There’s been a whole in my heart since the tragic passing of Elliott Smith, but it looks like I’ve now got a new artist to fawn over: Justus Proffit. His songwriting definitely recalls Smith’s work, from the whispering notes of his vocals, to the sounds of each string vibrating in the recording. There’s a bit of mud on the mix, however, which allows Proffit to seek out his own songwriting ground, in the land wear Elliott meets modern bedroom tropes akin to Coma Cinema. I’ve been longing for something that felt so personal again, and it looks like this is going to be the perfect trick. Look for his new Ups/Downs EP on March 17th via Smoking Room.
There comes a time in every music nerd’s life (hopefully more often than once) where you find a record that completely fulfills you, that brings you back time and time again to listen carefully; for me, that record is Posthumous Release. Coma Cinema is the project of Mathew Cothran, and I’ll do my best to give justice to this incredible album, though I’m not sure if even words can suffice.
“VHS White Trash” opens up the entire affair, and it’s here where I first notice a resemblance to the old Elf Power, back when they were weird. But, that being said, the simple accompaniment, the female backing vocals and simply strummed guitar don’t sound weird, other than the lyrical content. Percussion enters midway through, as do some horn touches, making this the perfect opening number; I know I pressed play again and again just to make sure it was as perfect as I thought. My ears also heard a bit of Elliott Smith in Posthumous Release, especially when I listened to “Virgin Veins.” The sound of the guitar sounds eerily similar, as does the whispering quality of Cothran’s voice. There’s a fragility to his songwriting and his delivery, as if he’s bearing his soul before you; it’s a sincerity I’ve longed for for quite some time. You’ll find that same sentiment in “Partners in Crime;” it stood out to me in this manner from the exhale of breath that opens the track, not to mention the slightest crackle in the voice.
While it may seem that Coma Cinema has a down-trodden attitude, Mat realizes that he’s also got a knack for combining his melodies with peppier bits tossed in sporadically throughout his latest effort. “She Keeps It Alive” has a fuzzed out guitar chug to it that provides more momentum than most of the songs you’ll find here, though it’s not quite a full on rock moment. Still, you don’t have to turn things up loud in order to seduce me with your pop sensibility. In “Satan Made a Mansion” I’ve met my match for my adoration of quirky lyrics and catchy melodies. Build around a piano or keyboard, the song has a bounce, and the melody in the vocals does everything it can to make this the best song of the year (it is in my opinion). I like the cascading guitar solo near the end of the tune, but I’m not ever going to forget the lyric of “fuck me in the graveyard.”
You see, Posthumous Release might very well go unnoticed upon hitting the stores, and I’ll declare that a great tragedy. This is one of those records that, while not perfect, has the precise amount of emotion and songwriting that makes you want to share it with all your friends. You’ll want to make mixtapes with just this album; you’ll want to make sure everyone you meet knows all about Coma Cinema. I hope that it’s a huge success, though at the same time, I won’t cry if I’m one of a handful of people who enjoys it. I’ll continue to play this album until the day I die, and I’ll always have that sentiment…few records have had such an effect on me.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/05-A05-Satan-Made-A-Mansion.mp3]
Download: Coma Cinema – Satan Made A Mansion [MP3]
California native Shon Sullivan definitely wears his influences on his sleeve, or should we just say wears his home state on his sleeve. His band, which is mainly his work, Goldenboy are releasing their new record, Sleepwalker, on Eenie Meenie Records February 8th. There’s a bit of a harboring spirit, but what follows through the entire album is sort of a ray of light, which is where once can tie in the mention of California, not to mention Shon’s adoration for the late (great) Elliott Smith. One listen to this single and perhaps you’ll fall head over heels for Goldenboy, leading you towards Sleepwalker early next year.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/01-Holiday.mp3]
Download: Goldenboy – Holiday [MP3]
Fresh from the hills of California comes more gentle pop tunes. People have referenced Elliott Smith when discussing Willoughby, but this song shows that there’s more to the songs than simple reference points. Sit back at your desk and just let the soothing voice in the song take you away.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/02_story.mp3]
Download: Willoughby – Story [MP3]