01.11.2014 — “Bell Jar” by Miserable

Kristina Esfandiari (Miserable)

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Bell Jar” by Miserable (2014, from the forthcoming EP Halloween Dream).

Miserable is a solo recording project of Kristina Esfandiari. She used to be the vocalist for the San Francisco/Oakland-area shoegaze band Whirr. In November of last year, she branched off to do her own thing, and she released a split 7″ single with a band named Grey Zine. She has also released some stuff under the name “King Woman”.

In February, Miserable will release an EP called Halloween Dream via the Brooklyn one-man-show boutique record label The Native Sound. The focus over there is to release some great records on limited edition physical pressings. The first record in their catalog was a 7″ double-A side record by the legendary John Vanderslice. This forthcoming EP will be just the third release on The Native Sound, and he’s pressing just 300 copies on 7″ vinyl that has been described as “ultra clear with gold haze”. It will also, of course, be available as a digital download.

The good folks over at Brooklyn Vegan debuted this song on Monday, and it landed in my inbox on Thursday.

I knew, even before I listened to it that I loved this song.
“Bell Jar” by Miserable

It’s weird to say this about a song that’s just a hair over two minutes long, but this song requires a bit of patience, and there’s a brilliant payoff. The first time I listened to the song, I wasn’t looking at the soundcloud visualizer. I had no idea how much time had passed or that there was about to be a sonic sea change. It felt like a couple of minutes had passed and I was just settling into — I was even mesmerized by– the super heavy, super-slow doom-groove of the song. And then, the good part, which happens at 1:03. It goes from being a little creepy to being downright scary. The guitar gets much more involved and is much more feedback-laden. The tom-heavy drums come in like ten million pounds of wet bricks. And there’s a little bit of screaming. It’s scary. And beautiful.

I can’t make out the lyrics, so I don’t know if it’s about the Sylvia Plath novel, or if it’s inspired by it, or if it just happens to have the same name. It would make sense, though. Maybe I don’t want to know the lyrics. Maybe I shouldn’t try to sort them out.

It’s a marvelously dark song, and I really like it.

There’s a lot of talk about how Miserable reminds people of Deafheaven. For the life of me, I just cannot wrap my head around that band, so I can’t speak to that. For the sake of comparing Miserable to another band, I’ll just say that the heavy darkness of “Bell Jar”, like a harbinger of doom, reminds me a lot of the 2009 album Beast Rest Forth Mouth by Bear in Heaven. That whole album is darker than a thousand midnights and it has a really heavy, gloomy, apocalyptic feel to it. I get that same sense with “Bell Jar”.

This song deserves to be played repeatedly, and it deserves to be played very loudly. Don’t worry about who you frighten or who you annoy or who you wake up. Play it loud.

You can pre-order your copy of the super-limited release vinyl here

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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