KATE DAVIS – ” Strange Boy “

Posted: November 27, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Kate Davis: Trophy: Exclusive Signed Vinyl

In collaboration with the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing open conversations around mental health and well-being, Davis will release “Strange Boy”, a unique rendering that is named after the eighth song on Johnston’s original masterpiece. Johnston, who died on September 11th, 2019 at the age of 58, has long been a beacon to those making lo-fi bedroom pop. The crinkled quality he achieved by recording to tape made him a giant of the genre. His music, celebrated for its childlike tenderness and for the way he acutely described his own struggles with bipolar disorder, is part of his enduring legacy.

Having co-written Sharon Van Etten’s 2019 hit ‘Seventeen’, Kate Davis’s background as jazz darling (invited to join the likes of Herbie Hancock, Ben Folds, Alison Krauss and Jeff Goldblum) slowly started to fade. Her debut album is cathartic indie rock in the vein of Beach House, Elliot Smith and TV on the Radio.

Kate Davis picked up a violin at age five, a bass at age thirteen. She entered the Portland Youth Philharmonic before puberty, the Grammy Jazz Ensemble before adolescence. By the time she graduated high school, Kate won the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Award and a full ride to the Manhattan School of Music. By the time she graduated college, ASCAP’s Robert Allen Award and slots at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. As a young adult, the virtuoso claimed enthusiastic endorsements from NPR, MTV, PBS and BBC as well as coveted invitations to the stage from Herbie Hancock, Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, Jeff Goldblum and the like. Most recently, sheco-wrote Sharon Van Etten’s hit single ‘Seventeen’ and contributed to the soundtrack for blockbuster Five Feet Apart. Yet, Kate considers her debut indie rock album her hardest-earned accolade to date. Kate grew up as a jazz darling, but she grew into something significantly more dynamic. Days spent practicing and performing became nights spent writing—cathartic indie rock—music simultaneously informed by and rebutting of her training. Forbidden chord progressions emerged like diary entries, documents of an internal reaction to routine.

As a homage to that original song — which begins with a three-minute recording of a man telling a story about meeting Johnston for the first time — Davis placed recordings of her own friends sharing memories that they have of Johnston as interludes between each of the nine songs on her new album. Most of the voices have been sped up to give the impression of someone fast-forwarding through a cassette tape. It’s a neat touch that adds both color and humour to the work.

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Time intended for technique slipped into secret listening sessions of Beach House, Elliot Smith and TV on the Radio. In the same bright, arresting croon that ignited her youthful stardom, Davis created confessionals. Now 28 and audibly matured, Kate is prepared to properly share the artefacts from her late night craft, a full length reaction to ritual required of perfection, an outburst from the pedestal. Throughout twelve tumultuous tracks, she poetically reflects upon the intricacies of what it is to live, ruminating on topics too close to her heart – identity, self-worth, loss.

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