Photo: Greg Giannukos / All Eyes Media

Los Coast Delivers Bold Flavors, Sounds via Their Debut ‘Samsara’ (album stream) (premiere)

A sprawling and deeply conceptual work, Los Coast's Samsara touches on personal, social, and philosophical dilemmas while never losing sight of its basic purpose, to move the heart and the feet.

Los Coast
New West
14 June 2019

Samsara is the debut album from Austin, Texas-based group Los Coast releasing this Friday via New West Records. It’s a far-reaching and deeply imaginative collection of songs that recalls the electric soul power of Curtis Mayfield at the peak of his powers as well as the psychedelic reach of Arthur Lee’s Love.

The hook-laden “Monsters” asks, repeatedly, “How did we get here?” and one sees that question as being applicable on two fronts: When did the world become this frightening? and How did musical expression evolve to such a high place? The signs of the time are present throughout, including the dance and doom number “Simplify”, “Shadow Work”, and “Battles”.

As remarkable as the lyrical sentiments (courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Trey Privott), the guitar lines exchanged between he and John Courtney offer plenty of ear candy. Witness the ballad “The Morning Weight”, which sounds like classic AM gold and the country-ish “Chesapeake”.

The emotions and themes run far and wide here and yet reconcile themselves perfectly. You can still fall in love when the world’s coming to an end; you can still find optimism in the darkest places and drag darkness with you into the light. The trick, as they say, is not to let it overwhelm you.

Privott echoes some of this in his reflections on the LP. “Samsara was essentially created as a coming of age tale about a character who suddenly realizes he’s in for more than he bargained for. I only say ‘he’ because I realized a lot of the songs were actually from my perspective after listening to them over and over a few times. Almost all the songs were written coming straight out of dreams (three hours of REM sleep), so they have this lost daydreamer approach as well.”

He adds, “For me, Samsara is a soul searching album in every sense of the word. French philosopher René Descartes was probably one of my biggest inspirations for this album. I did a lot of researching on how the mind, body, and soul coexist. I think after we decided that we were making a soul album, I wanted to focus in on trying to answer what the soul was and if it even existed in America today. I don’t think we ever got a straight answer, but these are the songs that soundtracked those considerations.”

If art is a reflection of the times, Privott says, Samsara is definitely that. “With 2020 right around the corner and the knowledge that everything comes in waves,” he offers. “I think many people in our generation have realized that our world war is a mental one, a war with ourselves in a society where information is capital, where the material world blinds us to our spiritual one.”

In summarizing the album’s far reach, the singer/guitarist notes, “Like Paris in the 1920s, Samsara is our baptism into the modern art world. ‘Samsara’ is the Sanskrit word for cycling and wandering. In the Christian World, it’d be similar to the Land of Nod, where Cane was banished as a place away from God. Our album is about how we often lose ourselves and our souls if we focus too long on earthly, physical desires. Samsara is about the need to feed our soul.”