“[Distance] recalls contemporaries like Feist and Sharon Van Etten at its finest, blending synth-rock, breezy beach pop, and tender folk. But ‘Body Memory’ is the album’s centerpiece, with Cornelius singing about corporality and mind-body connectivity with sensitivity and poise.” – Rolling Stone
“‘Kitchen Floor’ is an excellent showcase and calling card for Cornelius. As it becomes immediately clear on ‘Kitchen Floor’ she’s got an impassioned, soulful, and demanding voice.” – WXPN, Song of the Week
New Zealand-born, Melbourne-bred and now Los Angeles-based Jess Cornelius has release her debut album, Distance, via Part Time Records / Remote Control. The album follows singles ‘Kitchen Floor‘ and ‘Body Memory,‘ which “documents the aftermath of a miscarriage, yet has the sound of a hard-earned, springtime bloom” (NYLON). Distancecelebrates newness — new beginnings and new perspectives on endings, from the chaos of a vagabond lifestyle to having a child just weeks before the album’s release (Cornelius had her baby the day after the last song, ‘Body Memory,’ was shared).
A lot has changed since Jess Cornelius began writing the songs that would comprise Distance.
For starters, she moved halfway around the world from Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles. At the time, Cornelius had a few new songs and the idea of finally making a record of her own, excited to start fresh after several years as the primary songwriter in the Melbourne-based outfit Teeth and Tongue.
But the distance that Cornelius addresses over the course of these 10 songs is hardly a geographical one. Instead, the album — her solo debut on Part Time Records—finds a deft songwriter analysing the space between society’s expectations for her and her own dreams; between the illusion of love and the reality of disappointment; between a past she is ready to let go of and a future she could have hardly imagined.
As Cornelius puts it, “A lot of the record was about me deciding to continue this nomadic lifestyle of being a musician. I wrote about coming to terms with that reality. People would ask me if I was going to have a family and a lot of the songs are about me being ok with not pursuing that path. It was about coming to terms with the choices I had made.”
She adds with a laugh, “And then two years later, I’m knocked up and married. I couldn’t have imagined that.”
The album’s sounds and tones were selected with great care. Cornelius says it was important for the album to reflect the local music scene of her new home. With the help of producer Tony Buchen — another Australian transplant who approached Cornelius after a show at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater — Distance became a roving affair, recorded in a string of Los Angeles studios with a changing cast of friends and local musicians.
The album features contributions by Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), harpist Mary Lattimore, Emily Elhaj (Angel Olsen), Stephanie Drootin (Bright Eyes), Jesse Quebbeman-Turley (Hand Habits), whistler Molly Lewis and special appearances by Justin Sullivan (Night Shop, Kevin Morby) and Laura Jean Anderson.