by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
While the shadow of Elliott Smith looms large over much of indie rock's best songwriters and bedroom pop's rising stars, his music holds a special place in Portland, the city he spent much of his career. The brilliance of Smith's songwriting can be found in Cool American's music, one of Portland's most tireless new bands. Set to release Better Luck Next Year Vol. 3 on February 16th via the excellent Good Cheer Records, the band's annual collection of home recordings and demos, the latest features the band's songs written between last year's Infinite Hiatus album and whatever it is that comes next. These are no mere scraps though, it's Cool American at it's stripped down best. To coincide with the new release, Good Cheer will have a cassette version with all three Better Luck Next Year volumes on the same tape.
If you need any proof these songs are among the band's best material, take album opener "17," a somber ballad steeped in Smith inflected detachment, built on longing vocals and gently surging guitars. The song's prolonged instrumentals place an added emphasis on the vocals, a rattling account of heartbreak as reflected throughout the day's activities, from never ending daydreams to mundane reality. It's tugs and tugs, removing itself from the hurt by embracing indifference.
Cool American's Better Luck Next Year Vol. 3 is out February 16th via Good Cheer Records. The first two volumes are available now on Spotify, Apple Music, et al for the first time.