BIRN Album Review: Welcome Home by Hannah Cohen

Hannah Cohen Welcome Home – (alternative) 

Hannah Cohen’s return home isn’t quite as “welcome” as her third studio album’s title suggests. After spending over a decade in New York City, the worn out musician began grasping for a reason to leave–and it suddenly hit her one day while writing in the stuffed bathroom of her apartment during a heat wave. She ditched crowded subway stations for miles of empty fields in Woodstock, to rediscover her passion for music and find peace with her demons. Out of this came Welcome Home, a “Carole King meets Tame Impala” masterpiece about slowly outgrowing the robotic daily routines of urban living. 

Cohen brilliantly captures the odd essence of isolation through dreamy indie-rock guitar riffs and light synth bells that chime in every so often, like ghosts visiting from the past. She effortlessly brings us into her world of vivid memories through words like “wanna be the sun on your back” and “the water in the ocean all turns to salt on your skin”. Cohen’s soft yet ever-expressive voice carries the record’s core emotions, and contributes a special element. You can hear her vulnerability as she purposefully lingers around the highest point of her range in “What’s This All About”, an aching piano ballad about feeling lost in purpose. Even as her voice fades into the background at times, she makes a statement without feeling the need to steal the spotlight. Her conversational lyrics are comforting, and echo the words of an old friend who’s consoling you through the uneasiness that comes with change. 

As melancholy as the album gets, Cohen knows where she stands in the thick of it all. The album’s opener “This Is Your Life” is a reassuring pep talk with a title that says it all–if you don’t like your life you have the power to change it. The following songs dive into darker subjects, but she circles back to this self confidence in “Wasting My Time”. Although both songs are found in unexpected places, it mimics the rare beauty of finding hope in our daily lives during difficult times.  

It’s hard to say by the end of the album if Hannah Cohen reaches a conclusion on her journey “home”, but this open-endedness makes her message all the more real. 

Hannah Cohen plays live with Shura this Tuesday night, October 22 at Brighton Music Hall. The show starts at 8:30 PM and you can stream it here.

Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (10/20-10/26): Louise Burns, Sonofdov

Louise Burns – “Cry” [single] – indie pop

Despite what the title suggests, Louise Burns’ latest single “Cry” will put a smile on your face. Burns’ latest single is such an upbeat, eclectic indie bop – it’s a great listen. Featuring several, “Cry” reminisces on past eras with a contemporary twist. Burns’ clear voice is the centerpiece of the song, and all of the other tracks support her lyrics and melodies wonderfully. Featuring 80’s-style synths, a classic drum groove, and a tasteful electric guitar, this song has something for everyone. It’s a fun listen, and you’ll hit replay the second the music stops. Check out “Cry” below!

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Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (10/13-10/19): Allen Stone, Macseal

Allen Stone – “Brown Eyed Lover” [single] – R&B

Allen Stone’s timeless voice and classic songwriting are the focus in his single “Brown Eyed Lover”. The track has an amazing groove with electric guitar counter melodies, ear-catching harmonies, and solid bass lines. Each of these elements creates sections that transition into one another seamlessly, and they work together to tell Stone’s simple love story of his care-free lover. It’s hard not to fall in love with Stone’s “Brown Eyed Lover”. Give it a listen below!

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Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (10/6-10/12): Mayer Hawthorne, Jason Kerrison

Mayer Hawthorne – “The Great Divide” [single] – indie pop

Mayer Hawthorne’s single “The Great Divide” is the catchy and retro track that the world needs right now. With a relaxed beat and 80’s-style synths, “The Great Divide” is an easy listen that’s easy to love. Hawthorne’s vocals are timeless and smooth, and they’ll easily pull you into the world of the song. The track features wandering melodies, catchy bass lines, and a guitar solo that perfectly fits Hawthorne’s style. Also, as an added bonus, “The Great Divide” has a fun video! Be sure to check out both the video and “The Great Divide” below!

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Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (9/29-10/5): Bootstraps, DeVotchKa

Bootstraps -“Evergreen” [single] – indie folk

Jordan Beckett of Bootstraps has such a wonderful voice that is unlike any other, and his latest single “Evergreen” showcases it perfectly. Beckett’s voice is the perfect blend of raw emotion and rasp, and it will draw you into the world of “Evergreen”. Combining traditional singer-songwriter techniques with modern production, his latest single is magnificent and creative. Bootstraps definitely has something special in “Evergreen”, and it’s a great listen for fans of any genre. Check it out below!

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Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (9/22-9/28): Arsun, Hana Vu

Arsun – “Dead Sixty-Six” [single] – rock

Arsun’s new single “Dead Sixty-Six” is wonderfully reminiscent of the early days of rock. Clean guitars and a simple drum beat come together perfectly to create a 1960’s-style track, while Arsun’s modern vocals are showcased over the instruments. Set at a medium tempo and featuring such relaxing and familiar tones, “Dead Sixty-Six” is easy listening that anyone can enjoy. The single is not without surprises, though! “Dead Sixty-Six” treats listeners to a harmonica solo in an exciting twist. Don’t miss out on Arsun’s artistry – give “Dead Sixty-Six” a listen!

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Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (9/9-9/13): St.Arnaud, Amber Run

St.Arnaud – “A Sweet Song” [single] – indie pop

St.Arnaud’s single “A Sweet Song” sounds unlike any other song I’ve heard in a while. The track is quite eclectic, weaving together multiple influences and sounds to create something entirely new and refreshing. “A Sweet Song” features tambourine and harmonies that seem to have walked straight out of the 1950’s and 60’s, and seamlessly combines them with modern drum beats and timeless bass lines. St.Arnaud’s creativity is evident and inspiring. They have the unique ability to effortlessly connect generations, as illustrated in this nostalgic yet contemporary tune. No matter your age, you will love this track. Check out “A Sweet Song” below!

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Feel Good Hits of the Summer: Top 10 albums for the Summer of 2019

This Summer has given us some of 2019’s freshest tunes from artists like Crumb, Devendra Banhart, and Mannequin Pussy to name a few. We hate to narrow it down but the ten artists below have put out some great music and it would  be criminal for you not to check them all out.

So without further ado, here’s my top 10 albums for the summer of 2019!

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Kelsey’s Prime Slices of the Week (8/5-8/9): Will Johnson, Husky Loops

Will Johnson – “Cornelius” [single] – indie folk

Will Johnson’s “Cornelius” is unlike any song. The track proudly shows off folk roots with group vocals and tambourine, but also ventures into rock with a lead guitar that balances out a mellow acoustic guitar and vocal melodies. Johnson’s use of a wide instrumentation gives “Cornelius” a welcoming sound that will make you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire with your friends. It definitely creates a musical journey for listeners that stands out from a lot of today’s music. Experience Johnson’s incredible songwriting and give “Cornelius” a listen!

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