Between the Blue and the Green is part of the proof that great albums are alive in a time when the album is supposed to be dying. Benji Cossa’s songs and his singing impart a wonderment and wide-eyed joi de vivre that many artists miss entirely or are too guarded to express. The result is 40 minutes of prolonged joy that stands up to repeat listens and holds together like classic stuff tends to, each tune strong on its own but married to and bolstered by the others around it. His songs weave together into something almost cinematic, but in a grainy, honest, homespun sort of a way.
Stylistically Benji spins a mélange birthed from outsider-folk, classic AM pop, lo-fi indie rock, and roots music. Each tune is a treasure trove of lush instrumentation. Banjos, accordions, glockenspiels, synths and organs play beside a spare rhythm section and Cossa’s otherworldly singing. This record is a wonder of DIY recording and was captured at various home sessions Benji undertook with his close pals Josh Kaufman (Higgins, Rocketship Park, Balthrop, Alabama), Devin Flynn (Pixeltan) and John Walsh.
Benji has been writing and recording music since the mid-90s, issuing various 7 inches, tapes and CDs on his own and on small labels such as Kreb Star (created in the 90s by Eric and Bjorn Copeland of the Black Dice) and Magic Marker Records, the label that issued the archival Songs From the Vault: Vol 1 in 2005. He records and performs on his own as well as with several backing bands including members of the Black Dice, Pixeltan, Higgins and Cheeseburger.
Serious Business is happy to release Benji’s first proper album of all new songs in nearly 15 years of writing, performing and home recording. We’re looking forward to issuing many more.
"After years of doing the low-fi home recording thing all by himself, Benji Cossa has moved up in the world -- the liner notes to Between The Blue and the Green inform us that most of the album was recorded at other people's houses for a change, and one was cut in an honest-to-goodness recording studio in New York. Cossa also has a band on most of these thirteen songs, though thankfully the results tend to enhance rather than dilute the charm of Cossa's playful but engaging songs, sunny melodies and joyous vocals. Most of the Between the Blue and the Green still sounds like the work of an inspired amateur, not because the craft is faulty (it isn't) but because of the guilelessness of Cossa's musical personality and the open honesty of his music; this doesn't sound like the work of someone who has given any thought to creating a persona for the stage, but of a musician who is just being himself before the microphone and happens to be having a grand time doing it. Even the relatively somber songs like "Tonight", "Alone" and "Have You Seen" aren't so dark that they don't let a bit of light shine though, and the tinkling chimes and huffing-puffing accordion of "Streets To Streams" add a warm pastoral undertow to a song that could pass for Village Green Preservation Society-era Ray Davies in dim light. On Between the Blue and the Green, Benji Cossa manages the rare feat of sounding sweet but not cloying, playful but not willfully naïve, and it's a simple, satisfying joy to hear." Mark Deming, All Music Guide
"This warm and varied lo-fi folk/pop offering is the second album from talented singer/songwriter Benji Cossa, who knows his way around a pop song and has a magnificent voice to boot. These thirteen songs sound like they were fun to create, and they certainly are a joy to take in. The entire album has a folky vibe, although the songs are fairly eclectic - due no doubt in part to their being recorded over multiple home sessions with variable casts of supporting musicians. Cossa at times sounds like a classy lounge crooner ("Five More Minutes Alone (Time Bomb)", "Time for a Change"), at times like an outsider folkhound with a falsetto that would make Akron Family proud ("Sunday," "Tonight"), and at times like a pure pop artiste ("Play the Bay," "Streets to Streams"). And there are even nods to the Starbucks easy-folk crowd ("The Show is Over Everywhere," "Time for a Change"), although Cossa maintains his artistic integrity via his loose, unconventional delivery.
As it stands, this album's undeniable warmth and melodic nature places it in an interesting position. In light of recent outsider folk successes as Devendra Banhart and Akron Family, Between the Blue sits right at the cutting edge of a hip young genre. However, its songs' simple infectiousness lends it an appeal that could exert its effects on just about any listener with a musical curiosity transcending the Top 40. The question, then, is such: who wouldn't like this? 86%/100%" Indieville
"Take a dose of Cossa's latest album, a gem...Between the Blue and the Green could dispel the bitterest of cold fronts."
"His latest album, Between the Blue and the Green, is full of low-fi pop pearls that are perfect for summer listening." - The Deli Magazine
"I've always liked the easy-going, feels-like-the-sun-is-shining-right-on-me genre. Maybe it goes back to the lack of sunlight we have up here in Michigan the rest of the year, I don't know. But “Sunset” by Benji Cossa is just what I'm talking about. Katy tossed this one in our suggestion box, and I'd give her a big, platonic hug for it if I could. Does this song feel good or what? Not to mention the subject matter... "Doin' it, doin' it, do do dodo do." Ain't that what summer is all about?" 3Hive
"If I had to create a biography for Benji Cossa based on Between the Blue and the Green, I'd say he spent the past decade puttering around his home listening to most every American pop record from the '60s and '70s he could find in thrift stores, tinkering with pawn shop instruments and playing in innumerable small-time bands which ultimately went nowhere. The story isn't rare, but Cossa's persistence has paid off well in the artistic sense—his latest record attests to his status as a veritable master of bedroom pop. At times he'll delve into something more rustic, matching his voice to imitate the best of back porch crooners. Other times, he's as sunny as The Boy Least Likely To." Silent Uproar
"This eccentric disc has delighted and confounded me for weeks now – a joy to listen to, but defying words. It’s not quote folk, too melodic and catchy to be called experimental. I hear hints of White Stripes, Brian Wilson, and children’s nursery rhymes. Benji Cossa has crafted a wacky, beautiful, hauntingly sweet treat of an album.
The trippy “5 More Minutes Alone” lopes off the CD first, reminding me of Donovan’s ‘60s hippie folk anthems. Another cool number a similar vein comes later, the hypnotic and even more psychedelic “Streets to Streams.”
“Sunday” is country-bluesish, rambling like a Sunday drive, punctuated by slippery slide guitar and carried into another universe by Benji’s falsetto vocal. “Play the Bay” is another bluesy romp, twangy guitar-fueled and percussive – and delightfully reminding me of the kids’ song “Down By the Bay.”
“A Rainbow” is a sing-along mini-symphony, one of my favorites; the bubbling synth is just one of the nifty quirks about this one. “Sunset” is bouncy yet bittersweet, another catchy one to sing with.
The wistful, longing “Tonight,” is simply guitar and Benji’s plaintive falsetto, with crickets chirping in the background. His voice is arresting – not perfect, but perfect for his songs. The anthemic “Tomorrow” is another great vocal turn, with loads of stirring backup singing as well.
The soulful “The Show Is Over Everywhere” is a wonderful, bittersweet closing track, reminding me of the great heartwrenching numbers Richard Manuel sang with The Band.
Most of these tunes were recorded at someone’s house; that doesn’t detract at all from the recording, it just gives Between the Blue and the Green a heartfelt immediacy – a fun, friendly get-together well worth being invited to." -Chip Withrow, MusesMuse
"The Show is Over Everywhere" has got the low-slung lazy melody that just reminds me of late-night radio shows ending. Thank you for Benji Cossa." -InfiniteRegress.org
"perhaps the most joyous pop records i've heard all year. never sacchrine, but the songs always manage to inspire a sense of optimism in me. i've loved cossa's songwriting ever since i heard "for tom's new wave movie" on the "we can still be friends" comp (magic markers recs), and i think this is his best work to date. i've been listening to "between the blue and the green" nonstop for the last three days and haven't had an urge to skip over a track yet. my initial favorites are "play the bay" (it somehow reminds me of the feeling of the great lakes' "hot cosmos"), “a rainbow,” and "5 more minutes alone (time bomb)." (if you end up liking this record, i'd suggest you work back to "vault vol.1" and grab "love is like lightning" and "knockout.")" -prc from Lexington, KY via eMusic
"Benji Cossa is a lo-fi singer/songwriter from Brooklyn who digs Big Star. Yes, it shows. And if you add the Kinks you get a pretty good idea what he forthcoming album Between the Blue and the Green sounds like: an album that will you cheer you up with its music hall influences and makes you think through its good lyrics" -Here Comes the Flood