Who? Since forming in 2000, the Curtains have gone through a number of lineup changes, and now the band is more or less one man: Chris Cohen, who also used to play guitar for the eclectic noise rock group Deerhoof. On the quirky, vibrant Calamity, the Curtains’ fourth full-length album (out this month on Sufjan Stevens’ label Asthmatic Kitty), Cohen handles vocals and all the instruments; he’s joined by two guest singers, Nedelle Torrisi and Yasi Perera, plus John Ringhofer on trombone.
What’s the Deal? Boisterous and inventive, Calamity weaves together different musical forms like psych-rock, folk-pop, and jazz — sometimes within the same song. Pretty vocal harmonies keep the listener grounded, even though the lyrics about spinning tops and tornadoes are abstract. The album opens with “Go Lucky,” a gentle, haunting tune framed by delicately tapped piano and drums. Up next is “Green Water,” a catchy retro-sounding rocker. Calamity is best listened to with headphones; its subtle complexity reveals itself slowly over successive listens.
Fun Fact: Talk about DIY — when the Curtains released their first single, an 8″ of the song “Mystery Lines in Pencil,” they created the records at home using vinyl bin cards from their local record store and a vinyl cutting machine. The single is destined to be a collector’s item, as only six were made. CHRISTINE RICHMOND
Now Hear This: The Curtains – “Old Scott Road” DOWNLOAD MP3
On SPIN.com: New Song from the Curtains
Talk: Do you think it would be a Calamity if people didn’t hear this album? COMMENT