May 2, 2016 — “Violet” by Miserable

Kristina Esfandiari (Miserable)

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Violet” by Miserable (2016, from the album Uncontrollable).

Miserable is the Oakland-based doomgaze/darkwave recording project of Kristina Esfandiari. Once upon a time, she was the singer in the bay area shoegaze band Whirr. She’s done some stuff with a different solo project that she calls King Woman. With that project, she did a remarkable cover of the This Mortal Coil interpretation of the song “Fond Affections”. You can read my post about that here.

Esfandiari left Whirr in 2013 and did some other project before starting Miserable. She released an EP called Halloween Dream in February of 2014 and the Dog Days EP in August of that same year. The long-awaited debut album finally came out last week. Like the EPS that preceded it, the album is dark. Really dark. It’s sad. It’s gloomy. Unlike the EPs, though, the album has really good production values, and unlike the EPs, the new album gives the listener room to breathe. The Halloween Dream EP is a difficult listen because of how thick and heavy it is. The dark mood of it is almost second to the unbearable weight of it and the way that it makes it quite difficult to breathe except for shallow breaths of foggy, smokey air.

Speaking of not being able to breathe, tonight’s song seems like it’s about an ex-lover who sucks the life and breath out of the hero of the story. Here’s the lyrics from the first half of the song:

you’re the most spiteful person
I could
never be
so when I hear your name around town
hurts me
my stomach drops to
the ground
pitiful we couldn’t recognize
a perfect thing
and I can’t breathe at all
at all
violet was all around
without you
fading out

Wow. I love that line “You’re the most spiteful person I could never be”.

Anyway, here’s the song. Listen closely for the sound effects from the arcade game Punch Out. Not “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out”, but the original one.

It’s dark and it’s cold and it’s sad, and it’s fucking lovely.

I had pretty high expectations for this brand new album, and it hasn’t disappointed. So far, admittedly, the only way I’ve listened to it is in the car and just now on headphones. I haven’t been able to play it on big speakers, but I imagine it’s fantastic when played loudly with the lights off and all the curtains drawn.

There was a special limited edition of the album on purple vinyl, but it has sold out. It’s still available on standard black vinyl and on a limited release pink opaque vinyl. It’s also, of course, available as a digital download. You can shop for it 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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