Music News

Seeking Honesty: South of France Drops a New Single

Jeff Cormack
Jeff Cormack Garrett Reed
“Hallelujah Show” sat on a hard drive for almost a decade before Jeff Cormack decided to return to the song and release it as a single from the upcoming album for his indie-rock project, South of France.

Cormack says the new single, which drops December 17, has a tone similar to that of the other songs he was working on, with heavy guitar riffs and a high-pitched synth lead. When he rewrote the lyrics, he says “Hallelujah Show” fit the album's overall vibe about seeking honesty.

“We’re all struggling in a world where we present that we’re not struggling,” Cormack continues. “Music is a safe place to say how you really feel.”

“Hallelujah Show” is the first single from South of France’s 2022 album My Spirit Animal/My Baggage. It will be Cormack's first album released on his own label, Staycation Records, which he created in 2019.

The lyrics illustrate a daydream about taking a vacation inside his own head, away from the trials of the world. “I’m thinking we should build a fortress / Put up a wall around my head / And we’ll make it like a weekend thing,” he sings.

Cormack collaboratively produced the song with fellow Denver musicians David Bennet and Gregory Laut of Little Trips. Bennet and Cormack worked on the original guitar and synth, while Laut added more guitar for the verses. Together they created fuzzed-out guitar tones reminiscent of ’90s shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine alongside a full-sounding bass and sparse lo-fi touches.

Cormack started releasing songs under the moniker South of France in 2012. He already had some musical success with his high school and early-college band (which went through a number of name changes), touring with the likes of Blink-182 and the Aquabats in the early 2000s. He then turned his focus on creating music solo from home.

“I originally wanted to just put music out,” he explains. But even his toughest critics — his friends — liked the tunes, and he continued to expand the project. “If the shoe fits, wear it,” he says.
click to enlarge GARRETT REED
Garrett Reed
Just last year, the South of France song “Comme Ça” was included on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, and “Empty Glass,” from Cormack’s solo album, was played on the season finale of Shameless. Cormack has often signed songwriting and publishing deals with a number of indie labels such as Dualtone Records, Anthem Records and Rough Trade Records.

He also works as a commercial musician, creating custom lyrics and music for brands, commercials and digital campaigns. He's even lent his skills to a handful of independent film scores, including Way of Life, One for the Road and From the Passenger Seat.

“In music and most creative fields,” he explains, “when opportunities come your way, and money, there’s this interesting dynamic that happens where commissioners say, ‘We love what you’re doing. We want to work with you.’ And they want you to keep doing that [same thing].”

Cormack found the restraints limiting, and he felt that his music suffered. “I didn’t want to be totally bound to this sort of dreamy indie rock, sort of pop Americana,” he says. “I don’t think that’s really me. I have a lot more punk rock.”

It’s also too easy to keep playing the same music, and less fun, he continues. Lately he’s been focusing more on strengthening his songwriting, and is often inspired by riffs he develops while playing acoustic guitar or piano for his young daughter.

That method has helped set the honest tone that Cormack was looking for, he says. My Spirit Animal/My Baggage was “a hundred percent of what I wanted to do, with help from all the right people,” he says. “I feel like that’s why this album is so much fun."

“A boring thought is hope / Oh, God, it’s all I’ve got,” Cormack sings in “Hallelujah Show.” He hopes the song makes people dance, party or cry — allowing them to feel raw emotion that surpasses any manicured facade.

"Hallelujah Show" is available to stream on Friday, December 17. To learn more about Cormack's new label, Staycation Records, visit jeffcormack.com.
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Claire Duncombe is a Denver-based freelance writer who covers the environment, agriculture, food, music, the arts and other subjects.
Contact: Claire Duncombe