Rams Head presents… Kristeen Young

Kristeen Young

"She belongs to no other time or fad. She is Maria Callas, if not for the keyboard that she plays like a set of drums. A midwinter heart, her Julys are darker than her Decembers. Even her makeup is a mystery. I am quite possibly in…what’s that thing called? ...yes, love. Whenever she speaks, I do not want to miss a single word. My life would have been emptier for not knowing her." -- Morrissey

New singing “sensations” are trotted ceaselessly across the stages of American Idol and America’s Got Talent week in and week out, on their way to fleeting fame or certain oblivion. But Kristeen Young, who hails from the very American city of St. Louis, often appears to have emerged instead from the pages of mythology—with not only a voice that could easily seduce the the Gods (Morrissey and David Bowie being two of those Gods), but also an overarching incomparability that seems to obliterate time itself.

Since she dazzled the world by debuting the infamous “Bubble Dress” on Letterman in 2007 (she still makes all of her own inimitable outfits), she has been the subject of fascination and puzzlement. But she had already charmed the likes of Bowie and Placebo’s Brian Molko into dueting with her on songs she specifically penned for each of them; and she turned one Steven Patrick Morrissey into her most devoted fan. He has responded by taking her out on a series of tours; she has responded by aweing crowds at such storied venues as The Hollywood Bowl, the Sydney Opera House and Radio City Music Hall.

Her newest album, ‘The Knife Shift,’ finds her collaborating with another very famous new fan, the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. Stunned by a Kristeen track he heard on a mix tape, he enthusiastically offered his drumming skills. His input is instantly recognizable in what might be her most forceful collection of songs to date. “Pearl of a Girl”, for instance, finds her attacking her piano as if her very life depended on it, it's that utterly savage “electro-punk-noise rock” track she’s always meant to record.

Elsewhere, “The Pictures of Sasha Grey” uses jittery rhythms and eerie synths as a backdrop to meditations on the infamous porn star. Fans of Morrissey will thrill to the relentless, The guitar-fueled gallop of “I'll Show You" keenly recalls Mission of Burma. She also manages to channel Siouxsie Sioux on the defiantly titled, “Everything Is Mine Because I Am Poor” and, with “Rough Up The Groove”, to once again defy expectations with an impossibly infectious slice of synth-driven neo-rockabilly. (Fittingly, Morrissey sideman Boz Boorer handles the axe duties.)

Emotions run hot and hard on ‘The Knife Shift,’ and it’s no wonder. “Much of this album is about my experiences growing up in St. Louis”, she reveals, “which is now kind of decrepit. The lost potential is just heart-crushing.”

It is co-produced by Young and famed Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti. Even such a tall legend as he understood clearly that the proceedings would be decisively lorded over by her indomitable individuality and fierce sense of musical self-possession.

He relates, “I found myself playing guitar and bass for her specific ideas and tones; and at the mixing stage I was corrected many times about the subtle balances she demanded of her intricate keyboard arrangements. As many times as I had coached her performances, she then balanced the game by coaching mine.”

'The Knife Shift' is Kristeen Young’s most visceral, explosive, and incisively personal album to date.

Wet Brain

Wet Brain is an all female punk band from Baltimore, Maryland.

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