Bunk Bar Southeast
Tues May 8, 2018, 9:30 pm 21+
Recommended by Ben Weinstein
The cover of New Misery, Cullen Omori’s 2016 solo debut, depicts a promising green sapling sprouting from a pile of dirt. It’s tempting to read the image as a heavy-handed shot at his former band Smith Westerns, several of whose members now operate as the jaunty indie rock group Whitney. Upon viewing the music video for the album’s ’80s pop-indebted lead single “Cinnamon,” wherein Omori ignites several Smith Westerns posters in CGI flames, little doubt remains. When he released New Misery, Omori clearly hadn’t reached a point where he could look back on the band he grew up in with fond nostalgia. Fortunately, that seems to have worked in his favor—his debut is a confident and satisfying step into the solo spotlight, echoing the glam-rock sensibility of his past while still taking enough synth-driven risks to dodge cries of redundancy. As Omori continues to share fresh material (like his new song “Four Years”), it’ll reveal how much the gulf between him and Smith Westerns has widened.
1028 SE Water Ave., Portland, OR 97214
Hours: Sun-Tues 11 am-10 pm, Wed-Thurs 11 am-12 am, Fri-Sat 11 am-1 am