IAN SWEET — the project of songwriter and pop auteur Jilian Medford — announces her new album, SUCKER, out November 3rd on Polyvinyl, and presents lead single/video, “Your Spit.” Perfectly merging Medford’s pop sensibilities with the widescreen indie rock that she first made her name on, SUCKER is both sumptuous and fully realized. Medford’s musical voice has only become more unique amidst an ever-growing field, and SUCKER is proof positive that — even with a considerable discography in her arsenal — Medford is just getting started.
Lead single “Your Spit” swerves and sways with a distinctly pop gait. Produced by Alex Craig (Binki, Claud) and Strange Ranger’s Isaac Eiger, “Your Spit” begins with blown-out synths and Medford’s ever-incisive lyrics. “Why don’t you kiss me like you mean it // Kiss me like you’re leaving // Your spit tastes different,” Medford sings, her voice shapeshifting from nonchalant yearning to a full-blown scream-along chorus. Of “Your Spit,” Medford adds; “‘Your Spit’ is about the joy and fear that surrounds new relationships. The excitement that’s also accompanied by doubt. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say the song is just mostly about making out.”
The accompanying “Your Spit” video — helmed by Insufficent Funds and directed by Brittany Reeber — sees Medford surrounded by a theater full of kissing couples, and features cameos from Saturday Night Live cast members Sarah Sherman (aka Sarah Squirm) and Martin Herlihy. Of the video, Reeber adds: “Jillian and I got together one day and had a complete mind meld on what the videos would be for the first two singles. The concept for ‘Your Spit’ comes straight from the energy of the song. It felt right to get kind of literal and visceral! The couples brought a whole new dimension to the video that I wasn't even expecting, it's flirty, but it's also really tender and sweet. Grateful to all the brave kissers! We also knew we wanted the two videos to speak to each other in some way so there is a nod to the next vid in this one if you can catch it.”
Photo Credit: Caroline Safran
Work on SUCKER began in the fall of 2022; feeling newly untethered in the wake of a “COVID relationship” that had recently come to pass, Medford took a cross-country road trip from her L.A. home to an artist residency at The Outlier Inn. “I was feeling very stuck in L.A. and was trying to get comfortable with spending more time alone again,” she recalls about her hermetic confines, which included 24-hour studio access to create in an unfettered fashion. “I went there not knowing exactly what I wanted to do or make, but I knew I wanted to explore and get out of my comfort zone. I forced myself to make things on the spot, in the moment and not overthink it too much.” Feeling inspired, Medford brought her demos to life with co-producers Craig and Eiger, along with mixing engineer Al Carlson (St. Vincent, Jessica Pratt), all of whom helped shape SUCKER into its current form —a record that reconciles Medford’s beginnings with where she’s landed at this current moment. “I revisited the reasons why I started playing music to begin with,” she explains. “I wanted to get more personal and showcase a more confident side musically and lyrically.” SUCKER follows Medford’s 2021 breakthrough and Polyvinyl debut, Show Me How You Disappear, which chronicled her time spent in an intensive outpatient program that included six hours of group therapy a day. “Show Me How You Disappear was written during a really difficult period of my life after reckoning with a mental health crisis,” she explains. “I survived that very moment in my life through writing that record, and the extreme urgency to heal is reflected in the songwriting. With SUCKER, I felt more capable to take my time and experiment without being totally afraid of the outcome. It wasn’t life or death — it was just life, and I was lucky to be living it.”