Limited LP : Purple Vinyl
Over his 15-year career, Sam Mehran started a lot of projects and played in a lot of bands - but ‘Cold Brew’ is the first time his solo music has been released under his own name. As a songwriter, guitarist, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Sam had an instinctive understanding of popular music. He was able to break down a genre’s nuances and subtleties and remake them in his own image. When he died in July 2018 he left behind a body of work that was diverse but never unfocused.
Sam was born in Miami but moved to London in the mid-2000s where he formed the rip-roaring trio Test Icicles with Dev Hynes and Rory Attwell, releasing one classic album before splitting up. Afterwards, Sam returned to the USA and became a key figure in the lo-fi underground scene dubbed ‘hypnagogic pop’. He issued dozens of cassettes, CD-Rs and records between 2007 and 2011. His music ranged from mesmeric disco loops to pure power pop - but regardless of genre, Sam’s melodic songwriting talent, virtuosic guitar work and outsider sense of humour always shone through.
Over the next decade, Sam collaborated with SSION, Katie Rush, Puro Instinct, Samantha Urbani, LA Vampires and more but stopped releasing music of his own. That changed with ‘Cold Brew’. Sam recorded over one hundred songs for ‘Cold Brew’ in Los Angeles between April and May 2018. It was always intended to be an instrumental record, driven by hooky guitars and warm sonics rather than his voice. It hits hard, favouring dry sounds over washy reverb. Its cover art is based on a design that Sam mocked up himself, using his love of brash colours and confusing visuals.
Sam could be very self-critical with his work but he told friends that ‘Cold Brew’ had been a freeing creative experience. The songs here are presented as they were recorded, without any additional production or remixing. The selection was curated by Sam’s father, Abbas Mehran, along with Sam’s friends and collaborators Nicholas Weiss and Katie Wagner.