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Chris Cohen arrived in 2012, delivered his perfectly formed debut album ‘Overgrown Path’, and then seemed to disappear.
The acclaim he left behind, though, continued to linger. A verifiable cult object, ‘Overgrown Path’ was a curiously individual piece of psych-pop, blessed with innate imagination and a near boundless selection of ear-worm melodies.
The American artist signalled his return earlier this year, with new album ‘As If Apart’ arriving a few days ago via Captured Tracks.
An enthralling return, Clash invited Chris Cohen to pick out some of the tracks on his record player through those writing and recording sessions.
It’s an intriguing release. Many of these aren’t online, but the mere mention of Japanese surf-rock or Welsh language prog is enough to fire up our imagination.
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Keiji Haino – ‘Secretly’
I used to drive up and down Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and San Francisco a lot in the late 90’s listening to Keiji Haino music in the fog.
Kreis – ‘Sie Ist Immer Noch Allein’
A great GDR rock band that came to me by way of my girlfriend Kate. I love the beat and the production. This inspired me along with other pretty much unrelated GDR bands like Floh de Cologne and Stern Combo Meissen.
The Lentils – ‘Another Placebo Please’
I met Luke Csehak, who is the Lentils guy, when we both lived in Vermont. Now we both live in LA. He’s a great songwriter, guitar-player and producer and his songs are full of weird, but natural changes that make his music sound almost simple. But, it’s not.
Shoukichi Kina & Champloose – ‘Uncle Haisai’
I love these guys’ twangy guitars and loping shuffle beats. Shoukichi Kina’s early stuff shouldn’t be so hard to find! i had to search for days on soulseex.
75 Dollar Bill – ‘Southeaster’
Beautiful and immersive and elegantly constructed, 75 Dollar Bill’s music always makes me happy.
Slapp Happy – ‘Slow Moon’s Rose’ (from Acnalbasac Noom)
My friend Anthony turned me on to this. The original version reissued on Recommended with Faust as the rhythm section. I love the sound of Dagmar Krause’s voice – the lyric “Running from hunters’ black blunderbuss under the sun” plus synthesizer break after.
Bouquet – ‘Come to Your House’
Excellent LA duo – Carolyn Pennypacker-Riggs writes classic melodies and changes and her and her bandmate Max Foreman play with them total conviction and concentration live. Perfect road jams or anywhere else.
The Spacemen – ‘Chakkiri Bushi’
I found this on Tom Ardolino’s ‘Wildroot’ comp. The Spacemen were an instrumental surf combo from Japan who also adapted traditional folk melodies. Is there more music like this?
Key Losers – ‘Limited Time’
Katy Davison lyrics and melodies and guitar playing are so instantly classic and there is some great playing by many Northwest characters on this record.
Bran – ‘Y Ddor Ddig’
Selected from the 20GB I got from the hard drive of DJ Fitz. Tasty almost James Williamson-esque ripping over chugging mellotron’d out/choral boogie and singing in Welsh from 1975.
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‘As If Apart’ is out now.
Catch Chris Cohen at the following shows:
4 End of the Road Festival
5 London Cafe Oto
6 Birmingham O2 Academy 3
7 Manchester Soup Kitchen
8 Brighton The Hope