Maybe the long arc of Nick Reinhart's career was always bending towards power pop. As the lead singer of mathy Sacramento trio Tera Melos, he displayed the keen sense of melody that many of his band's peers lacked. In the truly unlikely supergroup Big Walnuts Yonder alongside Mike Watt, Nels Cline, and Greg Saunier, Reinhart played with pop choruses, albeit with an oddball sensibility. Now, under the name Disheveled Cuss, he's shooting straight for mid-90s indie, stripping back much of the technical wizardry of his earlier work, replacing it with power-chord choruses and structures that wouldn't seem out of place on Pacific Northwest slacker anthems.
"Oh My God," premiering above, is the fourth single from Disheveled Cuss' self-titled debut. Unlike the record's first three singles — "She Don't Want," "Wanna Be My Friend," and "Nu Complication" — it isn't carefree. The guitar lines are more tense, and Reinhart's lyrics seem to be coming from a paranoiac on the edge of collapse. "Someone shot me a nasty look / Now I oughtta give up," he sings in the first verse. The uneasy vibe is no coincidence.
"Finishing the Disheveled Cuss record took a long time, because I wasn't able to fully prioritize it or even really afford it," Reinhart wrote in an email to The FADER this morning. "Drums were originally recorded in late 2015, then a hard drive was damaged and we lost what we had done. We finally got back around to re-recording drums in 2018. By the end of that year it seemed like my band Tera Melos was gonna be slowing down for the foreseeable future. "I felt like i still didn’t have the resources or motivation to shift my attention to finishing the Disheveled Cuss record.
"In early 2019 i’d heard that the band Bully was looking for a guitar player," he continued. "I went to Nashville and auditioned for them, which was something I’d never done. They were all so great and we had fun jamming their songs, but they ended up going with someone else. I did end up filing in for one show with them in mid-April of 2019. When i got home I felt so weird and listless about not really having much going for myself. So i was like, 'Fuck it, lemme just finish this thing,' and by the end of the month I was in the studio. 'Oh My God' was the first song to feel fully completed and realized. The lyrics ended up being about a bunch of little things that can really bum you out and it wasn’t until months and months later that i realized, 'Wait, this is a song about being depressed. Oh, I get it: I’m depressed!' All of the sudden everything made much more sense to me. I think it’s my favorite song on the record. Funny how that works."
Listen to "Oh My God" at the top of the page. Disheveled Cuss is due out via Sargent House on June 12.