Los Angeles-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Kayla Cohen, a.k.a. Itasca; music richly allusive of the hermetic worlds of private-press canyon-cult mystics, and East Coast psychedelic jesters alike. Her adept fingerstyle guitar work—nimble but unshowy, always at the service of framing her plaintively unspooling modal progressions and moonlit voice—centers these melancholy pastorales in a dusty space equally suggestive of familiarity and distance, community and anomie.
Named after the Minnesotan lake that forms the headwaters of the the Mississippi, Itasca’s most recent releases are a 2016 LP on Paradise of Bachelors, titled Open to Chance, and a limited edition cassette from early 2018 titled Morning Flower. Mojo Magazine says; “Simultaneously spare and complex, observational folk ballads turned psychic and strange by metal-stringed dissonance and troubling Symbolist metaphor,” and Pitchfork says “Cohen’s guitar and voice, two finely-tuned instruments that are uniquely adept at conveying her ideas and images… It’s the appreciation of possibility, of the paths ahead and the ones left behind, that makes Open to Chance compelling.”