Adir Cohen (Adir L.C.) on Oceanside Cities

On Oceanside Cities, the globe-trotting songwriter Adir L.C. delivers a dramatic and lavishly detailed indie-pop answer to the timeless question “should I stay or should I go?” with a resounding “both.” Written in a variety of cities including New York and recorded in Tel-Aviv, Oceanside Cities describes a young person’s search for identity and purpose as something essentially solitary and global in scope. Friends and community provide sustenance, love, and temporary shelter along the way, but, like a hero waylaid among the lotus eaters, in song after song, the singer struggles between the comforts of connection and the spiritual imperative of moving along.
Regarding the art of community-building and the art of moving along, Adir L.C. knows of what he speaks. He launched his musical journey in the same Glen Rock, New Jersey basements that nurtured Titus Andronicus and Real Estate. (His sound has more to do with glistening jangle pop of the latter, his generational spokesperson ambitions more akin to the former.) Signed young with The Medics, a forerunner of the band Le Rug produced by the songwriter John DeNicola and featuring future members of Porches., Adir got his taste of the indie foment of the early 2000’s before heading off to the college jam town of New Paltz, NY in 2007. There, he became a pivotal player and promoter in the fledgling indie scene that spawned What Moon Things, Quarterbacks, and the studio/label Salvation Recording Company.
It was also in New Paltz where Adir met former Wood Brothers drummer Jed Kosiner, his partner in the psych-folk outfit Fairweather Friends, a duo that could just as easily assemble as a ragtag, ad hoc collective and deliver ecstatic performances of Adir’s sturdy and deceptively savvy folk epics. Fairweather Friends released the well-received These Years on the Boat on Salvation and hit the road, from which Adir has never quite fully landed. Stints followed in various European cities, Los Angeles and finally Tel-Aviv, where Adir met the acquaintance of a young producer named Tom Elbaz, who would have an enormous influence on the dramatic, coherently layered sound of Oceanside Cities.
For all its complicated, multi-city birth story, Oceanside Cities is anything but a casual freak-folk travelogue; it is indie-orchestral, dynamic in its arcs, epic in its song forms and its flourish-filled arrangements, as Adir fully realizes the balance of confessional folk intimacy and broad pop ambition that his writing has always hinted at. In its blend, it is as easy to hear his love of the seminal guitar rock of Pavement and Built to Spill as it is to hear his parents’ extensive folk collection and his delight in buoyantly tuneful British Invasion pop.
Crowd-sourced, self-actualized and defiantly indie in the lost sense of that word, Oceanside Cities was on Adir’s own Dinky Pops Records on November 6.
Ghettoblaster caught up with Adir Cohen to discuss the record and this is what he told us.
When did you begin writing the material for Oceanside Cities?
The material for Oceanside Cities (with the exception of the last song) was written in my time traveling and living in various locations after graduating college. Of the many songs written in those few years, these are the ones I selected.
Which of the songs on the LP is most different from your original concept for the song?
The song “Creature” most certainly turned out different than I had originally envisioned. I went into it with the idea of an acoustic guitar and vocals and by the time we were done there was no acoustic or rhythm guitar left in the song at all.
“Buyer’s Instinct” has some really interesting lyrics. What the song’s about? Is it simply fearing the inevitably of death?
I think it’s more about the acknowledgement of the inevitability of death, less about fearing it. The song looks into this capitalistic nature we have all come to feed on… this buyer’s instinct that tells us that nothing is ever enough or satisfactory. We spend so much time wrapped up in these stifling emotions that before we know it 20 years flew by and we don’t know what happened to the time or who we have become. It’s a very positive thing to think about and acknowledge. Time flies, so you may as well try and better yourself.
You always seem to find yourself around breaking bands. Might you be the good luck charm for all these bands (Porches., Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, etc) making it? And if so, who’s next?
I would most definitely call it good luck with regard to where I grew up and went to college but I am certainly not a charm for any of those incredibly talented acts. I was lucky enough to grow up playing music in an awesome music scene that gave birth to some amazing bands. The guys in Real Estate and Titus were older than me by a couple of years and I really looked up to the them. They were a huge inspiration to me and my best friends Cameron (drummer of Porches) when we started playing music. Choosing to go to college in New Paltz and help build a scene there was also cosmically good luck and helped me work with and meet some really amazing bands that inspired me.
Being close to the SUNY Purchase scene, through Cameron, also introduced me to that whole insanely talented crew of people (Porches, LVL UP, Sheer Mag, and more). Were all in each other’s life for one reason or another… I just got to be a part of a few very special scenes of people. As for who is next? Wow – so much great music coming out. My New Paltz buddies What Moon Things are doing really great and I think only good things are coming there way. Cameron’s new band is unbelievable – never heard such raw catchy songs in my life.
You’ve just returned from playing shows in the Middle East. Any plans to tour the states?
I did just get back and now living in this amazing DIY show space/community in Brooklyn called David Blaine’s the Steakhouse with some really excellent people. I have several shows coming up in Brooklyn and NYC (listed below) with some amazing other bands and I plan to do a short tour south in December.
(Visit Adir L.C. here:
Catch him live here:
11.17 • The Rock Shop (Brooklyn, NY)
11.20 • The Tiger Lounge w/ Downies, Normal Person (Williamsburg, NY)
12.02 • Shea Stadium w/ Downies (Brooklyn, NY)
12.17 • Rock Shop (Brooklyn, NY))