It isn’t often that you hear instruments like marimba or glockenspiel on indie rock records by local artists. But Sam Kogon has approached these and other mallet percussion instruments in his debut solo record Before You Knew Me, thus successfully adding one of several musical dimensions that make the album a tour de force worthy of your attention. You can buy a cassette now via Seagreen Records or buy a vinyl via Little L records!
It seems that these days budding artists are choosing more and more to make records in their bedrooms instead of in the studio. This is an astute maneuver if finances are limited but the end product can sometimes give a flavor of privacy or solitude. Which is great if that’s what you’re going for but it’s a taste that may become tiresome quickly. Before You Knew Me offers a compromise. Kogon’s songs are homey and familiar, like a well-decorated apartment or some well broken in boots but the thoughtful orchestration and quirky production offer the necessary ear candy that keeps the listener engaged.
The record’s first two tracks set up the journey ahead by exposing Kogon’s interest in sudden changes of timbre and tempo. Other highlights include a playful exchange of piano, marimba and background vocals on “All You Wanna Do (Is Go Back To School)” and a stately organ line on the album’s lone instrumental track “Potential.” Lyrically, the songs are delightfully lackadaisical, recounting relationships and other personal histories, most notably on “Thinkin’ of Cars” and “Plans.”
My recommendation would be to stay close with Sam Kogon because I have a hunch that this won’t be the last you’re hearing of him. Before You Knew Me is out now on Seagreen Records. You can cop a cassette or a digital download on Kogon’s bandcamp. Dig him on facebook to keep up with news and live show dates.