Paint A Room: Red Vinyl LP
Paint A Room: Red Vinyl LP
Chris Cohen

Paint A Room: Red Vinyl LP

HAR173
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Pre-Order Item. Release Date Subject to Change.
Label: Hardly Art
Release Date: 12th July

Been waiting a minute for Deerhoof member Chris Cohen to release something new, he has such a way of writing songs draped in a dreamy jazz indie pop, a sophisticated folk swing and a soft addictive something that I'm too mediocre a writer to put my finger on. The greatness of his work is these songs subtly creep up on you and end up in your head whether you resist or not. 

Chris Cohen was always a quiet kid. In fact, this introversion was one reason he began playing music as a toddler—to communicate without speaking, to identify with others without the direct representation of words. It has worked, too, with Cohen’s terrific stint in the mighty Deerhoof and his own captivating art-rock act The Curtains, preceding production and session work for the likes of Weyes Blood, Kurt Vile, Le Ren, and Marina Allen. Somewhere along that long way, Cohen started writing lyrics. He found that, though it didn’t come naturally, the process offered a new sense of self-discovery and reckoning, a way to see himself and the world from unexpected angles. His three twilit albums of casually complicated pop during the last decade radiated these epiphanies: handling family strife, navigating advancing age, and understanding social woes.

But Cohen has never had as much to sing so directly as he does on Paint a Room, his first album in five years and his debut for Hardly Art. If Cohen’s meanings have previously lurked inside the tessellated musical layers he built alone, they are newly clear and resonant here, animated and underscored for the first time by a band playing in real time. There is the endless miasma of state violence on the subversively melodious opener “Damage,” the existential exhaustion of modernity on the horn-traced jangle “Laughing”: this is Cohen communicating with friends not only through his deep understanding of groove, harmony, and hook but also with his listeners through songs that croon of our uneasy little era.
On Paint a Room, Cohen’s music feels like a warm spring breeze, easy to love and gentle to feel. But it’s often carrying something heavy, as if blowing in from some unseen storm cloud. Paint a Room both reckons with reality and conjures an alternate one, where nighttime walks and a neighbor’s wind chimes offer endless escapes for the imagination, space for the mind to roam. Sublime and sun-lit, these 10 songs consider dreamy new ways out of old predicaments, clearly stating the problem and dancing and singing their way somewhere new.
Paint a Room features Jeff Parker contributing the fluttering horn arrangement on “Damage,” and Parker collaborator Josh Johnson (who produced Meshell Ndegeocello’s Grammy-Award-winning album The Omnichord Real Book) supplying flute, sax, and clarinet arrangements throughout the record.


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