Vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Cullen Omori offers an individual perspective on indie pop with his darkly tuneful and atmospheric songs.
After the breakup of his flashy rock band the Smith Westerns, Omori went solo and took a detour into moody indie pop with 2016's New Misery, while 2018's The Diet was a more expansive and musically diverse effort.
Omori was one of the founders of the Chicago-based band the Smith Westerns, who formed in 2007 and became an indie success story with the 2011 album Dye It Blonde. However, after 2013's Soft Will received a cool reception from fans and the press, creative differences split the group in late 2014. Omori was still in high school when he formed the Smith Westerns, and the breakup had a heavy impact on him. He took a day job in a hospital, and began adding to a batch of songs he'd started writing before the band's collapse. Working with musician Adam Gil, Omori began laying down lo-fi demos of his new tunes, which were a calmer departure from the Smith Westerns' garage-glam fusion.
Sub Pop struck a deal with Omori, and he went into the studio with producer Shane Stoneback to record his debut album. The finished product, New Misery, was released on March 18, 2016; Omori followed the release with a U.S. tour. In the wake of New Misery's release, Omori went through a chaotic period that included a serious auto accident, a difficult romantic breakup, and leaving Chicago for Los Angeles. These life changes informed Omori's songwriting for his second solo effort, 2018's The Diet, that found him working with a larger crew of musicians as well as producer Taylor Locke. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi