Throughout this past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones — and as you’d recall, the duo comprised of Jonathan Rosen, a pop music influenced, acclaimed hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve, and who played Johnny Thunders for the HBO series Vinyl; and Michael Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial/film composer and experimental sound artist can trace the origins of their collaborative project together to when they began playing together as members of NYC-based indie rock Icewater. Eventually, the members of Icewater began playing as the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View, and while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.
Shortly after the tour to support Friedberger’s New View, the Rosens along with a bunch of friends, associations and collaborators wrote and recorded the material that would comprise their debut EP, Whatever You’re Into, which featured single “Echoes On,” a single that paired Jonathan’s dreamy falsetto with a twangy, psych country-like arrangement with a breeziness reminiscent of 70s AM radio. The EP’s follow up single, “Back In The Brain” further cemented their growing reputation for crafting breezy and ethereal synth pop with soaring hooks — but with that song, there was a darker undertone, as it was an ode to solitude.
“Later,” which the band released a few months ago found the duo retaining the shimmering and atmospheric, synth-led arrangements that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere — but interestingly enough, it may arguably be one of the most dance floor friendly singles they’ve released, as the song pairs lush atmospherics with a funky, two-step inducing bridge. But underneath the joyous vibes, the song as Jonathan Rosen explained was much more ambivalent than what the listener should actually expect. “I wrote ‘Later’ a few years ago when I was moving back home to California from New York. I finished it on Highway 1. It captures that moment in a breakup when you finally start to find peace, but some of that bitterness is still hanging around. It was originally a bit somber, but Michael and I realized it worked pretty well as a dance track, so we went for it,” as Jonathan Rosen explains in press notes.
“First Time,” the JOVM mainstays latest single is a breezy bubblegum pop-inspired track that manages to nod at early Beach Boys and contemporaries like Pavo Pavo and others while featuring fluttering synths, ethereal vocals and propulsive, four-on-the-floor drumming. As a result, the song has a sincere and wistful nostalgia over a profound universal experience — falling in love for the very first time with an expected naivety.
The recently released video features Jonathan Rosen’s hand drawn animations with live 8mm footage, specifically chosen to evoke the nostalgic feeling within the song.