select press:Interviews

The uk independent: 

Coogan has released her new album ‘The Lonely Cry of Space & Time’ By Zak Thomas.

Anna Coogan didn’t feel like she had a lot of love songs to write when her home city of Ithaca, New York, came within 30 days of running out of water. “This area that usually has so much water was just bone dry,” says the former biologist turned rock musician. “All the waterfalls were gone – they were just these big rock formations.” 

The Boston-born singer was preparing to go into the studio last year to record her latest album, The Lonely Cry of Space & Time, when Ithaca had its driest March-through-June period on record. “I’ve been thinking about global climate change for a long time, and this is the first time that it’s starting to become clear that it will affect the individual,” she says. 

Speaking from her living room, the high-spirited and attentive American is cautious about overtly linking the drought to climate change without data to hand. But that hasn’t allayed her fears of the immediate impact environmental damage could have on humanity. Researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca are unsure whether more dry summers like the one experienced last year should be expected in the region, but it’s possible that severe short-term droughts could increase in frequency.


Last year’s drought and the run-up to the US election made a profound impression on Coogan’s writing for the new record. She explores the inflammatory rhetoric of the 2016 presidential race in “Collateral”, the divisive immigration debate in “Wishing Well”, and the turmoil of the Middle East in “Burn for You”.

“I tried to liven it up sometimes, but it just didn’t come out that way,” she admits. But Coogan insists there are “happier songs” on The Lonely Cry of Space & Time, including the title track, which is a celebration of the discovery of gravitational waves. “It was such an inspiring story in this otherwise really dark time.” The rest of the album is made up of “love and break-up songs”, because she had to “keep a few of those in there”.

Coogan used to work as a fisheries biologist on a monitoring project of Lake Washington in Seattle, so the subject of climate change is dear to her. “It wasn’t directly a climate science project, but everything ecology-based ends up touching on climate change.” As the opera-trained singer points out, the lake she worked on “is warming and species are shifting”.

Climate change is altering global air currents, scientists warn

Both the singer’s mother and husband are scientists too. And while Coogan no longer works as a biologist, of particular concern are the Trump administration’s alleged ban on Environmental Protection Agency officials speaking out publicly and the proposed 20 per cent cuts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the government agency which protects coastal resources in the US. 

“I worked directly with the data for years so it’s been really brutal to watch it come so quickly onto the chopping block,” she says. “There’s no respect [from the Trump administration towards scientists], and I think there’s even a pretty negative feeling that the scientists themselves have been preventing other industry jobs from happening.” 

Coogan’s new record was devised with touring partner Willie B (Amos Perrine)

However, Coogan is confident that the project she worked on for the University of Washington will survive through local and private funding. “But a lot of the projects that my school worked on, and a lot of the projects that my friends work on – they’re definitely at risk.” Although she’s concerned about climate change denial at the highest levels of government, the singer is optimistic that pushing the issue back to a local level will force mayors and governors to take action to prevent further environmental damage.

She is also heartened by the fact that she could speak with Tom Reed, her Republican congressman, at a rally just days after he met Donald Trump in the White House in February. “Whether he’s going to listen to anything I think is another matter, but that did highlight that there is some hope,” she says. “There are people that have the ear of the President that may or may not be willing to listen to some of the things we have to say."

A liberal thinker herself, Coogan recognises that the left has consistently failed to understand the needs of voters in rural America. “For years, it’s been these blue cities that have the big population centres and kind of a sea of red. I do think that the left has to take stock of that fact.” Indeed, she tried to make her own inroads while at the Tom Reed rally by talking to Trump supporters. 

“They’re not crazy and they’re not bad. I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in that kind of thinking.” The general gist of Trump supporters’ concerns at the rally was that “people really disliked Obamacare”. She adds: “Especially people with small businesses. I’m no policy expert by any means, especially on healthcare. But it is a flawed system.” Coogan also sympathised with those frustrated at the high taxes in her state – she gets hit by them too as a homeowner.

But while the apocalyptic themes of The Lonely Cry of Space & Time ppear to portray an artist who has lost faith in humanity in the face of a new President who is “turning climate denial into more of a national policy”, the singer-songwriter is conscious of keeping her anxieties in perspective. After all, as Coogan says, “Darkness is relative, isn’t it?”

The Ithaca Journal: RE: Blood of a poet Film SCore

By Jim Catalano.

Just back from a successful European tour, local singer-songwriter Anna Coogan will debut her latest project at the Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival at 6 p.m. Friday at Cinemapolis. She’s created a 50-minute solo guitar piece for the 1932 French film “The Blood of a Poet,” which is “terrifying and exciting and I can’t wait to share,” she said.

This is Coogan’s third live soundtrack since 2015 — she did live scores for “Aelita, Queen of Mars” and “Fall of the House of Usher” in collaboration with Brian Wilson and Michael Stark. But this time she’s going it alone.

“It’s so different,” she said, noting that she opted to forgo drawing on her opera background that she utilized in the previous projects. “I decided pretty early on to do a guitar piece. Which for me is the utmost challenge because while it is becoming my primary instrument, it didn’t start as my primary instrument.

“I wouldn’t say it got easier, but I put parameters on it that made it more challenging: It’s just me and the guitar, with no vocals.

“It’s more on the ambient side. The film itself is very avant garde and for me the best way to enjoy it is to not try to make heads or tails of it, and just let it wash over you. Plotwise, there isn’t much of one — it’s more of a meditation. So I have some ambient stuff in there, trying to use a lot of sound effects. I’m always inspired by Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot and Mary Halverson — I watched a lot of their stuff, but I don’t have that jazz background, so it’s more by ear for me at this point.”

She added: “For me it’s been getting comfortable with the concept of this being a guitar piece. I’m well aware that the world is filled with amazing guitar players, and a lot of this project is the mental letting go of what other people can do with it and saying ‘This is what I can do with it.’”

For more information about the Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival, which continues through Sunday, including a full schedule of films and events, visit

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The times of london:

"A must see act of the festival season"

"One of the top five international touring acts of 2018."


"A fervently emotive kiss-off anthem that is both militant, righteous and experimental. Coogan’s introspective tunes comes from a place where the line between poignant songwriting and echoey indie rock collides completely."

The Ithaca Times:

"A local Legend."

Acoustic Magazine (UK):

"A Must-see act!"

The Daily Telegraph:

"A fine album with the affecting lyrics and Fiaschi’s soothing pedal steel guitar blending perfectly on a country-style song."


Underneath its sweet tones and stunning musicianship is a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo of today. Both musical and cultural; here is a classically-trained opera singer armed to the teeth with an electric guitar, a record’s worth of great songs and sharp lyrical insight into the 21st century."

Full Review:


"This third album from singer-songwriter Anna Coogan defies the notion that 'rock opera' is a concept of the past, as The Lonely Cry Of Time & Space seems to have that kind of overall feel – a whole concept, rich with melody, a story and a vast, lyrical landscape."  Rob Ross, Pop Dose: Full article:

The glasgow metro:

"There is little wonder many reviewers have been doing literary backflips over her work. It's an accomplished mix of glorious vocals and assured guitar work." Roger Crow


Though the operatically trained Coogan is more Klaus Nomi than Renée Fleming, at their respective cores both are concerned with the passage of time, and the spaces and people in between. Despite the trappings, they can be lonely adventures.Coogan's singular guitar (which can also be heard on Johnny Dowd's recordings) is often, like the Marschallin's soliloquy in Act 1, reflective yet wandering, restrained yet expansive, holding on yet letting go ... or, how far the journey from here to a star? Lyrically, Coogan shows no fear in exposing her vulnerable side, not necessarily a hopeless romantic, but a romantic nonetheless...The songs, some written with her drummer and singular bandmate Willie B, sometimes ride the waves of an extreme force, sometimes juxtaposing words and music, sometimes a parallel course, and never less than intriguing using that trained voice to great effect. For another take on this absolutely lovely record that, like Iris Murdoch once said, invigorates without consoling, see Lyndon Bolton's ND interview. -Amos Perrine, No Depression Full Review here:

No Depression

"Until someone devises a Prog/folk/Eurodisco/opera/goth metal/environmentalist dystopian chanteuse category, it fits as well here (No Depression) as it does anywhere. Her previous The Birth of the Stars, in collaboration with JD Foster, hinted at the range here, and her vocals in support of the notorious Johnny Dowd have shown a taste for adventure. But his music explores worlds far beyond, one where space oddities collide with spaghetti westerns, and we’re all interconnected and very much alone. Her sole collaborator throughout most of this ambitious song cycle is percussionist Willie B., also a frequent Dowd accomplice (they’re all based in Ithaca, NY, which makes you wonder what’s in the water there).  Her vocal range is operatic, a three-octave soprano that shows her classical training, but it’s the guitar squall she raises comes from a different world entirely.  Imagine Kate Bush fronting King Crimson.  Or think of the days when Jeff Buckley teamed with former Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas.  But instead of complementary artistic sensibilities, this is one artist, soaring to vocal peaks that her guitar surrounds with atmospheric soundscapes, as the percussion grounds the ungroundable."- Don McCleese, No Depression. Full Review here:


Combustible, diverse, sometimes dark and mystical, Coogan travels far, launching her trained three-octave soprano vocals on the opening section of If You Were The Sun high into the stratosphere. She stretches it to the limits at times, but nails it far more often...Ever experimenting, both instumentally and vocally, Coogan doesn’t just cross boundaries – she flattens them. She breaks free of all restraints, as does her partner on the album. Willie B, who is given freedom to go wherever the urge takes him. The tracks embrace subjects ranging from her concern about the planet and Trump’s successful presidential campaign to songs about personal heartbreak, and even include a guitar instrumental (Last Exit). Full review here:

Innocent words Magazine:

Anna Coogan’s latest release, ‘The Lonely Cry of Space and Time,’ is, if nothing else, a collection of songs dripping with unbridled artistry. Practically shouldering the whole mass herself, her voice, instrumentals, and lyrics drip with a passion that is almost palpable. The intimacy of her musical gift forges a bridge between the listener and musician because it is a raw exposure of talents that is impossible not to feel.

Full review:

The IThaca times:

Anna Coogan is a force. With an epic voice and a brilliant musical sensibility, the Ithaca by way of Seattle by way of Boston-based musician can command a stage like few others. Through her driving and spatial jaunts is where her real dimension squares. Her newest record, “The Lonely Cry of Space and Time”, is an extension of her deep offerings: vast and lush, with corners sharp and stunning. The record’s a two-person effort, featuring Willie B in drums and Moog bass, and when then two musicians play live – lights sparkle.

Here comes the flood:

She is a poet, a singer and an ace guitarist, alternating between Chris Isaac and Ry Cooder, rowdy garage rock, mainstream pop, vocal pyrotechnics, and intricate soundscapes. Full Review:


THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER with live original score performed by Anna Coogan and Tzar

Premises: A classic and timeless retelling of the Edgar Allen Poe story of loss, pain and more in the House of Usher.Hats off to Barbier and the IIFFF crew for having this gem of performance flood the Cinemapolis with timeless storytelling on a bed of music. The entire 62 minute performance showcased great musical talent and emotion as the trio of Anna Coogan and Tzar blew away the crowd with this original score and angelic vocals by Coogan.Hats off to the fans who came out and packed the theater to experience this timeless story of macabre love and the music that brought it to life."

Grassroots Festival:

Anna Coogan is a curious songwriter on a musical adventure. The sharp intelligence of her lyrics softens in the hands of her poetic delivery. She has scored silent films, toured with Johnny Dowd, put out six records of depth and continues to reach us through the folk, country, and rock and roll collage of her work. In Coogan’s duo performances with Willie B, a bigger sound emerges, flushed out by his percussive skill and rhythmic balance. The two area truly inspiring collaboration.” 


“Burn For You” works in grand operatic forms that captivates all available faculties of attention....exhibits the fire from within in an outward fashion that will beguile & mystify all with ears to hear.”

Reviews in many languages

El cocktail de sonidos y matices que Anna Coogan nos presenta solo tiene un calificativo: bonito-maravilloso-explosivo."

"One of the most unusual and interesting records on the market."

"A special record that moves off the beaten track."

"The effect of this voice, combined with the country rock sound, is unbelievable."

"Whoever wants to draw parallels to KATE BUSH, LENE LOVICH or even YOKO ONO, is certainly not entirely wrong."

"11 songs with explosive themes, with a 3-octave soprano and unusual arrangements. You have to get involved."