Stereogum had this to say of the track, “Though Omori’s vocals prevail in the forefront of this single, perhaps its most impressive aspect is a backdrop where every component is defined yet bleeds into each other seamlessly. Throughout the entire song, a number of ever-varying guitar parts pan across the plain of his composition, each with its own unique but cohesive sound. Omori constantly adds and subtracts sounds, maintaining his hook without allowing it to go stale. And as soon as you think you’ve pegged his song as smooth and almost psychedelic, Omori adds crunchier, rock-inspired guitar tones plus a goddamn trumpet.
“Remember the scene in Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off where Eddie pretty much combines his entire kitchen in a blender and ends up with a purple sauce that’s somehow delicious? “Sour Silk” is the combination of sounds you weren’t sure could be mixed, blended into a song that sounds both effortless and endlessly faceted (see premiere Tuesday, February 2nd).”
Omori began working on solo material in early 2014 which has now fully materialized as New Misery, a collection of 11 songs building upon his own musical past while reaching towards the future of what guitar rock could be. His songs marry dark yet blissful pop with vocal melodies and hooks that are at once immediate yet demand to be heard again and again.
Omori’s previously announced 4-week spring tour in support of New Misery starts March 24th in Chicago, IL at Lincoln Hall and currently ends April 24th in Toronto, ON at the Horseshoe Tavern. Preceding the tour is a string of midwestern dates this week, beginning February 3rd in Indianapolis at The Hi Fi through February 5th in Champaign, IL at The Accord. Additionally, Cullen will appear at the 2016 edition of SXSW in Austin, Texas. (See dates below.)
[Photo Credit: Alexa Lopez]
More on Cullen Omori:
“I had this overwhelming feeling that perhaps the apex of my life both as a musician and as an individual would be relegated to five years in my late teens/early 20s,” says Cullen Omori, who was launched into the music industry when the Smith Westerns, who started in high school in Chicago, became fast-rising indie stars. “This fear really forced me to work hard as to not see the Smith Westerns as an end but as a point along a bigger trajectory.”
While New Misery grew out of a difficult personal and professional time for Omori, he says the title reflects “not so much the distress that comes with failure, but the troubles and complexities that come with any type of success. No matter what you get you’re going to want more, you’re going to want something different. That’s the catch.”
The title track is a dreamy, resonant reflection on these feelings, but is also a guidepost for Omori’s musical evolution. “The song starts slow and then builds with two solos,” he says. “There’s the guitar solo which is very much a Smith Westerns thing. The next solo is on the keyboard, which is a shift to a lot of what I’m trying to do.” Synths play a much larger role in Omori’s new music than in the Smith Westerns’ guitar-fueled rock, as do a wide range of influences including Roxy Music, INXS, Spiritualized, Wilco, Garbage, Hall & Oates, Kate Bush, U2, and Sparks. There’s also a more deliberate pop streak, inspired by the top-40 radio that would play while Omori worked at a medical supply company cleaning stretchers and wheelchairs.
“There is so much dirt in hospitals and fuzz and lint and dried blood on these things. We’d clean them down, which in a way is kind of therapeutic, and listen to the radio. Then we’d go back to Adam’s (Adam Gil, current live band member) house and record demos for what was to become the skeleton of New Misery. I can’t sit down and say I’m going to write a Sam Smith or an Adele song or whatever. The closest I can get to that is making like this weird hybrid of what I think is a pop song.” The strongest example of this is the new wave-tinged single “Cinnamon,” which Omori describes as “dark pop–it’s poppy, it’s fast, but it also has all the colors and tones that are kind of dark. It’s self-deprecating, which was kind of where I was at emotionally. That, you know, I could have this poppy song or whatever but I don’t think I’m a pop star. I’m closer to thinking I’m a piece of shit than I am a pop star (read more at Sub Pop).
New Misery will be available worldwide on CD / LP / DL/ CASS through Sub Pop Records on March 18th, and is now available for pre-order through Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Bandcamp. LP pre-orders though megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser” edition on clear vinyl with black, white and gold swirls (while supplies last).
The album was recorded by Shane Stoneback (Sleigh Bells, Fucked Up, and Vampire Weekend) at the now defunct Treefort Studios, and was mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, and Bjork) at The Lodge.
What people are saying about Cullen Omori:
“Shimmering beauty” [“Cinnamon”/ “New Music of the Day”] - NME
“It’s bittersweet, blissful pop with an ’80s hue - vocal melodies and hooks that are at once immediate yet demand to be heard again and again. Job well done, Cullen.” [“Cinnamon”] - The 405
“Led by dreamy, glimmering guitars, it takes Smith Westerns’ knack for a poppy hook to the next level.” [“Cinnamon”] -Consequence of Sound
Feb. 03 - Indianapolis, IN - The Hi-Fi
Feb. 04 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
Feb. 05 - Champaign, IL - The Accord
Mar. 14 - Columbia, MO - Rose Music Hall
Mar. 15 - Norman, OK - Opolis
Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 17 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 18 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 19- Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 20 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 24 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
Mar. 25 - Madison, WI - High Noon
Mar. 26 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry
Mar. 28 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
Mar. 29 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
Mar. 30 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
Apr. 01 - Seattle, WA - Barboza
Apr. 02 - Vancouver, BC - Fortune Sound Club
Apr. 03 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
Apr. 05 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
Apr. 07 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom
Apr. 08 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
Apr. 09 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
Apr. 11 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Jr
Apr. 12 - Dallas, TX - Prophet Bar
Apr. 13 - Houston, TX - Raven Tower
Apr. 15 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
Apr. 16 - Nashville, TN - High Watt
Apr. 17 - Columbus, OH - The Basement
Apr. 18 - DC, Washington - DC9
Apr. 19 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
Apr. 21 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
Apr. 22 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
Apr. 23 - Montreal, QC - Le Divan Orange
Apr. 24 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
For ticket links, click over here.