For Miles Kurosky, former leader of indie rock heroes Beulah, the nearly six years since the demise of the San Francisco-based band have been the best and worst of times. The best: Miles married the woman he met during the final Beulah tour, wrote the most personal and sophisticated music of his career, and recorded his first-ever solo album, The Desert of Shallow Effects, to be released March 9 by Majordomo Records, an imprint of Shout! Factory. The not-so-good: Along the way Miles suffered from severe shoulder problems that made playing the guitar—and even lifting his arm—impossible and required two reconstructive surgeries. Then, just as he was recuperating, that horror was followed by kidney troubles that also required hospital time.

“When you’re having a surgery every few months for a couple years, you don’t do anything, really,” says Miles, explaining the lengthy break between Beulah’s final release and his first solo. “You just kind of hang around. Your main thing is not being in pain.”

Painful as the hiatus may have been for the artist, fans of Kurosky’s previous work with Beulah finally have something to celebrate. Although it took all of those years for Kurosky to regain his physical strength, he slowly but willfully managed to put together The Desert of Shallow Effects. In some ways the album is a continuation from where Kurosky left off in his career, but at the same time it heralds a giant leap into the new and untried.