Paint a Room is LA artist Chris Cohen’s first album in five years, a 10-track record that sees him up the jazz cre­den­tials. Chris is prob­a­bly best known for his stint with indie out­fit Deer­hoof; there’s also his art-rock act The Cur­tains, pre­ced­ing pro­duc­tion and ses­sion work for the likes of Weyes Blood, Kurt Vile, Le Ren, and Mari­na Allen.

The album is out on July 12th, his first with Hard­ly Art. The first sin­gle out now, Dam­age, is full of promise with its beau­ti­ful­ly craft­ed jazz arrange­ments, over­laid with seem­ing­ly sun­ny, seduc­tive vocals. Yet if you dig deep­er, there’s more going on in this ‘protest song’ with its lyrics about insti­tu­tions and the neg­a­tiv­i­ty they fos­ter. As Cohen says, it’s “my ver­sion of an abo­li­tion­ist pop song.”

Chris enlist­ed help from long­time tour­ing band­mates Davin Givhan (bass), Josh da Cos­ta (drums), and Jay Israel­son (key­boards), he built demos in a dusty garage of a sub­ur­ban Altade­na, Cal­i­for­nia, rental and took the songs on tour with that crew, yield­ing total con­trol by let­ting them fill in or flour­ish their own parts as they saw fit. Cohen called in a few friends to help – mul­ti-instru­men­tal­ist and com­pos­er Jeff Park­er con­tributes the flut­ter­ing horn arrange­ment on “Dam­age”. Paint a Room was pro­duced and engi­neered by Chris Cohen, mixed by Ken­ny Gilmore (Weyes Blood), and mas­tered by Mike Nolte at Eure­ka Mastering.

Talk­ing about Dam­age, Chris shares: “Try­ing to make some­thing beau­ti­ful as a way to think through a prob­lem, I wrote this song to con­sid­er the many forms state vio­lence takes and the sub­tly per­va­sive habit of deny­ing some­one else’s per­son­hood. We’re told that police, pris­ons, and the mil­i­tary are nec­es­sary to ensure peace, but like many peo­ple, I’ve come to see that it’s actu­al­ly the oppo­site. I def­i­nite­ly strug­gled to find what I thought were the right words, to say some­thing that might be hard for some of us to hear. This is my best attempt for now – my ver­sion of an abo­li­tion­ist pop song.”

Paint a Room is now avail­able to pre­order on CD/LP/DSPs from Hard­ly Art. LP pre­orders from the Hard­ly Art Min­i­mart, Mega Mart 2 (the new, UK-based sib­ling site to the world-famous Sub Pop Mega Mart), and select inde­pen­dent retail­ers in North Amer­i­ca and the UK/EU will receive the album on Red vinyl.

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