Watch just about any video where Mylets’ Henry Kohen is performing his guitar-looping one-man-band wizardry live, and it’s like that one scene in Back To The Future III when Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen shoots at the floor, yells “dance!” and Marty McFly hops around until — much to the befuddlement of Tannen — he straight-up moonwalks. With so many pedals at his feet, Kohen doesn’t moonwalk, but the double-take remains. Recorded when he was 19 (he’s now 20), Kohen flexes more ’90s alterna-guitar-inspired songwriting muscle on his debut album, Arizona. Here’s the opening track, “Trembling Hands.”
A far cry from the bedroom experiments on Kohen’s 2013 collection of EPs, Retcon, the spirit of “Trembling Hands” comes straight out of Nine Inch Nails' most anthemic work. The ominous introduction whirs to an explosive riff that leaps from a burning building, as Kohen's octave pedal squeals maniacally above it all. Like guitarist Adrian Belew — who, besides his long tenure in King Crimson, also briefly toured with Nine Inch Nails — Kohen is tactful with his atmosphere when his feet aren’t flying around the board.
Arizona comes out April 21 on Sargent House.