Bats asks the right questions on “Going For Oysters”

Bats releases “Going For Oysters,” a new single full of killer lyrics, mouth-watering steel guitar, and hype for their forthcoming record.

Bats, the brainchild of Nashville-based musician and woodwork Jess Awh, is back with her latest single “Going For Oysters,” a precursor to her forthcoming album, Good Game Baby. The release opens on a parade of intrusive thoughts, as Awh asks questions ranging from “Does it hurt when you go blind” to “Can you tell when you lost your mind?” to “Does dementia feel like clouds / In your head that your brain can’t get around?” in her chilled-out monotone. Awh then laments, “Why do I Google things like this?” Relatable, right?

The song transitions into a narrative as the chorus takes hold, with Awh crooning, “We go down to the fun part of town / Where you treat me to things I can’t afford / You’re the loser and I’m a pariah / But I never like to keep score.” The singer-songwriter is open about the fact that her music often explores real-life relationships and situations. In a statement, she shared that this release explores “the realities of old age and death as you step into young adulthood—while involved in an unlikely relationship with someone much older and more jaded about those things.” “Going For Oysters” succeeds in exploring the shock and dismay that comes with getting older, made more meaningful through the lens of this relationship with someone who is even further down the road in life.

That said, while “Going For Oysters” may be characterized as confessional songwriting, Bats maintains a detached, almost resigned attitude that refuses any attempts for sympathy. Awh‘s ability to self-mythologize in this way transforms even the most specific or mundane details into meaningful ideas. This skill makes Awh a master songwriter, as she continually shares deeply personal anecdotes that drip with universality.

We fell in love with Bats on our first listen of their sophomore album Blue Cabinet, which was released last year. While Blue Cabinet embraced the alt-country twang one might expect from a Nashville-based musician, “Going For Oysters” peels back the layers to reveal a grittier, alt-rock side of Bats. The song features distorted guitar, hoarse harmonies, and a textured pedal steel that gives the track an edge. In this way, Bats navigates a landscape inhabited by the likes of Ratboys, Deer Scout, and Kate Davis, marking an exciting new direction for the singer-songwriter.

Beyond this slight genre shift, Bats has resisted the temptation to drastically switch up her sound as she moves into her third full-length record. Instead, “Going For Oysters” leans into the things that have been successful on past projects. Bats has always had a gritty, homemade quality, and this release is no exception. In fact, “Going For Oysters” was recorded live, as it was literally homemade in Awh‘s own house. Isn’t that how great music is made? What could be better than a group of friends and collaborators inhabiting a space, creating something that sounds really, really good? “Going For Oysters” is further proof that Bats is one of the most exciting and human acts releasing music. While we wait for Good Game Baby, check out “Going For Oysters” below.

Claire Greising