Fire Track: Chris Cohen – “Damage”

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On July 12th, Chris Cohen will release Paint a Room, his fourth full-length and debut effort for Hardly Art. Sublime and sunlit, this collection of 10 songs considers dreamy new ways out of old predicaments, clearly stating the problem and dancing and singing their way somewhere new. 
Cohen has never had as much to sing so directly as he does on Paint a Room. 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. Enlisting 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 rental and tried something new—he 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, with multi-instrumentalist and composer Jeff Parker contributing the fluttering horn arrangement on “Damage” and Parker’s 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. Paint a Room was produced and engineered by Chris Cohen, mixed by Kenny Gilmore (Weyes Blood), and Mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering.
On the album’s subversively melodious opener and lead single, “Damage,” Chris Cohen 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.”
‘At the hospital and the middle school
Anywhere you look
Someone’s power over someone else
Protecting property
But only life is precious
Only life is precious
Somebody’s love was shot down today
Don’t believe what they say
You can’t just throw someone away
There is another way
Where the damage is done
This is the place for everyone’

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.

Additionally, Chris Cohen has announced live shows in support of his forthcoming album. The first set of dates runs July 25-July 28th in California, with additional shows in September and October to follow. See below for a complete list of dates. 

Thu. Jul. 25 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
Fri. Jul. 26 – Santa Cruz, CA – Moe’s Alley
Sat. Jul. 27 – Los Angeles, CA – 2220 Arts
Sun. Jul. 28 – Pioneertown, CA – Pappy and Harriets
Fri. Sep. 20 – Arcata, CA – Richard’s Goat
Sun. Sep. 22 – Seattle, WA – Madame Lou’s
Mon. Sep. 23 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
Tue. Oct. 22 – Philadelphia, PA – KFN
Wed. Oct. 23 – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s Alright
Thu. Oct. 24 – Providence, RI – as220
Fri. Oct. 25 – Burlington, VT – Monkey House
Sat. Oct. 26 – Montreal, QC – Barre Le Ritz
Mon. Oct. 28 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison
Tues, Oct 29 – Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme
Weds. Oct. 30 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

Fire Note Staff

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