Chances are good that if you have asked me about Indianapolis’ music scene over the last couple of years the name Kristin Newborn likely came up during our conversation. We covered the sudden break-up of her previous project Slothpop early last year. Newborn quickly put together a two-piece band that featured Todd Heaton of Street Spirits on drums. I was on hand when the band, performing under the moniker KO, made its live debut at LUNA Music during Record Store Day last year. The performance was rough with a significant amount of feedback from the two microphones that Newborn employed for her various vocal loops.
Since then, I’ve probably seen KO perform about once a month. The marked improvement between each performance has been nothing short of astonishing. I remember standing at White Rabbit Cabaret last fall. Some of Newborn’s friends were in town for a wedding, and the singer seemed to be feeding off of the excitement of her out-of-town guests. The hairs on the back of my neck stood stiff as she ran through a short set that closed with a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” I kept punching my friend in the shoulder, sporting this shit-eating grin and whispering, “Can you believe how fucking good this is – already?!”
Fresh off her recent performance with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Newborn graced the cover of NUVO last week for an in-depth story on the KO debut, due out sometime this summer. Last week, the band released the album’s first single “Golden Gal.” It’s a powerful track that showcases the intricate vocal arrangements that Newborn has perfected since she launched this project a year ago. Newborn is also slated as the next performer on MFT’s EP in a Weekend series. It’s nice to see her receiving the type of local recognition deserves, but I will be shocked if KO’s reach doesn’t extend well beyond Indianapolis by the end of 2013.
Written by Rob Peoni