Handing out sausage samples at the mall was near enough the final straw for Jackie Cohen. After she graduated from a creative writing course at college she’d worked as a marketing consultant and an English teacher, until the L.A.-raised singer released a duology of EPs last year. Produced by her husband Jonathan Rado (Foxygen), and with The Lemon Twigs forming her backing band, Tacoma Night Terror (parts 1 and 2) was an introduction to her characterful songwriting and cartoonish willingness to send herself up. Tours will Alex Cameron and Mac DeMarco followed, and felt like a natural fit.
Where those EPs were snapshots of sleepless nights, Zagg – a nod to her high school nickname – is a mainline plug into her unbroken inner monologue. These are songs that swoon and sway and sweep and jive, even if the messages are of anxiety, heartbreak and dark morbidity. “Take me for what I am,” she sings on the opening track ‘FMK’. It’s all supplemented by the teamwork of Rado, and her label boss Matthew E. White on production means it all sounds vintage, expensive and not of this era.
The cover is drawn by Adam Green. The smudged portrait is comical and sad and vibrant and messy. An appropriate signpost as to what’s inside.