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Dead Emerson, who grew up in the D.C. area and played in local band Todo Mas, shaped his musical sensibilities through an adolescence spent attending D.C. house shows and making music with friends at the University of Maryland. Now based in Los Angeles, he releases solo tracks from his bedroom studio in between playing guitar for Gabriel Black and producing for artists like Marc Indigo. Dead Emerson’s latest single “Sucker Punch” dwells on the delicate balance between self-sufficiency and the vulnerability required to let others be part of your life. “I felt like I was becoming a sim. My desire for independence in both friend and romantic relationships overtook my willingness to become interdependent,” he says of the song’s origin. “Sometimes it feels like the only thing that could wake me up is if intense desire materialized out of thin air and, quite literally, socked me in the face.” The lyrical precision and introspective melodies of “Sucker Punch” call to mind the sound of singer-songwriters such as Leon of Athens and Edward R. While Dead Emerson writes and produces all his music alone, he teamed up with filmmaker Dean Parker to co-direct the song’s stilted music video, out on Sept. 17. The “Sucker Punch” music video and Dead Emerson’s other music are available on YouTube. Free.—Mercedes Hesselroth