Filed under: Releases of the Week, Uncategorized | Tags: accoustic, experimental, folk, jazz, Kaki King, Katherine King, pop
PREVIEW: Visit Kaki King’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts
I specifically remember my first encounter with Kaki King. She was a young female guitarist and I was an impressionable young boy. Kaki King’s guitar techniques were out of this world, unlike anything I’d heard at that point. The music – exciting, new, and technically impressive – made me melt like butter on warm bread. Blending beautiful folk acoustic guitar passages, jazz harmonies, and distinct percussive sounds from the body of her acoustic guitar, she created her own style and sound. Sadly, I am no longer as aroused by her music.
It all started back when she began mixing in tracks of electric guitar and singing, creeping in new foreign sounds that stray from her original sound palette. I am by no means against progression and change but in this case I am only hearing musical regression with her change in style. Kaki King is no longer creating something new but rather bringing back what seems to be old and predictable. The tracks are structured according to pop formulas, covered with fuzz, and backed by simplistic drumming and accompaniment. It is clear that Katharine King is sacrificing her once celebrated instrumentally virtuosic style for more lyric-driven music.
King’s voice is smooth and angelic yet in a way that compromises her music’s expressiveness. Her band sounds more and more like other competent but unspectacular indie pop bands Popular music and especially new indie music lacks original musicians, so to see such talent used for mere formulaic pop seems almost criminal. “Sloan Shore,” one of the only tunes reminiscent of her old style, leaves the listener hungry for more of the same bold sonic innovation. However, her application of old in new styles works wonderfully in slower tunes such as “The Hoopers of Hudspurth,” “Hallucinations From My Poisonous German Streets,” and “Spit it Back in Your Mouth.” Such instances show how her beautifully layered vocal lines work well with her new rhythm section. In the second half of the album all her old and new styles of writing are employed and combined successfully.
Junior is half wonderful and half mediocre. While it’s clear King is still an incredibly talented player and arranger, she has not yet successfully balanced her method of writing. She jumps from post-rock, to punk pop, to folk, mashing together her original techniques with borrowed music from other similar sounding indie pop bands. Artists should be able to create freely and experiment with new styles and I believe Kaki King is just doing what she wants to do with her music, which is singing more and playing less. I just wish she were as unique of a songwriter and singer as she is a musician and guitarist.
Filed under: Interviews, Scene Around Town, Words of the Week | Tags: 60's, Allman Brothers, Beatles, Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers, Grateful Dead, jazz, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, John Scofield, Miles Davis, Phish, Wes Montgomery
20 Watts: Tim, this one is for you. Who are your main jazz influences?
Tim: Miles Davis is probably up there. As far as jazz guitar players go, John McLaughlin, John Scofield. For more traditional jazz I like Wes Montgomery definitely. Has he been a huge influence? Probably not, but I respect his music. Miles has definitely affected me musically. Jeff Beck has influenced me for fusion, but he’s more of a rock player. He’s not a jazz guitar player per se.
20W: You guys are pretty technical musicians. You have a lot of fast runs in your music. What you all do or what did you do originally to work on your technique? Any exercises that you found helpful to get on the level that you guys are on now?
Tim: Faster! Fasterrr!
Jordan: Just gigging all the time. I mean fifteen years ago I started studying a little jazz, playing some fake book stuff. But just playing with all the different bands made me a better player. (more…)
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, At War with the Mystics, Black Moth Super Rainbow, bonerama, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, damian kulash, Dave Fridmann, Funk, jazz, MGMT, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, Oh No, OK GO, Releases of the Week, Rock Band, Sparklehorse, The Flaming Lips, TV on the Radio, Weezer
PREVIEW: VISIT OK Go’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
Of the Blue Colour of the Sky succeeds for not just its consistency as an album, but for how OK Go have pulled away from the generic power pop of their self-titled debut and sophomore effort Oh No in favor of a more dance-y, inscrutably diverse sound. The band derided for aping ’00s Weezer have crafted a diverse, synth- and hook-laden third effort — shockingly easygoing, and more fascinating than any other mainstream release so far this year. (more…)