I first found Bonsai Trees sometime in 2023 and immediately became hooked on their album, Not Bitter. It was the perfect combination of surf-rock and pop-punk, filled with catchy song after catchy song. I wanted to cover Bonsai Trees with Musaholic in some capacity right away, but when I went to see if there were any new releases or upcoming shows, I was met with…nothing.
My worst nightmare had come true; Bonsai Trees had gone on hiatus! At least, a music-releasing hiatus. They did a handful of shows throughout the year, were somewhat active on Instagram, and we got a lot of selfies from frontman James MacPherson! But when it came to new music, it didn’t seem like that was on the horizon anytime soon.
When “Not Happening” popped up on my Spotify homepage at 12:00 A.M. last week, I knew 2024 was going to be a great year for me (And Bonsai Trees).
“Not Happening” was released on January 26th and is a single about that feeling of realization that no matter what you do, it’s just not going to work out. “I sit on songs for way too long because ‘they aren’t good enough.’ This is my first step toward releasing songs that scare me to release, it’s personal, it’s real, but it exists and it’s ready,” MacPherson writes on Instagram.
The second single from Bonsai Trees in 2024 came a week later. “Medusa,” released on February 2nd, is about self-improvement, the uncertainty that comes along with finding yourself, and the uncomfortable growth that takes place just before you do.” It was produced in Los Angeles, and according to MacPherson, recording the song with producer Alex Dezen helped him rekindle his love of making music and inspired him to revisit some older works collecting dust.
This new era of Bonsai Trees is different from their previous releases. While their music before 2022 was more raw and less polished, their new music is lighter and more acceptable for mainstream stations. But despite these differences, Bonsai Trees continues to have powerful lyricism and pleasing melodies, and I’m incredibly excited for this new era of James MacPherson music (and excited for the day I can lookup “Bonsai Trees” without being met with thousands of results about tiny little trees).
Catch Bonsai Trees throughout the month of February on 2/3 at The Underground Experience, Live at the Culture Club in New Milford, CT, 2/16 at SOB’s in New York City, NY, and 2/17 at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY.