Today, Brighton-based indie/folk artist Bess Atwell has announced that she will be releasing her new album, Light Sleeper, on May 24th via Real Kind Records.

Light Sleeper features production from The National’s Aaron Dessner (Taylor Swift, Gracie Abrams) and was recorded at his very own remote studio in Long Pond, New York. Featuring additional instrumentation throughout from Dessner himself alongside Big Thief’s James Krivchenia, Beirut’s Ben Lanz, and frequent Sufjan Stevens-collaborator James McAlister, the record is comprised of 10 songs that glow with a warm effervescence and brazenly look inward. Ultimately, Light Sleeper is an album of hard personal transformations and ultimately, triumphs

“‘Light Sleeper’ is about the willingness to feel,” says Atwell about the album. “While writing the album, I was realising that somewhere along the line I had become very afraid of feeling. The record is about facing this realisation and finding the bravery to challenge it. It’s still hard for me to believe that I got to make this record with one of my heroes, but somehow, I got that lucky. Aaron Dessner posted about one of my songs on Instagram at the beginning of 2022. We got chatting on there and before I knew it, we’d made plans to meet up at All Points East and were discussing making a record together. He told me that ‘Light Sleeper’ is the first album he’s worked on in several years that he didn’t write, which is a huge honour. My approach on Light Sleeper was to give up concern with what’s cool and to reconnect with why I make the things I make. I was afraid to really sing on my previous record, having come to believe it wasn’t cool or would draw attention to the fact that I am indeed an emotional woman and therefore not to be taken as seriously. This time, I wanted to really sing, I wanted to discuss my fears and feelings, I wanted to connect, and I wanted to perform like I meant it, because I do. After all, how can I write an album about the willingness to feel and be too afraid to sing like I mean it?”

To go alongside the album announcement, Atwell has released a new single “Release Myself,” which can be heard below. It’s the third song released from Light Sleeper, following the previously released “Sylvester” and “The Weeping,” which came out in late 2023.

Adding about “Release Myself”, Atwell said, “There are always a couple of songs on a record that just sort of fall out of you and this was one of them. This was the first time I’ve managed to write about my panic disorder without slipping too far into sorry-for-myself or cheesy, faux-empowering territory. It’s a song that says “hey I’m struggling but I’m not a victim”. I knew I wanted to lean into a slightly 90s wall-of-guitars sound and make it as energetic as possible, without losing the song. My friend (artist Derek Inver) and I were discussing this era of music and how brilliantly expressive and unafraid a lot of the indie pop was. I wanted to perform like I meant it, because I do. I hope that’s apparent on this track.”

Watch the Dylan Friese Greene-directed video for “Release Myself” below and pre-order Light Sleeper here.


Bess Atwell light sleeper


  1. Everyone Who’s Not In Love With You Is Wrong
  2. Release Myself
  3. Sylvester
  4. Fan Favourite
  5. The Weeping
  6. Something Now
  7. Spinning Sun
  8. I Am Awake
  9. Crowds
  10. Light Sleeper


June 6 | Manchester, UK | Band On The Wall

June 7 | London, UK | Union Chapel SOLD OUT

June 8 | Bristol, UK | Thekla

June 25 | Vienna, AT | Stadthalle w/ The National

June 27 | Bonn, DE | Kunstirasen w/ The National

July 11 | Edinburgh, UK | Edinburgh Castles w/ The National

October 2 | Norwich, UK | Arts Centre

October 3 | Cambridge, UK | Junction 2

October 4 | Nottingham, UK | Rescue Rooms

October 5 | Leeds, UK | Belgrave Music Hall

October 6 | Newcastle, UK | The Cluny

October 8 | Glasgow, UK | St. Luke’s

October 9 | Liverpool, UK | Leaf

October 11 | Belfast, UK | The Black Box

October 12 | Dublin, IRE | The Grand Social

October 15 | Cardiff, UK | Clwb Ifor Bach

October 16 | Birmingham, UK | Hare & Hounds

October 17 | Oxford, UK | The Bullingdon

October 18 | Brighton, UK | Concorde 2

February 22, 2025 | London, UK | KOKO