Not many people know this, but Smith Westerns were an incredibly special band.  They crafted delectable teenage gospel in a way that was almost purposefully harking back to their past but proud and boastful enough that it lived on its own.  They were snotty Chicago kids encapsulating the hype machine of their city with lo-fi basement T-Rex tunes, soaring dreamy psychedelic anthems, and sophisticated lush and concise blasters.

I, myself, saw them a few times along the way, from opening up for Arctic Monkeys (2011), Sky Ferraira (2013), and with the last being at Music Hall of Williamsburg, they were touring their third and final album Soft Will. They seemed tight and suffocated, Cullen dressed in an overtly large basketball jersey, Cameron dressed in all white, and Max in his usual overly large Cosby sweater. They were playing on three different spectrums, sure, the songs sounded good but it was almost like they tried to make too perfect of songs which resulted in non-gradual sounds and dispassionate playing.  The band went from being on hiatus to quickly dissipating not too long after.

Cullen has returned, as a solo act, with his first single Cinnamon, there is an innate melancholy in this song, it’s like you’re listening to every high-emotion 80’s movie scene being strewn across a drive-in theater screen. What we have here is someone who is an avid purveyor of the cliche and nostalgic, someone who is smart enough to play it off like he doesn’t realize he’s doing it, but in reality he’s conscious enough to use it to his advantage. As for the video, he struts along in a skinny leather jacket the same way Chris Owens did in “Honey Bunny” or Sam France did in “How Can You Really“. And at 3:32, with the flick of his cigarette he lights the words “Smith Westerns” up in flames, SAVAGE, in the world of “bby’s” “xx’s” and “lyfesucks” this makes sense, you go Cullen Omori, once again, SAVAGE.

 

New Misery is out March 18th via Subpop
Here is the tracklist:
01 No Big Deal
02 Two Kinds
03 Hey Girl
04 And Yet the World Still Turns
05 Cinnamon
06 Poison Dart
07 Sour Silk
08 Synthetic Romance
09 Be a Man
10 LOM
11 New Misery

Here are his tour dates:
02-03 Indianapolis, IN – The Hi-Fi
02-04 Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
02-05 Champaign, IL – The Accord
03-24 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
03-25 Madison, WI – High Noon
03-26 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry
03-28 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
03-29 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
03-30 Boise, ID – Neurolux
04-01 Seattle, WA – Barboza
04-02 Vancouver, British Columbia – Fortune Sound Club
04-03 Portland, OR – Doug Fir
04-05 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
04-07 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
04-08 San Diego, CA – Casbah
04-09 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
04-11 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Jr
04-12 Dallas, TX – Prophet Bar
04-13 Houston, TX – Raven Tower
04-15 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
04-16 Nashville, TN – High Watt
04-17 Columbus, OH – The Basement
04-18 Washington, DC – DC9
04-19 Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
04-21 Boston, MA – Great Scott
04-22 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
04-24 Toronto, Ontario – Horseshoe Tavern
05-28 Copenhagen, Denmark – Falconer Theatre