Curtis Cooper

Emily Famularo - 2016 Top 10 Albums

Owner & Editor of The Hook here, just hoping to share my top 10 albums of 2016! As far as music goes, I've listened to a lot this year. With The Hook's birthday right around the corner (March), I've spent most of my time listening to a lot of really good local music, so this list is representative of some of the best albums I've heard this year - on repeat all day, every day.

10. Curtis Cooper - Laughing In Line
Honestly, I heard Curtis Cooper back in March when I first started the magazine, and I begged them to let me write about them. Since then, we've had many conversations regarding shows and anxiety and civil rights. A good friend, and a talented musician who I can't wait to see more of in 2017. Laughing In Line was an expertly crafted album that showed of Curtis Cooper's impressive vocal and instrumental prowess - favorite track is for sure "Today L.A."

9. gnash - us
us is a perfect little diddy of an EP that brings together all of the reasons I loved gnash in the first place. gnash to me is the perfect mixture of electronic sound with singer/songwriter & R&B influences. gnash always knows the right way to say how I'm feeling, and that voice makes me melt inside. I saw gnash at firefly, right up front, and I only cried a little bit. Favorite track off of us is definitely "u just can't be replaced (ft. rosabeales)."

8. SWMRS - Drive North
While this album came out in February, I only recently got into about two months ago and it's everything I've been looking for since the end of summer. With gut punching, angst filled anthemic tracks - to stupid american punk themes, I spend most of my time listening to Drive North wanting to kiss people - maybe in 2017. Favorite track off of Drive North is "Lose It."

7. The Hip Abduction - Gold Under The Glow
This album was the first album I ever fell in love with in 2016 and I've been listening to it nonstop ever since. Gold Under The Glow is exactly what I want from indie - a softness that radiates an ethereal, almost ghostly, but happy sound. All of these tracks remind me of being in the sunshine, and that's why I have to make it one of my favorites for 2016. Gold Under The Glow kept me happy in some of the toughest times of the year, and I'm grateful. Favorite track off of the album is "Ka'iwi."

6. Halogens - Kitchen Sink
Halogens is another band that I had heard while in Brooklyn, and my first major triumph as a magazine owner. From NJ, my home state, Halogens have this great sound that sounds even better underground, in a basement. So much so that I made sure to have them on my very first gig in September! Kitchen Sink is an impactful EP for me because of it's pure rawness. Each track is guttural and hungry. Much like how I felt upon first listening. "Kitchen Sink" is my absolute favorite track off of the EP, so check it out!

5. Waterparks - Cluster
Another EP that I heard while seeing Never Shout Never and Metro Station (yikes) last spring! Waterparks really impressed me with their throwback pop punk sound. I swear it's like listening to music from 2009 - but with better lyrics and production. Cluster is a great little EP that is biting and unassuming. My absolute favorite track (hard to choose) is "Crave" despite a huge repetition of chorus.

4. the Weeknd - Starboy
Cause, duh. 

3. Hands Like Houses - Dissonants
This album gets me so pumped at the gym, honestly. The heaviness in the instrumental background highlights the lyrical power. Favorite track is "I Am."

2. Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Folktronica is alive and well thanks to Bon Iver. This album makes me thankful that they didn't ditch the project even though they left us all waiting for five years before this album came out! One of the strangest albums I heard this year, as each track was signature Bon iver-esque, but each was imploring a new technique, something different. My favorite track off the album is "33 'GOD.'"

1. The Neighbourhood - Wiped Out!
Okay, so what this album came out in the tail end of 2015. This album is still my all time favorite. An album that is a growth for The Neighbourhood, but does so in a way that keeps listeners happy by maintaining familiarities of the band! "Single" is a track I want imprinted on my skin for the rest of my life, but for now I'll just keep it on repeat.

Thanks for checking out my Top Ten for 2016, and maybe we had some agreements, or disagreements, either way I know I'm definitely looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us!

Philly Singer To Follow - Curtis Cooper

Album Art: Abi Reimold

Album Art: Abi Reimold

I first heard Curtis Cooper sing and play while at a Bernie Sanders support show, somewhere in North Philly - close to Temple. 

My friend Lauren and I were there to see Weatherhead (you know them, we talk about them all the time), but we were excited to see where the night would bring us. I'm pretty much brand new to the local scene in Philadelphia. In the garage, dudes in bands walked around moving instruments and lights, tested out their sound.

I remember being very cold, but huddled next to other people who look like me and like music like me, excited to see what this garage show could offer up. Enter in Curtis Cooper - singer/songwriter originally from Philadelphia, PA. He didn't introduce himself, he just began playing and I can remember thinking, "Ok, this is a good start."

Imagine Neutral Milk Hotel vibes had a baby with Elliot Smith, they call it Radiohead, or Bright Eyes. Forget how time works and just imagine that.

Originally from South Philly, Curtis Cooper began playing music when he was extremely young, influenced by his Father - guitar, cello, piano & choir. He attended Paul Green's School Of Rock, a place where he (at 13, mind you) was able to get into a lot of Classic Rock, something that fueled his drive to continue on with music, and especially guitar. Curtis explained to me that he hadn't played in many bands growing up, a few in High School with monickers like "The Stretchmarks," or "Don't Get Caught." Curtis explained it as a sort of thing he fooled around with - up until recently.

It wasn't until about a year ago that Curtis Cooper says he felt he became serious about music. It was at this time that he decided to really throw himself into the Curtis Cooper Project. To do this, 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. 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 a recent interview, "I was able to play my songs, and I really just started doing this way more recently than I should have."

I would have to agree with Curtis on that sentiment. Laughing In Line is such a sincere and cathartic album which creates and utilizes sound to experience emotion with the listener. While the actual 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 - but, we'll talk about that more in our album review!

It would seem that the local Philly singer/songwriter/musician is on a brand new path. One that got me excited to look him up when I saw him play, to play the album at least once a day. It also seems to be one that seems to excite Curtis Cooper with endless possibilities as well - with talks of a second album to come!

The Hook will be following Curtis Cooper for as long as he'll let us! We'll have a review of Laughing In Line coming soon, as well as an exclusive interview with Curtis detailing his beginnings, his goals, his dream meal, and politics.

Laughing In Line is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and iTunes so there isn't any reason you shouldn't be checking this guy out.

Stay tuned for more on the impressive Philadelphia born & raised, Curtis Cooper - and for more on him and what he is up to (or anything I talked about in this article) check out his social media below to compliment him or suggest different ways to cook potatoes!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // Bandcamp // Soundcloud