KRISTIN KONTROL: X-COMMUNICATE

23 05 2016

 

kristin-kontrol-x-communicate-640x640

“Change is hard, but I need a change of heart.”

 

Music is a highly personable thing, and how it can make a person think and feel is solely on them. Music can be that friend at 3am when you cannot sleep- at the moment, that’s what I’ve been leaning towards. Sleep doesn’t hang around anymore, and I don’t blame it. So with that, it means I can write about a record that I have been SO excited to hear. I did want to wait until next Friday to do so, but I’m inpatient at times and gave in to the preview. From first seeing play drums in Grand Ole Party to hearing Catholicked for the first time to being awe of the beauty in Coming Down; Kristin has been nothing short of a musical heroine of mine. Her way with words to how she creates songs is mind blowing, and as Kristin Kontrol, she has gone and done it again.

The record starts with the easy grooves of Show Me. A song that requires a person wanting more from another and wanting to give said person more of you. With its slick Sade tones, this song is the perfect opener to this gorgeous record. It’s a song full of reassurance and beauty. The repeating of “There’s no need to change yourself” is just gorgeous. We all need to hear that from time to time.

Next up is White Street. This would sound perfect on the New Jack City soundtrack. It’s got a real 80s New York feel to it, and where some use the 80s an influence and clearly do it wrong- Kristin does it in a way that makes you feel like you are with her in the song. She makes you feel like you’re with her on White Street. The production on this is so so great and makes you feel like you’re in some 80s NYC cop film. This is one of those songs that fill you with an untouchable attitude, you slip into the song and it becomes you.

(Don’t) Wannabe and X-Communicate follow up. I think my feelings towards X-Communicate are pretty clear. I played it 3 times when I had my gig night the other week, I’m ALWAYS listening to it and the words are so brilliant. You can take whatever you want from it. Give up or don’t. But always ALWAYS stick to your decision. The line, “Do I still posses you? Forever and ever. Amen” is up there with the best I’ve heard this year. Sometimes you just want to drape that thought across someone. In either a curious or power-tripping kind of way. Both are fine, and I guess one will always lead to the other.

Many treat “Pop” as a dirty word, as if it isn’t “cool” to make Pop music. That kind of attitude causes minds to be small and record collections to be even smaller. I honestly have no idea what category to put X-Communicate in nor do I want to, it’s one of those records that takes pieces from all over and the end result is a body of sheer joy and genius. Prior to listening to Kristin’s record, I spent a few days listening to nothing but Dum Dum Girls to really understand what she was doing any why she had to do it. It’s pretty obvious why. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you feel trapped- as if your mind is restricted. I absolutely adore the bones of what she did with Dum Dum Girls, and when I need certain songs they will be there. But on X-Communicate you see/hear another side. This side sounds braver and bigger. X-Communicate is such a powerful record from start to finish, and if you’re going to take anything from it- let it be the fact that you don’t have to keep at something in order to be heard. Change. Change as much as you can, be scared, be a mess but whatever happens- take it.

There are songs on the record that will break your heart such as (Don’t) Wannabe and What Is Love. What Is Love will break you. Or maybe that’s just me being overly sensitive. If it doesn’t cut through you in anyway, then you’re tougher than me. And let’s be honest, it really doesn’t take much. The words are so beautiful, so honest and there’s no way I’ll ever be able to listen to this without bawling like a baby anytime soon. We slide gently into Face 2 Face which is such a prolific track, and easily one of the many stand out points on the record. Something I’ve always loved about Kristin’s voice is that is sounds nothing like anything else I’ve ever heard, but you always know it is her. She’s got this ability to take you to crazy places with her vocal range. The way she sings the hook on X-Communicate to the gentle tones on What Is Love just leave you in awe. I think because her voice is so gentle and so soothing, you truly connect with the lyrics more compared to if she had a gruff voice. The gentleness and the openness is what lures you in, and keeps you there.

Going Thru The Motions is probably one of my favourites, lyrically. I do try my best to distance myself from music when I write about it compared to when I listen to it. It’s pretty tough, especially being a fan so I just stopped trying and stayed being a fan. Going Thru The Motions is one of those songs that just resonate with you, regardless of how you feel. You can be completely tough but there are songs on this record that will break you down more than any person could.

The record comes to an end with the euphoric Smoke Rings which reminds me a little of Tamaryn.Every song on this record fits perfectly into each other. The order of songs is just gorgeous and Smoke Rings is the perfect song to end this record on. It leaves you pressing repeat on Smoke Rings one more time, then you go right back to the start. There are moments on this record where you will have a cry but there are moments where you’ll want to flail your limbs about in time to the music. Maybe you’ll do it all at once. This is a record to fall out and in love to. It’ll heal you, even if you thought you didn’t need it.

What I love about X-Communicate is how much heart, soul and passion is in it. You can easily sense how much work and devotion has gone into this record, but at the same time Kristin just makes it seem so easy. Her words are pure poetry for the soul, and people with this kind of talent aren’t everywhere. I do still stand by she’s my generation’s Patti Smith. Her way with words is careful but not precious. Honest but not brutal.

If you’re looking for a record that’s going to take you somewhere sacred and make you feel things you didn’t know you could, then you know what you need to do this Friday (27th May.) Even in my non-biased opinion, this is truly one of the best records of the year. It’s in my top 2. My number 1? Wait for September/October and I’ll tell you.

X-Communicate will be released via Sub Pop.





KRISTIN KONTROL-(Don’t) Wannabe.

5 05 2016

kristin-kontrol-5-640x427

 

 

Everyone needs that one song they play when they just need a few minutes to themselves, to just shut everything off for a little while. I’ve got a bunch of songs that I do this to, and it’s never ending. Does that say something about me? Probably. Who cares. Anyway. In a few weeks Kristin is releasing her debut record as Kristin Kontrol. You’ve heard X-Communicate and Show Me, right? If you haven’t, go listen to them. Again. And again. Even if you have, just listen to them. X-Communicate has this insane feel to it that would make ANYBODY move. You can unleash some serious dance moves to it, don’t hold back. Same with Show Me.

(Don’t) Wannabe has this perfect moment of bliss almost immediately in the song, which carries on throughout. It just feels like a huge euphoric moment and I think that’s what makes it’s one of best songs I’ve heard all year. I’ve not heard the record yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best and I’m not being biased (I could be, but it’s alright.) X-Communicate is easily my favourite song of the year, but there is something about (Don’t) Wannabe that shows exactly why I love Kristin as a songwriter, not just as singer/musician. I fully stand by my statement from years ago when I said she’s the Patti Smith of my generation. What do I mean by that? Well, if you read her lyrics, they fall as gentle poetry that just soothes the soul and makes everything alright- exactly like Patti. Her newest single is a body of vulnerability that anyone can relate to. It is so easy to relate to her music irrespective of how she makes it, she’s just got this rare way with words. It doesn’t come around too often but when it does, you really connect with it. Kristin Kontrol sounds like the name of a superhero, and with songs like this- it’s fair to assume she probably is.

I love (Don’t) Wannabe because it’s got the strength of a power ballad mixed with the sadness of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye by Soft Cell. It is just a gorgeous song and the courage and honesty in the lyrics and in Kristin’s voice just makes it nothing short of powerful yet heartbreaking. Let it break your heart, gently. It’s alright. The truthfulness in this song will seep into you, and once it gets there nothing else will feel, or sound the same.





KRISTIN KONTROL- X-Communicate

3 03 2016
kristin-kontrol-x-communicate-640x640

Photo by Jimmy Fontaine

 

This week a band I love and a singer I love unleashed some new music. The Kills and Kate Jackson. If bad things come in threes, then maybe good things do too. The third is Kristin Kontrol. I’ll get it out the way-Kristin is Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls. Still the same person, don’t let rip pointless comparisons or longing for something new from Dum Dum Girls. Go with this, it’s brilliant. Trust me.

There have been times where bands or singers have gone in a different direction from what we know, and sometimes it ends up being terrible. Of course this is all down to person taste. When I read that Kristin was doing this, no part of me doubted how great it was going to be. I felt like all DDG records told something important at the time they were released, and although a new DDG record would be great- why not go some place different? I don’t like it when a band makes the same record over and over. I don’t like rigid routines or order. It’s bullshit. This is why Kristin has totally blown our minds with lead single, X-Communicate. I’ve already read the poorly researched reviews on it. It seems like it has come from “music journalists” who can’t get their heads around something different. Free your mind, chump!

X-Communicate makes me feel like I am in several places at once. I could be in a dodgy Berlin nightclub. I could be in some basement bar in New York. I could be in 2016. I could be in 1986 (the year I was born.) I could be anywhere. This is part futuristic, part something from years ago that wasn’t exposed as much as it could be. I feel like if Depeche Mode had a female vocalist circa Enjoy The Silence era- this is what they may have sounded like. As you listen to X-Communicate you become instantly familiar with Kristin’s delicate voice and something I’ve always adored about her voice is the way her pronunciation is so clear. The clarity is what makes you pay close attention to the lyrics. I’ve been vocal about my love for her way with words, and X-Communicate has a gorgeous depth to the lyrics. What I love about 90s dance music was how upbeat the music was yet the lyrics were heartbreaking. I’m getting that same kind of feel from this song, and it’s just so so good. If I was a DJ I’d be playing this at the start and end of the night. And about 50 times in between.

Going by this song, I think it is evident that the record will not sound like this song constantly. There are so many standout moments in this song- from the production to the end solo of the song. All these elements and moreĀ  just make it into such a wonderful song. The lyrics are so so good. Some of them take me back a few times and certain people cross over in my mind. These fleeting moments are just fine, but the line “I am so tired of this life” gets me right in the gut. I don’t care who you are, you’ve been able to relate to that line more times than you wish. The sadness of that line mixed with the sound of the song goes back to my nod to 90s dance above.

I have no idea how the record is going to sound but what I do know is that it will be great. There’s no denying just how talented Kristin is. I wish I had the words to fully describe this song and how brilliant it is, but I’ve had it on repeat since I got home from work over and hour and a half ago. As someone with a shit attention span- I think that sums up how bloody great this song is. I remember the day I first heard Dum Dum Girls and that feeling has hit me again as I listen to X-Communicate. When you know, you truly know.

The record, X-Communicate will be released on 27th May via Sub Pop. You can pre-order a copy here: https://megamart.subpop.com/releases/kristin_kontrol/x_communicate