No Kill is the solo project of Brooklyn-based artist, Jamie Cogar. On her forthcoming debut album, Gold Chorus, Cogar has produced a subtly infectious set of contemporary shoegaze tracks, strung together by shimmering reverb and tethered by drone.
Cogar complicates pop song structures with lush textures and hazy, spacious layers of guitar. The result is an expansive, melody-driven sound that brings to mind Raveonettes, Jesus and Mary Chain, and the Dum Dum Girls’ 60s-influenced hooks, like a shoegaze Mazzy Star.
Originally from the Maine coast, Cogar moved to Brooklyn in 2008. Her music often returns to the power of the rocky shores and bleak winters she left behind. Cogar’s reverence for that kind of natural violence comes through in her music in the tension between waves of reverb, her ethereal vocals, and the caustic feedback of the guitar. Cogar taught herself to play guitar as a teenager by playing along with 90s grunge on the radio, which she credits as an influence in her songwriting. She still plays by ear, which she says frees her to think about sound in a playful and inventive way. That inventiveness defines and animates Gold Chorus.
No Kill’s first single off Gold Chorus, “Swooning,” opens with woozy Pixies-esque guitars that give way to a gleaming hook. “It’s a song about desire,” Cogar says, “It’s about vulnerability, irreverence, and the power games people play with one another.” The color-saturated music video for the track has a strong David Lynch-does-Chytilová’s Daisies vibe, centered on the female gaze, its protagonists rarely breaking eye contact with the camera. Like the song, the video creates a powerful, feminine space filled with soft layers of projections and flickering washes of colored light.
Working toward the center of the album, "Hallelujah", feels like a festive fever dream about the end of the world, as Cogar sings “We’ll trade the dead for the living.” About the song, Cogar says, “When I wrote this song I was thinking about celebrating through end times. Now that we’ve actually lived through what feels like the apocalypse, this song longs for that wild recklessness of crowded spaces, sweat, and blurry memories."
On "Better", the album moves from the end of the world to the end of a relationship. Cogar says, "Better is a breakup song. It's about growing stronger while learning to live with loose ends. I wanted the guitars to give a sense of empowerment."
An understated, euphoric drive pervades the album. At its apex, "Eddie Vedder" bursts into a hypnotic wall-of-sound which Cogar describes as, “sweet but with teeth.” It’s a noisy, self-assured celebration. “I wanted to create a depth to get lost in. This song is about a powerful sense of longing. It is both tender and unshakable, like a memory you can’t forget.”