Cool American – “Playing Along” (Stereogum Premiere)

Nathan Tucker aspires to a grand tradition of disillusioned and self-lacerating songwriters, his voice a patchwork of the genre’s distinct totems such as Jake Ewald, Justin Pierre, and Jeremy Enigk. Earlier this year under the moniker Cool American — yes, this band self-identifies as “dorito pop” — Tucker released a collection of demos and B-sides called Better Luck Next Year, a vocal diary of sorts that strings together domino chains of personal reflection about fucking up or anticipating when you expect to next. It made this band ideal tour mates for Sioux Falls, fellow Portland dwellers who share Tucker’s fondness for ’90s indie rock.

Cool American’s follow-up LP You Can Win A Few comes out this summer and is led by the single “Playing Along,” which props up Tucker’s downcast vocal melodies with dizzying guitar lines reminiscent of American Football and a pop-punk swing that splits the difference between Pavement and Motion City Soundtrack. “Won’t you just cut it out, I don’t feel great/ What are you talking about anyway?” Tucker desperately sighs, before offering a classic explanation straight from his idols, “I didn’t mean it that way/ It came out rough.” Listen below.

You Can Win A Few is out 7/29 on Good Cheer Records. Pre-order it here.