When Chicago’s acclaimed and beloved Smith Westerns disbanded in 2014, frontman Cullen Omori was in a weird place. At the ripe old age of twenty-two, his career was over—until he opted to view the band as the beginning of his musical output, not the entirety of it. A Sub Pop solo debut is a solid Act II, and New Misery is almost entirely Cullen Omori: he’s largely responsible for its composition and production. Unlike the Smith Westerns’ (relatively) upbeat catalog, New Misery is a quietly apocalyptic album. It’s dreamy, wavy uncertainty at its most beautiful. When Omori sings “I’m just trying to make it turn out right” in “Synthetic Romance,” there’s no mistaking his sincerity. The title track closes out the album, which seems fitting; in Omori’s words, “I could call it new misery.” It’s still a little strange, but it’s something new. Let’s see where it goes.