The second single from Gabriella Cohen’s new album is Music Machine, and it paints a pretty specific picture of Los Angeles within its balmy ‘60s jangle: “I saw lots of homeless people on the concrete/ While bikini girls strut down Venice Beach,” she sings.
“Isn’t America like the complete extreme?” the singer-songwriter asks STACK. “Especially when I was in San Francisco: beautifully manicured streets and lawns, buildings are gorgeous, everyone’s very affluent. Then you’ve got homeless places that the whole city just ignores. It’s like they want to perfume the sewers.” But the song’s theme of the cogs of the music industry isn’t specifically about LA. “It’s just about how regimented things are,” she says. “No one seems to know what they’re doing, no matter what they are in the industry. Just because [the system] worked in the ‘70s doesn’t mean it’s going to work now, when artists have so much freedom to market themselves.”
Cohen recorded and produced Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love in a “gorgeous farmhouse” in Seymour (VIC) with her collaborator and engineer Kate Dillon. “I just knew that I wanted to relocate to do it,” she says. “Try and copy the Stones – you know how they moved to France? I wanted to separate myself from ‘normal.’”
Stand-outs on the remarkable LP include Mercy (which has the understated ‘70s rock feel of The Doors, with its laid-back harpsichord), Neil Young (“It’s one of the oldest songs on the record; I wrote it when I first moved to Melbourne in November 2015. I was just an angry stoner that had just come out of a relationship. It sounds like On The Beach by Neil Young, which is one of my favourite records. Vampire Blues, into Motion Pictures… it’s just a beautiful simmer”) and Miserable Baby, which features a super romantic baritone vocalist in the style of Sha Na Na’s Blue Moon. “I love Grease! Did you know I love Grease? I’m so glad you got Grease from that – that’s what I was going for,” Cohen says, adding that the singer is Arun Roberts, her sometimes bassist.
But back to Grease. “Do you know if John Travolta actually sung? Is that his voice? He’s such a good dancer. Exceptional. Blows my mind. I watch it every couple of months.”
Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love is out June 1 via Dot Dash.
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