Tim Cohen is a musician and visual artist based in San Francisco, California. Known for his involvement with a number of Bay Area indie bands dating back to the early 2000s, he’s been a major figure in the city’s psychedelic/garage revival scene.
A native of Syracuse, New York, Cohen moved to San Francisco around the turn of the millennium and started making music under a variety of aliases. As Feller Quentin, he released the indie folk albums I Want to Be Black Kind Of (2002) and Cat in a Tree with a Mouse in His Teeth (2003) before signing with Echelon Productions for I Am Not a Monster (2004). He partnered with Evan Martin for folk with a hip-hop bent as Black Fiction, which grew to five members. The band released Ghost Ride in 2006 and God in the Gutter in 2007.
Meanwhile, Cohen’s most widely known project, the Fresh & Onlys, started in 2004 as a collaboration with bassist Shayde Sartin but expanded to include Kyle Gibson, Wymond Miles, and Heidi Alexander (who soon left the band). Drawing from a hodgepodge of influences, among them Buzzcocks, the Mekons, and Country Joe MacDonald, the lineup arrived at a grimy yet sunny pop sound with plenty of garage rock mixed in. In early 2008, they issued their first recording, the Imaginary Friends EP, on their friend Kelley Stoltz’s label. After self-releasing the Medicine Island cassette, John Dwyer’s Castle Face label put out their self-titled full-length debut in April of 2009. The band’s second LP, Grey-Eyed Girls, was issued on Woodsist in the fall.
Also in 2009, Cohen released his first album under his own name. Still trippy but more intimate, Two Sides of Tim Cohen arrived on Empty Cellar and Secret Seven. That year, he sneaked out a metal album, as well, under the name Amocoma. A flood of recordings followed in 2010. The Fresh & Onlys released the EP August on My Mind for Captured Tracks, a handful of singles for various labels, and finally their third long player, Play It Strange, which appeared in October on In the Red. Captured Tracks handled a second Cohen solo album, Laugh Tracks, the same year.
The Fresh & Onlys opened 2011 with an EP called Secret Walls for the Sacred Bones label, and Cohen debuted yet another psych-folk project, Magic Trick, with Glad Birth of Love on Empty Cellar. Magic Trick’s sophomore LP, Ruler of the Night, arrived on the Hardly Art label in late June 2012, just two months before the Fresh & Onlys returned with their fourth album and first for Mexican Summer, the thoughtful and relatively slickly produced Long Slow Dance. They followed up with an EP, Soothsayer, in 2013, while Cohen found time to release another Magic Trick album, River of Souls. The Fresh & Onlys’ fifth album, House of Spirits, was written by Cohen while visiting an isolated Arizona horse ranch and reflected a laid-back Western feel. It was released by Mexican Summer in June of 2014. Cohen focused on Magic Trick for 2015’s Half Man Half Machine (Spiritual Pajamas) and 2016’s Other Man’s Blues (Empty Cellar), before offering his first Tim Cohen full-length in six years, 2017’s Luck Man. It was his first recording for the Sinderlyn label.