Cullen Omori – “Sour Silk” (Stereogum Premiere)

After the 2014 breakup of his former band, Smith Westerns, Cullen Omori had two choices: Prepare for a post-peak career decline or keep moving onwards and upwards. Like “Cinnamon” before it, “Sour Silk” suggests the latter option. With a chorus melody that undulates over eerily catchy voices and shuddering tambourine, Omori combines hints of his past work into a sound he hopes will be a launch pad for his future. Now ready to release his debut solo album, New Misery, the Chicago native has crafted a fresh aesthetic that’s as pleasing as it is undefinable.

Though Omori’s vocals prevail in the forefront of this single, perhaps its most impressive aspect is a backdrop where every component is defined yet bleeds into each other seamlessly. Throughout the entire song, a number of ever-varying guitar parts pan across the plain of his composition, each with its own unique but cohesive sound. Omori constantly adds and subtracts sounds, maintaining his hook without allowing it to go stale. And as soon as you think you’ve pegged his song as smooth and almost psychedelic, Omori adds crunchier, rock-inspired guitar tones plus a goddamn trumpet.

Remember the scene in Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off where Eddie pretty much combines his entire kitchen in a blender and ends up with a purple sauce that’s somehow delicious? “Sour Silk” is the combination of sounds you weren’t sure could be mixed, blended into a song that sounds both effortless and endlessly faceted. Listen below.

Omori’s tour kicks off this week:

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, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
04/03 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
04/05 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
04/07 Los Angeles, CA @ Telegram 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 DC, Washington @ DC9
04/19 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
04/21 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
04/22 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
04/24 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern

New Misery is out 3/18 on Sub Pop. Pre-order it here.

Cullen Omori
CREDIT: Alexa Lopez