The return of Future Islands, the Baltimore-based synth-pop act, to the “Late Show With David Letterman” would have been noteworthy enough, given the impression singer Sam Herring and the group famously made on the mercurial host last year. But Tuesday night’s performance of new song “The Chase” began with a message to the band’s adopted home.
“This song is going to go out to the people of Baltimore,” Herring said, likely in reference to the death of Freddie Gray and the aftermath. “Let us not discount their voices or the voice of all of the people in the cities that we live and love.”
The singer punctuated the dedication with three slaps to the heart.
“The Chase,” a seven-inch single on 4AD, is available online now, and can be streamed on Spotify here. (The vinyl version, limited to a run of 2,400 copies, will be released on June 30.) Producer Jim Eno recorded the track with the band in Austin, Texas last month, according to Future Islands’ Twitter page, where you can also read the group’s thoughts on what’s been happening in Baltimore.
Last March, Future Islands made their network TV debut on Letterman’s show by performing “Seasons (Waiting on You)” from their breakthrough 2014 album, “Singles.” Herring, an engaging showman, made the stage his by busting out dance moves local fans have known for a long time, but which took the host by pleasant surprise.
Before introducing the band on Tuesday, Letterman, less than a month away from his final episode, gushed about the night’s musical guests.
“These guys were on the show a little over a year ago. What a night that was. What an exciting night, and we have been waiting for them to come back and be on the show again,” Letterman said. “You’re going to love these guys.”
You can watch the performance of “The Chase” above. Future Islands will be playing music festivals across the country and in Europe later this year. Check out the dates here, and read the lyrics to “The Chase” here.