Curtis Cooper

Curtis Cooper - Graceful Review

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We have been following Curtis Cooper since our 2016 inception as a music magazine. They are one of the biggest reasons we were successful in Philly, and we couldn’t thank them enough. When Curtis came to us with their latest album, we were beyond excited to get started.

Graceful is the third full length release - following Laughing In Line and Messy. With a whole year between Messy and Graceful, there is a lot to anticipate from the Philadelphia native and DIY legend. Graceful is an ode to Curtis Cooper - a turn around for the singer & songwriter that encapsulates years of learning, hurt, love, and loss into a succinct 13-track album.

Check out the track list below to follow along!

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Graceful Tracklist:
1. Breathe Out
2. Outta Here
3. Goodbye Gorgeous
4. Graceful
5. Best Dress
6. Tall
7. I Wish I Could Love You (ft. Ganou)
8. All Of The Time
9. Pretty
10. Latency
11. Can’t Decide
12. I Like You
13. I’m Glad

Instrumentally, Graceful is what I’ve always wanted from Curtis Cooper. It is poignant, heavy hitting, and beautiful. Indie-folk mixture of sound, Cooper uses every aspect of this album to lament, and lament hard. Curtis hasn’t lost any of themself in this album, instead highlighting on their already intellectual instrumental performance and heartfelt lyricism - while also upgrading their understanding of music’s full potential as a tool and art form to express oneself.

Something I’ve always admired about Curtis is their ability to write. Graceful does not lack any poetic emphasis, and while listening (if you can) reading the lyrics for this album will only make it that much sweeter, more tender, and hurtful (in a good way). Regardless, it takes a talented musician to understand the importance the whole thing takes - lyric, melody, instrument, and mood. This album encapsulates it - an impeccable, brooding, but matured take from Curtis Cooper.

Please check out this album, stream it, buy it, compliment Curtis personally about how stellar it is. You won’t regret it. To follow what’s going on for Curtis Cooper, check out their social media down below!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // Bandcamp

Curtis Cooper - Messy Review

Photographer:  Stavi Xinou

Photographer: Stavi Xinou

It's been almost two years since we first met Curtis Cooper in a coffee shop on the corner of 13th and Pine Street in Philadelphia, PA. Our friendship with Curtis has only gotten stronger since that first interview over hot chocolate and tea, and Curtis has grown in innumerable ways that only make us feel proud to know them.

Their latest achievement being Messy, an 11-track deluge of emotional outpouring that breaks out from Curtis' Laughing In Line in a way that remains, at it's core, everything that we already loved, but more bruised and bleeding and ready to give. Released on November 13th, Messy has been ruminating in our minds since, a daily listen on the car ride home or while writing - and we're pretty sure you'll feel the same after taking a listen.

But first, semantics.

All songs were written and arranged by Curtis Cooper, engineered by Scott Stitzer and Nick Barnes, produced by Scott Stitzer, and mastered by Ryan Schwabe. Curtis Cooper (vox, guitar, synth, drums track 11, whistle), Jack Zaferes (bass), and Scott Stitzer (drums, synth, percussion, mad scientist) put together Cooper's ideas to create Messy & with all of that tandem effort, you have an impressionable, inescapable album to get lost in.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Album Art: Erik Savage

Album Art: Erik Savage

Messy Tracklist:
1. Freak Out
2. Philly Jelly
3. Crazy
4. Interlude 1
5. Percs of Life
6. Yeah, No
7. JKayla
8. Everyone Loves You
9. Everybody's Dying
10. Interlude 2
11. Is It Real


Messy has taken Curtis a step further, if we're allowed to say so. In comparison to Laughing In Line, Messy's realness leaves listeners feeling connected to Cooper in a way that Laughing In Line always kept at arm's length - while that isn't to discredit the debut album in anyway, as it's still one of our favorites, it seems more so to do with the fact that Curtis Cooper is growing as an artist and Messy is just that - messy and trying to figure that out with the poise and grace that only Curtis knows how to show.

Opening track 'Freak Out' is unlike anything we've heard before from the artist, a stellar opening track as it jumpstarts the rabbit hole that Messy cultivates, fall into the spaces of mind you haven't been dealing with. With obvious rock influence, this track maintains a tone that feels comfortable for the album to begin with. 'Philly Jelly' and 'Crazy' are going to be staples of the album, reminiscent of Laughing In Line in sound and form, with important lyrical content that we feel also really makes up a huge chunk of this album. 'Percs of Life' and 'Yeah, No' follow suit, are easy to listen and relate to.

The two interludes are really interesting to me because the only successful interludes I've ever heard are in more conceptual albums and usually flow casually in between tracks. However, the interludes here feel more weighted and exciting as they not only flow between tracks, but they also offer up feeling whether that be via whistling in 'Interlude 1' or the pure instrumental of 'Interlude 2,' honestly I was just really blown away by the cohesiveness of these two tracks because at first glance it can be a bit off putting. 

Stand out tracks for us are 'Everyone Loves You,' 'Everyone's Dying,' and 'Is It Real.' These tracks stand out because they feel new, fresh and exciting for Curtis. Maybe it's just where our head is at right now, but we really connected to these three tracks on every level they experience - especially 'Is It Real' the closing tracks of all closing tracks, seriously what the heck listen to it right now. Honestly, though, we could be here forever talking about how much we love Curtis Cooper. Their sound is ambitious and addictive. They take what we love about the Philadelphia music scene, that guttural, instinctual, clenched feeling of emotional expression and put it into one place. This album is easy to listen to, it ebbs & flows against itself in a way that feels familiar but also new. 

Check out Messy, check out Curtis Cooper, their album release show is on January 19th and you definitelty don't want to miss out on that or this album. Below we've got their social media links, and you can check out their bandcamp via the tracklist above! As always thanks for reading and catch up with us next time!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // SoundCloud

Curtis Cooper - Laughing In Line Review

Photography: Lina Xinos

Photography: Lina Xinos

Stemming from Philadelphia, PA - we've previously covered Curtis Cooper in a local feature article a few weeks ago!

Here at The Hook, though, we were excited to also have the opportunity to take a look at Laughing In Line, Curtis Cooper's first full-length album. As we talked about before, Curtis took some old songs he had written (after wondering why he had never wanted to focus on making music he really felt for) and hit up some contacts to help him create his album including Scott Stitzer (drums, production), Jack Zaferes (Bass), Morgane Fouse (Ganou) (vocals on two tracks), and Nick Barnes (engineering). 

With the help from his fellow artists, Curtis Cooper was able to get Laughing In Line completed for release back in January!

The debut album includes 9 tracks, all written and created by Curtis - of course with the help of his collection of artistic minds also. Laughing In Line was the beginning of shows for Cooper - it garnered attraction, and he expressed to me in an interview, "I was able to play my songs, and I really just started doing this way more recently than I should have."

Artwork: Abi Reimold

Artwork: Abi Reimold

Laughing In Line Tracklist:
1. 4 Minutes
2. Today L.A.
3. Happy And Sane (feat. Ganou)
4. Side
5. The Effect
6. Arrest
7. Tonight Is For Me
8. Trouble Again
9. White Lies





There is indefinite agreement with that statement. Laughing In Line is a fantastic collection of sincere and cathartic tracks, which create and utilize sound to create an emotional experience with the listener. This works well, I believe, because the instrumental basis of Cooper's music is generally more upbeat and quickly paced, it is also deceiving in using it's ability to hide the fragility and sincerity of lyrical and vocal emotional movements.

While I love the entirety and complexity of this debut album, a few of the tracks really stuck out to me. My personal favorite is most definitely "Trouble Again," because the lyrics are so smooth and subtle. Curtis' vocal work so effortlessly shapes the motion of the track. 

Some other favorites (if I had to pick, I don't want to) are "Arrest," for it's super stellar guitar work and vocal execution. "Today L.A." because of lyrics like, "How long has it been since I've destroyed my new comfort zone," and lastly, "White Lies," for the super funky and ethereal atmosphere, (maybe due to drug reference, maybe instrumentals, maybe Curtis' voice,) but I loved everything so much on this album.

I couldn't urge you anymore than I am right now to get this album. We have it streaming in our Featured Album section, you can buy it on bandcamp and iTunes, as well as stream it on soundcloud. You should be doing all of the above. At once. Probably.

Rating: 9/10

For more on super awesome musician and all-around cool dude, you can check out Curtis Cooper's links below! 

Also, this Friday (May 13th) at Bourbon & Branch in Philadelphia, Curtis will be playing at JUMP Presents: Queen Of Jeans Residency (Sponsored by Art In The Age)! The show is 21+ - however, sure to be real rad!

You can check out the lineup below!
9:00pm - Curtis Cooper
9:45pm - Ceramic Animal
10:30pm - Queen Of Jeans

We'll have an interview up with Curtis in a few weeks, and you should check back for that, too. It's got a lot of potatoes and a lot of feminism.

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // Bandcamp // Soundcloud