to recording the track recently, it’s been kicking around for about five years. “I wrote the song back in 2015 after witnessing a man convulsing on the sidewalk in my neighborhood in Brooklyn,” she tells American Songwriter over email. “I felt sad and confused that the people surrounding him on the street didn’t seem aware of him and that it seemed socially acceptable not to notice. Some of us worked together to find medical attention and he got the care he needed. I went home and shed some tears and wrote this song.”
Rossi and her band would eventually push the song in a more nervy, indignant direction. “I started playing the song live with my trio (including my longtime bassist and collaborator Ryan Maxwell) shortly after which gave the song its grungy roots,” she recalls. “I’ve noticed that the way I sing the song has become more angry and passionate since I wrote it. I feel even more connected to this song now than I did five years ago. This is the only studio recording I have of this song and it was tracked about a month ago in Brooklyn.”
Lyrically, the song is hopeful and defiant: “You’ve been playing dead / like a doggy lyin’ in the meadow,” Rossi snarls, “but I see your ribs / movin up and down / I see you breathing.” The next lines feel especially urgent: “Wake up sleepyhead / it’s not time to die.”
“Blood Runs Down Your Brow” comes after Rossi’s recent House of Rossi mixtape and 2017’s holiday-themed Yultide X Rossi, both of which followed 2010’s Heavy Meadow and 2009’s Rockwell. The song was recorded by Jon Erickson, with Rossi joined by Maxwell on bass and Jesse Hendrick on drums.
“I’d like to mention that all the electric guitar tones in the track are actually a handmade electric viola-tar built by my friend Thor,” says Rossi, referring to Thor Harris.
“Blood Runs Down Your Brow” is out October 30 via Land Majestic Records.