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Phoebe Bridgers And The National's Matt Berninger Team Up For 'Walking On A String'

Between Two Ferns, the Zach Galifianakis comedy series, is full of awkward celebrity encounters and interviews gone haywire. Between Two Ferns: The Movie, a feature-length offshoot streaming now on Netflix, expands on the concept by taking Galifianakis' weird low-budget talk show on the road — in the process stuffing strange surprises into the margins as much as possible.

One of those surprises is the appearance of a gorgeous new song called "Walking on a String." Presented as a barroom duet between singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers and The National frontman Matt Berninger, it's a gorgeous vehicle for two weary and wonderful voices that pair up perfectly.

Now, "Walking on a String" is getting an official release in the form of a lush studio recording that builds to a magnificent cataclysm. If Galifianakis weren't right there in Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi's lovely black-and-white video, it'd be easy to forget the song's unlikely origins. But there he is, presiding over a bit of gorgeous, unlikely musical alchemy.

"Walking on a String" is out now via Dead Oceans.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)