Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Jon Kohen - Curse the Darkness, or Create a Light PREMIERE

Some of you may already be familiar with Jon Kohen's work. Whether it be with his band Kismet, or his solo material, both of which have been covered on this blog, his output is always astounding. Kohen is a Lowell, MA-based musician who's new EP, Curse the Darkness, or Create a Light today. Accompanying him is the a 13-piece string ensemble, featuring some members of the Lowell String Quartet, whose gargantuan bliss of somber orchestration contrast perfectly with Jon's whisper-thin vocals and guitar. If you're looking for some incredible, beautiful-sounding indie/acoustic music, this new EP is definitely a go-to for 2016.

I've done a quick track-by-track breakdown of the EP, but really just encourage you to give a listen yourself. It's a fantastic piece of work, in both an artistic and personally touching sense. It reminds me a lot of some of amazing artists, including Elliott Smith, Iron & Wine, and Carissa's Wierd, who I can not say enough positive things about. Same goes for this EP, and all of Jon's work of course. He's been a long-time supporter of the blog, just as I've been a long-time fan of his work. Thus, I'd encourage you to give it a listen, not only for that but also because this is some truly fantastic music he's created, and it needs to be shared and heard, so please enjoy.

The first track here is "A Light", which begins as it's title would suggest, with a gentle, catchy melody backed by a fingerpicked guitar. It instantly resonates, and though the instruments and melodies sound bright, the vocals pack a looming or longing in them, giving off the shadow that all light inevitably produces, or something of the sort. The strings hang in the background until the song peaks in the middle, at which point they come in full-force, elegantly layering and building on each other. The song breathes for a moment to let Jon's melodies take over before ending in a loud, longing harmony of strings and vocals.

"Between The Bars" might sound familiar, and understandably so, since it's a cover of a classic Elliott Smith song. You can see Jon and the string section perform it below, and both the recorded and live versions are absolutely magnificent. First of all, Smith's music suits Jon's style perfectly, so the match is inevitably good. For this track, Jon manages to maintain the sober, haunting atmosphere that Elliott established, and lets the strings take the song to a new height. Whether it be the slight staccato at the beginning, or the long, flowing embellishes of the chorus, the strings really make a sad song soar.

"Dusk" closes the EP with a similar songwriting style as it began. It features quiet passages of fingerpicking for the  excellent lyrics and vocals to shine through, and then give way to this monumental wave of euphoria brought on by the quartet. The dynamic here is played perfectly, with the rise and fall played throughout until the musical (and emotional) crescendo at the end, which leaves the listener floored, and brings a perfect EP to a perfect end.

1. A Light
2. Between The Bars
3. Dusk

Vinyl pre-orders will be available at: Endless Bummer RecordsSorry Dad Records, and Super Moon Records!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Plz DO KEVIN DEVINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Request: Blood Command, pretty similar to Gouge Away