Tag: Magic Trick Other Man’s Blues

New Video: The Surreal, Psychedelic, and Menacing Visuals of The Fresh & Onlys “Impossible Man”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen, who has written, recorded and toured with a number of different bands and creative outlets, including Magic Trick, The Fresh & Onlys (with whom, he may be the best known) and as a solo artist. And during that period do time, Cohen has managed to be remarkably prolific. Last year alone, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter spent time touring with both Magic Trick and The Fresh & Onlys, wrote, recorded and released Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues and his solo debut — all while balancing the responsibilities of being a new father.

Cohen continues a prolific and busy period with a new Fresh & Onlys album, Wolf Lie Down, the first Fresh & Onlys effort in over three years. Released earlier this year, through Sinderlyn Records, the album finds collaborators and bandmates Cohen and Wymond Miles (guitar, production) stripping the layered sound and feel of their last few albums, with Cohen and Miles aiming to imbue the material with an uplifting and swooning romanticism paired with Cohen’s wry humor. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about album title track and first single “Wolf Lie Down,” a track that found Cohen and Miles pairing layers of chugging guitars, an old-timey rock ‘n’ roll bass line, and an infectious, chant worthy hook with Cohen’s mischievously metaphysical musings in a summer road trip-worthy song that nods at the Ramones.

“Impossible Man,” Wolf Lie Down‘s second and latest single continues along a similar vein of its predecessor as it finds Cohen and Miles playing jangling power pop that mischievously nods at Cheap Trick, 50s and 60s rock and 70s AM rock simultaneously, but as Cohen explained to the folks at Consequence of Sound, “‘Impossible Man’ came from a song I came up with called ‘Invisible Man,’ based loosely on Ralph Ellison’s sole but legendary novel. In It, I fancied myself figuratively invisible, like Ellison’s protagonist, but realizing it would be construed as either a purge homage to another, expressly literal character or as a literal ghost story, I quickly changed the title to ‘Impossible Man.”  And while always possessing a wry, winking, hyper-literate irony, “Impossible Man,” much like its predecessor its wrapped around a populist sensibility and an anthemic hook.

Directed by Ryan Browne, the recently released video mirrors the psychedelia of the song and while being neon-colored and saccharin, the video takes a sinister turn, as it follows the band’s creative mastermind as he loses his mind and turns into a clown, who takes a surreal trip through a monstrous looking fairground.

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen, who has written, recorded and toured with a number of different bands and creative outlets, including Magic Trick, The Fresh & Onlys (with whom, he may be the best known) and as a solo artist. And during that period do time, Cohen has managed to be remarkably prolific. Last year alone, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter spent time touring with both Magic Trick and The Fresh & Onlys, wrote, recorded and released Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues and his solo debut — all while balancing the responsibilities of being a new father.

Cohen continues a prolific and busy period with a new Fresh & Onlys album, Wolf Lie Down, the first Fresh & Onlys effort in over three years. Slated for an August 25, 2017 release through Sinderlyn Records, the album reportedly finds collaborators and bandmates Cohen and Wymond Miles (guitar, production) stripping the layered sound and feel of their last few albums, with Cohen and Miles aiming to imbue the material with an uplifting and swooning romanticism paired with Cohen’s wry humor. Last month, I wrote about album title track and first single “Wolf Lie Down,” a track that found Cohen and Miles pairing layers of chugging guitars, an old-timey rock ‘n’ roll bass line, and an infectious, chant worthy hook with Cohen’s mischievously metaphysical musings in a summer road trip-worthy song that nods at the Ramones.

“Impossible Man,” Wolf Lie Down‘s second and latest single continues along a similar vein of its predecessor as it finds Cohen and Miles playing jangling power pop that mischievously nods at Cheap Trick, 50s and 60s rock and 70s AM rock simultaneously, but as Cohen explained to the folks at Consequence of Sound, “‘Impossible Man’ came from a song I came up with called ‘Invisible Man,’ based loosely on Ralph Ellison’s sole but legendary novel. In It, I fancied myself figuratively invisible, like Ellison’s protagonist, but realizing it would be construed as either a purge homage to another, expressly literal character or as a literal ghost story, I quickly changed the title to ‘Impossible Man.”  And while always possessing a wry, winking, hyper-literate irony, “Impossible Man,” much like its predecessor its wrapped around a populist sensibility and an anthemic hook.

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’ve come across handful of posts featuring Tim Cohen, who has written, recorded and toured with a number of different bands and creative outlets, including Magic Trick, The Fresh & Onlys (with whom, he may be the best known) and as a solo artist. And over the past couple of years, Cohen has managed to be remarkably prolific and extremely busy — just last year, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter spent time touring with both Magic Trick and Fresh & Onlys, worked on and recorded Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues, wrote and recorded his first solo album Luck Man and managed to split those responsibilities while being a new father.

Cohen continues a prolific and busy period with a new Fresh & Onlys album, Wolf Lie Down, the first Fresh & Onlys effort in over three years. Slated for an August 25, 2017 release through Sinderlyn Records, the album reportedly finds collaborators and bandmates Cohen and Wymond Miles (guitar, production) stripping the layered sound and feel of their last few albums, with Cohen and Miles aiming to imbue the material with an uplifting and swooning romanticism paired with Cohen’s wry humor. Of course, some things remain — Cohen’s literate yet accessible songwriting paired with an arrangement that nods both at classic rock, psych rock and punk rock as you’ll hear on the album’s first single, album title track “Wolf Lie Down,” a song that pairs layers of chugging guitars, an old-timey rock ‘n’ roll bass line, an infectious, chant worthy hook with Cohen’s mischievously metaphysical musings. And while being a summer road trip worthy song, the song manages to possess a wistful nostalgia that reminds me of the Ramones and others at its core.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best known as a founding member and frontman of the Fresh & Onlys, and the creative mastermind behind Magic Trick, Tim Cohen has quietly developed a reputation for being a critically applauded yet somewhat unheralded songwriter. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a bit you may know that 2016 has been extremely busy for Cohen as he spent time touring both with Magic Trick and Fresh and Onlys, splitting time between touring and a domestic life with his partner and newborn daughter and working on Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues, which was released earlier this year. And you may recall that I wrote about Other Man’s Blues‘ first single “First Thought,” a shuffling and twangy country blues that nods at psych rock and gospel while sounding as though it could have been released somewhere between 1972-1975. Lyrically, the song dealt with self-doubt, uncertainty and the acceptance of both — but with a wry, mischievous wit.

Cohen also managed to find the time to write his solo debut Luck Man which was written and recorded in his attic and El Studio after a recent relocation to San Francisco, a city he once called home several years before. Much like his previously released material with the Fresh and Onlys , Cohen’s material under his own name is deeply influenced by personal experience as a delivery driver, his own daily travels and Van Morrison‘s Veedon Fleece; however, unlike other songwriters Cohen tends to eschew focusing on the prototypical overarching topics such as love, hope and despair to focus on quietly complex and fully fleshed characters with detailed backstories, failed dreams, dashed hopes and perseverance through it all. As Cohen mentions in press notes “I like to think I’m leaving bits of wisdom behind, but I don’t possess the wisdom for longer than it takes to make a song. I inherit it momentarily, write it down, attach a melody that fits the words in rhythm, and then record it.”

“John Hughes” the first single off Luck Man is a warm and jangling bit of guitar pop that reveals a narrator, who possess a deeply questioning and uncertainty anxiety about himself, his talents and even his place in the world — and Cohen does so with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail, as he captures his narrator’s innermost thoughts with an unflinching yet empathetic honesty.

Look for the album on January 20, 2016 through Sinderlyn Records.

Magic Trick is the recording project of singer/songwriter Tim Cohen, featuring a rotating cast of collaborators and friends. And if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you might recall that I wrote about two singles of Cohen and Company’s third full-length album River of Souls, an effort that at points reminded me quite a bit of Flowers-era Echo and the Bunnymen. Cohen’s fourth Magic Trick album Other Man’s Blues reportedly found the renowned singer/songwriter at a crossroads as it was written and recorded during a year that was split between two completely different lives and world — part of the year with his partner and their newborn daughter, the second part was as a touring musician, touring with Magic Trick and the Fresh & Onlys, and the week he spent recording Other Man’s Blues at Phil Manley‘s Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco.

As the story goes, Cohen arrived at the studio with a color-coded composition book of songs he had been writing while bouncing to and fro, and the book would have to suffice in lieu of rehearsal time with the 13 musicians — including James Kim (drums),  Beach House‘s James Barone, The Aislers Set’s Alicia Van Heuval and Paul Garcia splitting time on bass, Once and Future Band‘s and Danny James‘ Joel Robinow on keys, The Cairo Gang and The Muggers‘ Emmett Kelly (guitar), backing vocals from Van Heuval, Noelle Cahill and Anna Hillburg, who also plays trumpet, as well as San Francisco-based musicians Dylan, Edrich, Tom Heyman, and Marc Capelle. And although some may think that with such a large roster of musicians, that the sessions were the product of grandiose ambition; but actually, the sessions were the result of an open door policy at the studio in which, friends would stop by, hang out, drink tequila, bullshit and jam together, creating a loose, freewheeling, improvised affair in which the songs were shaped by the session players — and the material reportedly manages to shift from baroque pop, post-punk, R&B, jam rock paired with Tim’s lyrics about family, himself, his experiences and thoughts about being a father and a musician, about life and its perpetual changes.

The album’s latest single “First Thought” is a shuffling and twangy country blues that sounds as though it could have been released sometime between 1972-1975 while gently nodding at psych rock and gospel with an extended jam band coda featuring an impressive guitar solo. And what makes the song impressive is the fact that Cohen and Company manage to make the song feel both completely improvised, as though a bunch of friends were jamming late night over whiskey, tequila and weed, while the song possess a careful attention to craft. Lyrically, the song deals with self-doubt, uncertainty and acceptance but with a wry, mischievous wit, revealing that Cohen is an unheralded songwriter.