Kristina Esfandiari creates an impressive breadth of moods conjured in her various musical projects. In her work as the vocalist for King Woman, Esfandiari takes on a powerful, defiant stance against a backdrop of nocturnal doom rock. Her croon feels like a war cry. But in her ever-evolving solo endeavor Miserable, Esfandiari removes the armor and reveals her vulnerabilities. Across the span of two EPs and an LP, she examines the peaks and valleys of her young adult life. The polarizing scope of Esfandiari’s work under the Miserable moniker is aptly demonstrated on Loverboy/Dog Days, an album consisting of two EPs offered up by Sargent House: the brand new Loverboy EP and a remastered re-issue of the highly sought after Dog Days EP.
Loverboy is a somber and stormy affair. Written during Esfandiari’s brief residency in Brooklyn, it captures the songwriter during a personal nadir. But beyond the inevitable loneliness stemming from a cross-country move, there was an underlying fury in the four songs. It was a record born out of navigating past traumas and addressing the ugly side of humanity in a cathartic manner. And it was a record that seemed to write itself, with Esfandiari stating that the foundations for the songs came to her suddenly during a flight back to NYC.
Dog Days was a much different outlet for Miserable, written while Esfandiari was still living in San Francisco and originally released as a limited edition cassette. “It was my first stab at writing upbeat pop songs,” Esfandiari says of the record. And indeed, there’s something comforting and nostalgic in the shimmering dream pop of Dog Days.
03. Cheap Ring
04. Pain Farm