Although she’s perhaps best known as the frontwoman in Bay Area-based band King Woman, Kristina Esfandiari‘s solo side project Miserable with the release of two EP’s Halloween Dream and Dog Days has developed a reputation for a evocative and wistful brand of moody shoegaze reminiscent of PJ Harvey and others. Her long-awaited full-length debut as Miserable, Uncontrollable was written over the course of a year and is reportedly one of the most emotional and heart-wrenching works she’s released to date, as the material focuses on a narrator wrestling with her own insecurities, grief and a lingering feel of being controlled by forces and influences larger and more powerful than her.
Last month, I had written about the slow-burning and broodingly atmospheric album single “Violet,” a song that paired towering and droning power chords and slow, thundering drumming with Esfandiari’s hauntingly siren-like vocals as the song slowly built up tension without a form of release — and underneath it all, was an unresolved and urgent ache. That shouldn’t be surprising as Esfandiari explained to The Fader, “‘Violet’ is about being in the same friend group as someone you’ve had an intense falling out with and how shitty it feels when your friends constantly bring them up. It’s about reminiscing on how beautiful things were and how they’ve faded from your life. How vindictive people can be once you bruise their ego or hurt their heart. How quickly people turn on each other. Beneath all of the pain is longing for a mended friendship.”
“Stay Cold,” Uncontrollable‘s first single is an icily sparse and haunting song in which Esfandiari pairs gently strummed guitar chords, layers upon layers of towering and swirling feedback with especially mournful vocals. And much like “Velvet” “Stay Cold” manages to evoke the lingering and often inescapable ghosts, regrets and discomfort of our lives.
The recently released music video, which was shot tin a gorgeously cinematic black and white follows a brooding and sensual Esfandiari as lasers are shot past her face, as a male’s hand touches her face and neck. A complexarray of emotions cross her face — regret, ecstasy, frustration, disgust and others. And the video manages to further emphasize and evoke the chilliness of the song.