A Joyful Knockout
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on defunct, Central Indiana arts website Sky Blue Window on September 5, 2014. Some content, style and formatting may differ from the original version.
Despite her young age, Kristin Newborn has made a significant amount of noise in Naptown in the past several years. A classically trained vocalist who has worked with local heavyweights at Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Newborn first made a splash in Indy’s underground music scene as front woman of the short-lived but much-celebrated Slothpop. In the years since that band’s breakup, Newborn has steadily honed a sound, under the pseudonym KO, based upon intricate vocal loops and straightforward garage rock riffs alongside her minimalist drummer Todd Heaton of Street Spirits.
Today, Joyful Noise Recordings announced it will release KO’s four-song, self-titled EP on Sept. 23. “I just think she’s a great musical presence, and she had these great songs,” says JNR owner and curator Karl Hofstetter. “Most of the time we don’t really f–k around with bands before they have a full-length, but this is kind of an exception just because they’re not really in a place to finish a full-length right now.”
This week, Newborn moved to Chicago following an appearance at WARMfest, where she dedicated her masterful rendition of Ben E. King’s Stand By Me to her hometown crowd as a farewell of sorts. Fortunately for Hoosiers, Newborn hasn’t moved to the moon. She will return to Indy to play an album release show at Radio Radio on Sept. 20 (tickets).
“For me, it was more about solidifying them, so KO doesn’t just become another band that was never properly released,” Hofstetter says. “Kristin will be huge someday, she’s just got that presence. So it was more about supporting her. We’re happy to be lax about this. We’re not making them tour and record a full-length or anything like that. It’s just four songs. We’ll see where it goes.”
Listen to lead single “B-tches Online” and scope the full track listing for the KO EP below. Pre-order your copy of the limited-edition 7″ vinyl via Joyful Noise Recordings.
1. Four Drinks In
2. B-tches Online
3. White Lie
Written by Rob Peoni
Indy Film Fest Rock+Reel Preview: 20,000 Days on Earth
The leadoff track to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ 2013 LP Push The Sky Away was “We No Who U R.” The misplaced negative in the song’s title serves as more than clever wordplay. It speaks to the lack of certainty any one person can assume in truly knowing another. As such, it would have served as an appropriate title for Cave’s new, pseudo rock documentary 20,000 Days On Earth, which will play as the final installment of Indy Film Fest’s Rock + Reel series on Nov. 13 at White Rabbit Cabaret.
20,000 Days On Earth turns the typical rock doc format on its head. The film follows Cave on a fictional journey through his 20,000th day. Directors, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, cowrote a script with Cave, which incorporates both fact and fiction. Cave plays himself, but it should be viewed as a performance more than a documentary in the traditional sense. The cinematography benefits from the decision to work within a script and storyboard. Its beauty puts the typical handheld point of view that we’ve come to expect from rock docs to shame.
In some ways, 20,000 Days On Earth is simply the latest chapter in the stage persona that Cave has created since launching his music career in the mid-1980s. It takes a special kind of narcissist to fill the role of lead singer. The film acknowledges Cave’s vanity, but it points to that same trait as part of what makes him such an enigmatic and successful front man.
As an appetizer to the film, the audience will be treated to a set from Indy post-punks, The Icks. It’s the first full band Musical Family Tree‘s Jon Rogers (who has curated the musical accompaniment to Rock + Reel) has booked for the series. The band should prove an ideal pairing to Cave’s dark, brooding musical. Listen to The Icks’ debut LP Little Rotten below. To purchase tickets to the show, visit Eventbrite online.
Written by Rob Peoni
Fresh Track: Cicada Shells “All Bones Do Remain”
I’d be the first to admit that I’ve been largely indifferent to the local hip hop scene here in Indianapolis, but considering Thought On Tracks is a blog largely dedicated to Indiana bands and labels, writing about local acts is something I’d like to do more of. Cicada Shells is a group I’ve been paying attention to largely because of Defame, the production half of the group. His evolving brand of spacey glitch-hop is the type of forward thinking production I love and his beat for “All Bones Do Remain” is one of his best yet. I was less familiar with Lorax, the MC half of Cicada Shells, but his strong, visual performance here ensures I’ll be checking for him from here on out as well. If the group’s upcoming album is on the level of this single, it has the potential to be one of best hip hop albums of the year in a year stacked with great releases. Stream or download the single (and the remix) below and get hip to one of the best reasons to pay attention to the Indy hip hop scene.
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Written by John Bugbee