Amber Coffman will release her solo debut, City of No Reply, on June 2nd via Columbia. In anticipation, the full album is streaming at NPR. Update: You can also stream it below via Apple Music or Spotify.
City of No Reply is sort of a post-breakup record, having been recorded in 2015 with the production help of her ex-lover David Longstreth. At the time, Coffman was still Longstreth’s colleague in Dirty Projectors, though that working relationship also deteriorated — much to Coffman’s own surprise. They had stopped speaking by the time City of No Reply had finished, and she had no idea he had plans for another Dirty Projectors record.
“It was never my intention or wish to leave the band or end my friendship with Dave,” Coffman told Stereogum. “It was a surprise to me to learn last September about his album plans, the content, timing, use of the band name, etc… I consider it a loss to no longer be involved with Dirty Projectors, but ultimately walking away was the only healthy choice for me.”
But while Longstreth’s Dirty Projectors new self-titled album is unabashedly inspired by his separation from Coffman, City of No Reply is more about self-discovery in the wake of a breakup. “There’s certainly a lot of breakup songs, but it’s not about one person in particular,” she said in an interview with Pitchfork. “It’s more of an album about learning to live with yourself, which maybe is part of a breakup but it’s also just part of life. It’s about a lot: depression, self-doubt.”
That’s perhaps why she described the gentle lead single “All to Myself” as “a small reminder not to spend too much time fretting and just to get out there, live your life and do what makes you happy.” There’s also the sweet simplicity of “No Coffee”, which finds Coffman singing, “Baby, I need you in a serious way/ I can’t give you all this love when you push me away.” “Nobody Knows” is more directly about a breakup, but not the one of which you might be thinking; instead, about that singular loneliness following any separation that feels so unique but is all too universal.
Whatever the songs’ themes, they’re all bright and buoyant indie joys that gently guide ’70s pop into the modern day. Take a listen to the entire thing and watch the “No Coffee” video below.
City of No Reply Tracklist:
01. All To Myself
02. No Coffee
03. Dark Night
04. City Of No Reply
05. Miss You
06. Do You Believe
07. If You Want My Heart
08. Nobody Knows
09. Under The Sun
10. Brand New