King Krule

King Krule

With his debut single “Out Getting Ribs/ Has This Hit”, King Krule (formerly known as Zoo Kid, but still the musical alias of 17 year old Archy Marshall) announced himself as the startling voice of a new generation; his unexpectedly deep and mournful baritone tracing fissures of disappointment and disorientation to devastating effect. Comprised only of his stark vocals, guitar and searing lines such as “and I’m the only one believing/ there’s nothing to believe in”, it was a bleak but brilliant treatise on the inchoate frustration and fury of youth, rubbed raw and laid bare.

Now comes his second release, and with it, an expansion of vision, both musically and thematically. The connective tissue between these 5 tracks is still Marshall’s lyrics of searing clarity, but over the span of the self-titled EP, there is an arresting sonic progression, as his songs open up to become a loose knit meditation on regret and discontent, loss of faith and renewal of hope, and optimism in the face of desperation. Opening track “Bleak Bake”, for instance, opens with twinkling keyboards and Marshall clearing his throat, before sampled strings swoon in and he sighs, “everything hits you in the end”. “The Noose of Jah City” drives the knife in deeper, with Marshall singing of being “suffocated in concrete” over a lushly upholstered backdrop of chiming guitars and beats, while in the gorgeous “Portrait in Black and Blue” he concludes, ruefully, that “time never gave me a chance…trapped in a lizard state/ looking for an escape”. But even though the subject matter may at times be harrowing, the songs themselves are never anything less than exquisitely crafted, possessed of an almost spectral beauty, as epitomised in the shimmering instrumental “Intro”. Taken as a whole, the “King Krule” EP is the sound of a young man growing up and attempting to grapple with the realities of the world he inhabits, and a fascinating, brutal journey it is too.

“A deep, rich sound…”teenager” need not be a pejorative. After all, so was Rimbaud” – New York Times

“Oddly intimate and irrevocably bleak…(King Krule) makes deceptively simple, deeply personal/political art that finds joy – perhaps its only joy – in accident and chaos” – Pitchfork, Best New Music

“Heartache cloaked in cavernous reverb and a sneer…preparation for beckoning world domination” – NME

Holy Sh*t!

Though lacking in any religious significance, Holy Shit have been divine inspiration for a number of other successful bands: Ariel Pink, Girls and John Maus have all collaborated at some point with founding member Matt Fishbeck. First record, Stranded at Two Habours, made together with Ariel Pink in 2006, is something of a lost classic. Its nostalgic muddied vocals and lofi sound effects are something that has come to define Ariel Pink's later work, while Fishbeck's crooning lullaby pop songs remains distinctly his own.

Since then Fishbeck has continued recording records, in the mean time keeping an evening job as a gondolier on Lake Merritt in Oakland. Perhaps inspired by the success of his friends, Fishbeck has recruited new band members and lined up a number of new releases earlier this year. Although many Holy Shit former band members have since gone on to wider acclaim, Fishbeck seemed destined to linger as cult concern with a devoted internet following. Now that he has returned to touring and working on a record as a band, Fishbeck may hopefully soon be less in the shadow of his previous band members.

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