Japanese four-piece CHAI may worship at the altar of kawaii – their homeland’s culture of cute– but they’re not about to be pushed around by the idle bosses and the ignorant patriarchy. The ultra-concise pop of their debut LP PINK is about to be overhauled on their new album. CHAI are ready to light the fuse; CHAI are PUNK.

“’PUNK’ for us, of course, is not the genre of music,” say the band. “‘PUNK’ to us is to overturn the worn-out values associated with ‘kawaii’ or ‘cute’ created up to this point. ‘PUNK’ is a word that expresses a strong sense of self. To be yourself more, to become the person you truly want to be, to believe in yourself in every instance!”

First single ‘Fashionista’ is a rebellious demand for self-acceptance in the face of society’s pressures: “Even if you don’t dress or do your makeup like how society expects you too, you’re still a “Fashionista” by expressing yourself how you want to. You decide what you want to wear, how you want to look, what you don’t want to wear, and that is what makes you a Fashionista!”

At the core of their music is the concept of “Neo-Kawaii.” They outlined to concept in several interviews in 2018. In Pitchfork’s Rising interview, it’s described as “a move towards the embrace and celebration of human imperfection. ‘Neo-Kawaii’ is properly summarized on the single ‘N.E.O.’ from Pink, which directly comments on oppressive beauty standards, offering a list of supposed imperfections that translate to ‘Small eyes/Flat nose/No shape/Fat legs!’ Chai seek to reclaim them as perfect.”

Late last year, the band also shared the delightfully insane video for “GREAT JOB,” another song off the forthcoming album, where CHAI compare house work to ridding yourself from all negativity. “Some people look at house work as a negative duty but it’s actually a positive duty that represents a refreshed, new you.” Yuuki picks up on this: “Of course we want to continue show our style of positivity-meets-pop but in life there’s definitely times of sadness, times of frustration and even irritating moments that with ‘PUNK’, we want everyone to know can be used as energy to fuel the positivity from the negativity”.

Their inner strength comes out in the music. If PINK was a plastic, hyper-bright introduction, then PUNK is a deeper, more impactful graduation. It’s the movement from vivid orange to radiating red. Drummer Yuna adds:“Compared with our first album, PUNK represents a more concentrated version of our individualities.”

Yuuki crafted the irrepressible album sleeve, with a laughing girl bursting through a shell. The message, they say, is clear: “Hello, New Me!”

Born Caroline Kingsbury of Melbourne, FL, the artist Kingsbury grew up in a religious home and had little access to secular music until her teen years when its discovery led her to run headfirst toward a life in music. Still finding her voice, Caroline auditioned for American Idol at 15 but was rejected. At 18, she moved to Nashville for college, but dropped out after intense fits of depression. She began writing and performing as a folk artist and toured as a background singer for a band, watching the band break up as they toured the East Coast.

These fits and starts soon led her out west to Los Angeles, driven by a strong desire to perform and helping illuminate a very different creative vision for her future. Starting in 2016, Caroline began collaborating and releasing several singles as Kingsbury which quickly connected to an audience on Spotify and across the internet. "I was still finding out what I wanted to do when I released these songs. They were the first songs I'd made since high school and I was very lost and confused about everything in my life, especially music. I had no technical training or equipment but I opened up GarageBand again and it started turning into songs. I started creating my new world from the ground up and it felt like a mountain moved in me."

Now, at only 23 years old, Kingsbury has spent the last year producing an album's worth of songs alongside Nick Stumpf (French Kicks, Caveman, NVDES), creating an unbelievable body of brilliantly strange, forward thinking pop music ready for release in the coming year. Dreamy and ecstatic, it is both truly comforting and undeniably alive. The songs are beautifully desperate and unlike anything else at the moment. A born performer, 2019 is the year Kingsbury finally begins to step out into the world. With eclectic and one of a kind pop music that ranges from Charlie XCX to Lorde to the XX to Beach House to Suicide and yet, is entirely her own. Kingsbury's music speaks from the voice of someone who has struggled long and hard for the chance to express herself fully and, now, finally can.

Adv Tix $16.00 / DOS Tix $18.00


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