Indie kids know that the Christmas holiday season doesn’t begin with the annual Macy’s Street Takeover to Venerate Commerce, nor the stampedes of box-store customers. The first snowfall, Linus quoting scripture, colorful lights adorning city streets, inflatable Santas and reindeers fluttering to life on a neighbor’s lawn: None of these are reliable indicators that it’s an appropriate time to lean into Yule. Christmas begins when Phoebe Bridgers drops her annual charity single.
“Day After Tomorrow” is a cover of a Tom Waits song that helps close out his 2004 album, Real Gone. The downbeat melody and lyrics of lament, in the voice overseas soldier longing to return home, is ideally suited to the Bridgers aesthetic. Putting aside that it’s by now empirically proven that I’m ridiculously susceptible to highlighting new Bridgers music (and new Bridgers–adjacent music) in this weekly feature, there’s no way the Dairyland DNA within me was going to allow me to dismiss a track that finds the punisher herself singing the line “Up by the Wisconsin border.” As the heap of hyperlinks in the preceding sentence attests, I’ve already written about Bridgers an awful lot, so I’ll instead write about the charity she’s selected to receive all proceeds from the single.
The Local Integration & Family Empowerment Division of the International Institute of Los Angeles provides support to refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants who are attempting to bolster their lives — to save their lives, really — by settling in the second-largest city in the U.S. Lilian Alba, a vice president with the International Institute of Los Angeles, notes that the federal government provides a grant of $1025 for each refugee to assist in resettlement costs, particularly in securing housing. Then local agencies need to pick up long, concerted work of helping these people, many of them traumatized by the circumstances they’re fleeing, adapt to a community that is not always hospitable to them.
“It all circles back to the resettlement agencies and we have to do all of the education,” Alba told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s not easy to be an advocate for Afghan evacuees. The government needs to be opening up slots for subsidized housing. They need to provide additional funds to organizations so we can staff and train rapidly to help resettle this level of cases.”
Alba acknowledges that the influx of Afghan refugees has been especially overwhelming this year, partially due to deliberately cruel budget cuts of the prior White House administration that left agencies and organizations understaffed and short on resources. Listen to Bridgers’s cover below, but definitely think about purchasing the song, too. As I post this, it’s Bandcamp Friday, so the timing couldn’t be better. Ever dime spent on this song helps people in need who are striving for a better existence for themselves and their families.