Radical Face is the solo project of Ben Cooper. His first release official release was in 2007, though earlier online-only albums started popping up as early as 2003. He now spends most of his time in Los Angeles, still making records in a living room.
Every week, there's a plethora of new music at our fingertips. Artists on platforms like Spotify and Bandcamp are plentiful, and the radio offers a steady deluge of new singles, but who has time to sort through all that? RIFF does! and they have pooled their resources to find some of the best new singles from all genres and backgrounds, so you can find your newest earworm without all the drama. Enjoy this week's hidden gems.
Radical Face, "Hard of Hearing" - "I know I'm not well, but I'm all right," sings Ben Cooper of Radical Face in his recent single. "Hard of Hearing" centers on feeling stuck when all you want to do is move forward. It puts the saying, "easier said than done," into a soft and sweet melody that mixes folk and indie electronic. While tender in tone, it remains utterly self-aware of how long the road to personal growth can become-even when it seems like you have all the steps figured out. Cooper combines this agony with a touch of self-deprecating humor for the music video, channeling a Wes Anderson aesthetic to add a hint of pleasure to a painfully personal experience.
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Prolific indie pop artist Radical Face (aka Ben Cooper) has been at it for over 15 years, and he's set to release a new EP this year. It's called Therapy and it comes out April 26 via Bear Machine Records. "Therapy is an EP about aftermath," Ben says. "We often write about immediate experiences, but not so much about trying to make sense of whatever you're left with. The songs cover different aspects of this (doubt, guilt, acceptance, etc), and of trying to find a new sense of normalcy after everything has changed."
We're premiering the first single "Hard of Hearing," along with its video which was written, directed, and edited by Ben himself. The song is kind of a throwback to the early 2000s synthy bedroom pop of acts like Say Hi or The Postal Service (during which time Radical Face's own music was on the folkier side), and Ben does this kind of thing well. He tells us the song "is about the awkward middle period, that space where you don't feel well at all, but you can outwardly function again. I learned from regular work with a therapist that you usually understand things long before you feel them, and that can create a sense of limbo. That limbo is where this song lives."
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Daily Dose is your daily source for the song you absolutely, positively need to hear every day. Curated by the Paste Music Team. Thursday, Radical Face released the video for their latest single "Hard of Hearing," a contemplative yet upbeat departure from their usual acoustic-folk sound. Ben Cooper, the mind behind the musical project, said that the song describes:
"the awkward middle period, that space where you don't feel well at all, but you can outwardly function again. I learned from regular work with a therapist that you usually understand things long before you feel them, and that can create a sense of limbo. That limbo is where this song lives."
Cooper's weekend therapy sessions inspired the title of his forthcoming EP Therapy, out April 26 via Bear Machine Records. He knows firsthand how confronting one's past is a task easier said than done.
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Radical Face‘s new album Missing Film is instrumental. The key is in the images it evokes and if those images are pretty. And the music, does it arouse some sort of sentiment?
Pianos and strings cultivate this rich soundscape. I found the songs took me to various locales from a walk in overgrown grasses between old oak trees with the breeze brushing the branches together on a summer afternoon ("Horizon Lines") to a cold morning on a battlefield, puffs of breath crystallized with soldiers gripping spear hafts and waiting to find out what destiny holds for them ("Tension"). Or there's some friends running ("I'll Be There Soon") supported by a playful synthesizer. And then death, and sadness and love lost ("Ashes in the Wind," "Waltzing in the Ashes," "Hearsay," "Leaving the Ground"). But that's what the producer in my mind's eye sees. What does yours?
This album affirms my suspicions that Ben Cooper (the force behind the band) could score a moody indie drama. His music, already featured in films and TV shows, inspires such rich emotion- generally along the sad and/or nostalgic tenor- that he'd have little problem hitting the climactic highs and intense lows that a film project would ask of him.
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