Now, over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the prolific Bay Area-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen, and as you may recall Cohen writes, records and tours with a number of different creative pursuits including Magic Trick, The Fresh & Onlys (with whom, he may be the best known) and as a solo artist. His obsession with writing music as a means of turning nothing into something has over the better part of the past decade has become an almost neurotic need that has driven him to write, record and release something close to 30 full-length albums. And as Cohen readily admits in press notes, his prolificacy has sometimes worked against him, as he describes some of his earlier, home-recorded work as “hurried” and “incomplete.”
Cohen’s forthcoming solo album The Modern World is slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Sinderlyn Records, and the album is the first entirely self-recorded album since 2011’s Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick. Recorded over the course of a restless and fruitful year that saw the birth of his second child, and Cohen balancing the constant juggle for his time and attention of a fledging painting career, a day job and his music career. Naturally that allowed for strains of anxiety to creep in, and he relished those rare moments of silence, where he could coop up in his attic recording space and press “record.” And reportedly, the album is a visceral yet clear amalgamation of Cohen’s paranoias and deepest joys — with the material at points focusing on the pitfalls of a fast-moving, fast-changing world, the fears of an ever rising tide of hatred and unrest that could kill us all, the complications and strains of love and parenthood in the modern age; but ultimately, it’s centered around the intrinsic and fulfilling joy of pure love. The Modern World‘s first single “Goodness,” as he notes is like many of his songs, spilling forth as a plea of sorts. “A mixture between happy and sad. A contented malaise. Throw in some dissonant synth stabs over the sing-along chorus. It just feels like goodness to me.” Interestingly enough, the song manages to balance a “you-were- there-in-the-room with- the- song’s-creator” urgency with an easy-going, Sunday afternoon vibe; but the song points at the fact that relationships are almost always with two very flawed, very fucked up people who desire some sweetness, some goodness in a miserable and hate-filled world — and yet, like everything else in this world, it barely makes sense, and when it works to some degree, feels like a surreal dream that someone else wrote for you.