Mathew Lee Cothran (of Elvis Depressedly and Coma Cinema)’s new album Judas Hung Himself In America is colored by two big events: the death of his grandfather, who acted as a de facto parental figure, and his recent sobriety. He talks about both life changes in-depth in this interview, and how they effected his mindset going into writing the songs for this album, which originally grew out of working on a novel. “I had this idea in my head that America was sort of grown out of the shame of the world,” he says in the interview. “Kind of how when you’re guilty you sometimes lash out and act crazy trying to cover for your own guilt.”
Judas Hung Himself In America approaches that idea from both a political and personal standpoint, continuing Cothran’s questioning of the institutions that we’re raised in and our own mortality. Taken as a whole, the album is feverish, solitary, and sparse — closer “Who Did Pull The Pin Of The People?” is a particular highlight, positioned around an existential question, “You could move a mountain, but where it would it go?,” that’s answered with only more questions. Cothran plays with his voice throughout, morphing it into a digital squirm, a move he says was inspired by Lil Yachty and Chief Keef. It’s a creative tic that’s affecting (especially on “Let Me Know (Wild Life)”), one that helps elevate these songs to another, more impactful level. Listen to the whole album below.