Well, damn. I just came across this band, Coma Cinema, and instantly dug their quasi-twangy bedroom vibe, only to find out that they’ve been around for over a decade and Loss Memory, their latest release, is also their last album. As the guy who’s always quick to quote Mike Watt as I remind you that “the only thing new is you finding out about it,” I suppose I shouldn’t sound so surprised. Better late, eh?
Fortunately, I do now know about Coma Cinema, a project begun back in 2005 by Spartanburg, NC’s, Mathew Lee Cothran (he was 15 at the time). He’s since relocated to Asheville, and from there has put out five albums as Coma Cinema, plus three under his own name. He's also in Asheville band Elvis Depressedly. Coma Cinema's 2009 release Baby Prayers caught Pitchfork’s attention, and over the years he’s built a steady and adoring following.
Loss Memory is a suite of basement-indie dolefulness spread across 10 gorgeous tracks constructed primarily of guitar, piano, electronic textures and Cothran’s somber vocals — the final anguished confessions of a soul yearning for love, but in the end not knowing how to give or receive it. That’s not to say it’s a depressing listen though. The strummed electric energy of “Running Wide Open” tries to lift our narrator out of the bleak scenes he describes. It’s nearly radiant in its resignation, especially as contrasted with more somber songs like “Ambrosia in the Bitter World” and “Sad World,” Coma Cinema’s tender, verge-of-tears coda.
We strive to learn something new everyday. Today’s lesson begins with Coma Cinema.