As they tend to do on Fridays, a bevy of new releases came and went. While – honestly – there are far too many releases to chat you up about, here are a select two vastly different offerings. Both from two gentlemen whose names begin with the letter “C” and both are equally worth digging into. I promise.
Cobi – Songs From The Ashes (PT. 2) EP
Because when armed with more than an acoustic guitar (aka a full band), Cobi’s live shows have always brought more sonic heft than one typically saw coming as songs from …Ashes (PT. 2) like “Church Of The Lonely” and the fistful of protest of “Burnin’ One Down” were regularly fleshed out on audiences. Now in recorded form, the EP gives listeners even more of the music to hold on to via production that effectively captures where Cobi is coming from.
With every release Cobi has used his natural gifts (his gloriously elastic vocals and underestimate at your own peril guitar prowess) to travel through the veins of human agony and ecstasy, lyrically invoking the emotional, spiritual, destructive and redemptive – often all within the span of one song. Beefed up by synths, fiery stretches of guitar and deep, and soulful pockets of groove filling spaces with just enough bombast to evoke an air of rock and roll testimony, …Ashes (PT. 2) is no different and yet it’s a forward lean towards grander songcraft.
And it’s all very Cobi because you always know where he’s coming from.
Coyle Girelli – Love Kills
Between the moments of having genuine concerns about the fact that Roy Orbison is currently on tour (in the form of a hologram: no, I’m not kidding), Coyle Girelli appears with an album that scratches that unique retro itch.
Not that Girelli should be regarded as a replacement for Orbison or music/voices of that bygone era: instead, he should be regarded as one of the few contemporaries exquisitely reverent and appreciative of that which was (and to many ears is still) classic and romantic, delicate yet thoroughly bruising, hopeful and hopeless, tragic and gorgeous. You know: love songs, bad love and love songs about bad love.
His first outing as a solo artist, Love Kills (out on Honey Lemon Records) is the sound of Girelli and – one assumes – his utterly fractured heart bleeding through its bandages while being blown like a tumbleweed in a spaghetti western amongst the dust of an Americana opera. Girelli is a true crooner with a romantic ear and Love Kills finds the New York-based Brit trekking through heady and expansive sonic territory more typically explored by the Nashville circuit and creating high art in the process. Halfway through the grandiose and painful heart swell of the album’s opener and title track, that “we’re not in Kansas anymore” feeling kicks in and you begin to grasp the intimate gravity of it all. This record is as personal as they come: as achingly vulnerable and darkly raw to the average fan’s sensibilities as its vintage tones are candy to an audiophile’s ears.
Whether plaintively searching for what he can’t have with “Where’s My Girl?” or allowing his finely tuned tenor to take operatic flight in “Valentine,” Love Kills may possibly be the most surprising musical diamond find of the year.