Chris Cohen (of Deerhoof/Curtains/Cryptacize, etc)

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There doesn't seem to be a thread on this guy yet. Just saw him play last night at the record release show for his new album "As If Apart," which is lovely, if not quite as striking as the last one ("Overgrown Path," from 2012). A great guitar player and really interesting songwriter, and in my opinion Deerhoof hasn't really been the same since he left. Cryptacize were underrated, too…

goodoldneon, Friday, 13 May 2016 00:36 (three years ago) link

I agree, Deerhoof made their best work with him. I have to check out his solo records.

flappy bird, Friday, 13 May 2016 01:21 (three years ago) link

I haven't heard his new one, but I adored Overgrown Path; "Monad" in particular is a killer tune which I must have put on a half-dozen mixes made for friends.

grinding like a jolly elf (jamescobo), Friday, 13 May 2016 02:34 (three years ago) link

I like him a lot in Deerhoof but haven't at all looked into anything else he's done. Will put it on my list.

JWoww Gilberto (man alive), Friday, 13 May 2016 03:01 (three years ago) link

jamescobo: he encored with a solo version of "Monad" last night, accompanying himself on organ. It was pretty beautiful, made it sound like a Brian Wilson demo or something.

goodoldneon, Friday, 13 May 2016 04:36 (three years ago) link

The music is lovely but the voice just isn't there.

calstars, Saturday, 14 May 2016 16:28 (three years ago) link

Overgrown Path is one of my favorite records of the last decade. New one is great too but it took a while for OP to really reveal itself to me so I'm looking forward to As If Apart getting better and better. He's also an excellent drummer. A few years ago I saw him perform and he played drums but last week he was on guitar.
The Curtains album Calamity is also pretty good.

mizzell, Saturday, 14 May 2016 17:15 (three years ago) link

He's also really cute. I said hello to him at the merch table and nearly swooned when we made eye contact.

mizzell, Saturday, 14 May 2016 17:16 (three years ago) link

Yeah, his voice is pleasant imo but a bit weak and limited. Calstars, you might want to check out Cryptacize: the singer in that band (Nedelle Torrisi) has some more impressive pipes.

goodoldneon, Saturday, 14 May 2016 18:41 (three years ago) link

i used to work with this guy, true story.

he has great conversation pipes

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Saturday, 14 May 2016 19:03 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

"Caller no 99" is a lite beer version of Ariel Pink's "Menopause Man"

calstars, Saturday, 2 July 2016 01:38 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

i love cc

mizzell, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:32 (six months ago) link

i really need to listen to As If Apart again. it didn't really grab me on first listen, but i was distracted at the time.

i loved overgrown path - thought it was strangely underappreciated among the kind of people who would typically be into it

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:38 (six months ago) link

he produced (some of?) the new Rozi Plain (but not the first single, seems)

sean gramophone, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 17:27 (six months ago) link

i like as if apart, but not as much as overgrown path, which is close to perfect.

he also co-produced the latest weyes blood record.

mizzell, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 17:29 (six months ago) link

Chris Cohen’s songs initially sound easy. They’re each tiny jewels that unfurl at a leisurely pace, but dig a little deeper and you’ll reach a melancholy core. His previous two albums — 2012’s Overgrown Path, and 2016’s As If Apart — were built from lush, blurry tracks that embedded themselves in your subconscious, like they’d always been there.

Chris Cohen, his third solo album, was written and recorded in his Lincoln Heights studio and at Tropico Beauties in Glendale, California over the course of the last two years. Cohen would sing melodies into his phone, fleshing them out on piano, then constructing songs around the melodies, and later, adding lyrics and other instrumentation with the help of Katy Davidson (Dear Nora), Luke Csehak (Happy Jawbone Family Band), Zach Phillips, and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen, among others. It is his most straightforward album yet, but it is also the conclusion of an unofficial cycle that began with Overgrown Path.

“My parents got divorced while I was making this record,” he says. “They were married for 53 years and my father spent most of his life in the closet, hiding both his sexual identity and various drug addictions. For me it was like being relieved of a great burden, like my life could finally begin.” It is this sense of truth and freedom that is woven into the very fabric of the record even as it grapples with complicated emotions. Indeed, a core truth of the record is what at first seems like a simple idea: “I hoped that by writing about what was closest to me at the time, I might share something of myself and where I came from,” Cohen says.

Though the album is undeniably part of the framework that made up his previous two records — Chris Cohen is also a thoughtful, accomplished meditation on life and family, backed by dusky instrumentation influenced by the late evening beauty of Pat Metheny’s Falcon and the Snowman soundtrack, and Thomas Dolby’s Golden Age of Wireless. It’s beautiful, but it’s also unflinching in its depiction of emotional turmoil.

On “Edit Out,” written in the wake of his parents’ divorce, Cohen examines his relationship with his father through devastatingly straightforward lyrics: “We were loved from afar / Everyone kept in the dark.” Though it’s a gorgeous song, the emotional weight is immense. A line like “people want a lot” carries a substantial amount of power, even if the initial intention of the lyric is not immediately clear.

But Chris Cohen is not a confessional record in the traditional sense. Instead of picking at open wounds, the album looks forward by embracing the past. Cohen’s father worked in the music industry, which exposed him as a child to not just the practical realities of a career in music — from a young age he saw plenty of recording studios and heard stories about musicians from his parents — but the more creative as well. “I had the sense that music was important and was something I could do,” he says.

On album opener, “Song They Play,” Cohen revisits his childhood, and his attempts to get his father’s attention. “I was mostly shielded from what was going on,” he says. “but had occasional glimpses into my parents’ complex world. When I sing these songs, I think it’s my way of communicating what I am unable to communicate in real life.”

None of these songs are abrasive or even aggressive. The soft drum fills on “Song They Play” comfort, and the guitar virtually glitters. Chris Cohen is a beautiful album about pain and loss but it’s also about accepting loss. Of the song “Green Eyes,” Cohen says “[It’s about] the men in my family and how they passed their worldview along to each other from great emotional distances. My father and grandfather were full of secrets and longing, which were communicated through everyday actions like driving a car or cooking a meal. We all wanted closeness, but never found it in each other.” This is a statement about a specific song, but it is also a statement about the album as a whole: Chris Cohen is not so much autobiographical as it is multi-generational.

mizzell, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 16:58 (six months ago) link

mizzell, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 16:59 (six months ago) link

two weeks pass...

that's very nice! the album's out march 29, i guess?

Karl Malone, Sunday, 10 February 2019 05:16 (five months ago) link

one month passes...

RollerCoaster Rider is such a great, catchy song.

nostormo, Wednesday, 13 March 2019 14:16 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

New Album is out and it is pretty much OK

nostormo, Friday, 29 March 2019 19:23 (three months ago) link

Just listened to his new one. It starts really well with some of his best songs, but then seems to fall off a cliff after the fourth song. House Carpenter is such a mood killer and it really doesn't recover after that.

kitchen person, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:12 (three months ago) link

Yep. But the last 2 songs are good too.

His records are growers. i will give it a few more spins to decide.

nostormo, Sunday, 31 March 2019 08:00 (three months ago) link

this guy is a national treasure: the best current practitioner of retro psych-pop, and master of the Dorian mode. i personally dig the house carpenter cover on the new one, but i would also probably enjoy him singing the phone book over a recording of a jackhammer.

J. Sam, Monday, 1 April 2019 12:16 (three months ago) link

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