The most astonishing thing happened as I was researching for this week’s Trivia. While I’m usually trying to discover new areas in which Kates thrive, instead this week I found an odd void of Kates—the GRAMMYs!
And now that I’m thinking about it, why is that? Where are our great Kate musicians?
I would very much like to thank Pitchfork for introducing me to my new favorite band, Kate Boy. This Swedish quartet creates ethereal electronic pop that, as the music mega-site explains, is equal parts Peter Gabriel and (Kate-book.com muse) Kate Bush. Their track “Northern Lights” is the perfect ’80s update while “In Your Eyes” builds into a beautiful synth opera. The video for the later, above, is simply incredible — turning a bunch of ordinary fluorescent lightbulbs into something magical.
So … what’s up with their band name? Made up of four members—Hampus Nordgren Hemlin, Kate Akhurst, Markus Dextegen, and Oskar Sikow Engström—Kate Boy is their androgynous fictional fifth member.
But we of course are also interested in vocalist Kate Akhurst, who originally hails from Australia and arrived in Stockholm in 2011. She says that, the minute she met the rest of the band, their connection was obvious.
“Someone from [another recording session] was like, ‘You should meet these boys, I think you’re really going to like them,’” remembers Akhurst. “So we met up for a drink, and then decided to go straight down into the studio and start working that very first night. We had this instantaneous connection; we couldn’t even wait until the next day. I felt like I found my people, like, ‘I’ve been waiting all my life for you! I can’t wait another minute.’”
Presenting an amazing lineup, the 2013 festival sneak-peak listing includes performances by Angelique Kidjo, Greg Brown, Iris DeMent, Paul Thorn, The Brothers Comatose, and John Prine. But that isn’t all. The Kate Wolf Music Festival offers workshops, jam sessions, a kid’s play zone, on-site camping, sing-alongs, yoga and tai chi!
No doubt — the four stages of music on 150 acres of land are the main attraction, but the extras add an element of whimsy and community spirit that makes this event uniquely entertaining.
Amazon’s Hot 2012 Holiday Music Releases list is quite an eclectic mix of Christmas cheer. Appearing in the top 20 list twice, Welsh lyric mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins takes the title of Holiday Album Queen this year. Her albums This Christmas and My Christmas are collections of caroling classics.
My Christmas harkens to Midnight Mass with hauntingly beautiful interpretations of “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “Hallelujah” and “Ave Maria”.
This Christmas offers a great mix of secular and religious notes. While most of the album is performed in Katherine’s amazing full-bodied operatic voice, Jenkins gets a little slinky in a version of “Santa Baby” that would make Eartha Kitt proud. The album also features my personal favorite “This Christmas (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”.
Kate Earl has given the deets on her new song “Loyalty” to Rolling Stone for their Daily Download. Apparently, it was written by Miike Snow frontman, Andrew Wyatt. Says Earl, “He wrote the ‘Stand By Me’ of canyon rock and I’m a lucky girl to be the one to belt it. I was so moved during the demo vocal that we kept that take.”
Calling all “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans. How did Kate Nash spend her Halloween, you ask? Apparently, she headed to a viewing of the Buffy musical episode, “Once More With Feeling.” This incredible hour of musical television has become the new “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” with actors performing along with the big screen as the audience partakes in a slew of goofy traditions. In other words, it’s awesome.
Above, watch Nash as Buffy. And see pretty much the whole show over at Bleeding Cool.
Oh how I miss The White Stripes, who disbanded almost two years ago. (For those who missed it, ‘debanded’ was a pun. Get it?) In this video from 2007, Jack and Meg White commissioned friend Kate Moss to do what she does best—sprawl about in next to no clothing, looking waifish, sexy and completely disinterested in the world at the same time. I thought I’d show this Sofia Coppola-directed video this week in an ode to Moss.
Billy Murray was a singer who ruled the airwaves … in the 1910s. A vaudeville performer with impeccably parted hair, Murray had one of the biggest hits of his career in 1918 with “K-K-K-Katy,” a ditty about a soldier named Jimmy who couldn’t help but stutter in the presence of his beloved Katy. Feel free to sing along to the chorus:
“K-K-K-Katy, beautiful Katy, You’re the only g-g-g-girl that I adore; When the m-m-m-moon shines, Over the c-c-c-cowshed, I’ll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door.”
Ben Folds Five is close to releasing their first album in more than a decade. And band leader Ben Folds assures Rolling Stone that it is a “really good record.”
“We have something that you couldn’t imitate or repeat,” said Folds when asked about the impetus to reunite. “That’s what a great jazz band or an old-school rock band is all about – the sound being just in the chemistry and in your hands. It’s not about anything else, really. It’s just what happens. If we all played together on pots and pans on the floor it would have that same affect.”
The band is currently on tour with Kate Miller-Heidke, the Australian singer-songwriter in the awesome video above. And this has me wondering: could this be the Kate that Ben Folds sang about in the classic song “Kate.” Sample lyric: “And you can see the daisies in her footsteps / Dandelions, butterflies / I wanna be Kate.”
While it could be, it’s probably not. But hey, it’s great opportunity for a duet in my opinion.
Kate Bush does not perform live. In fact, the last time Bush toured, it was in 1979 and, even then, she played only a few assorted dates in Europe. So my mind is being blown by reports that Bush may come out of hiding to perform at Sunday’s Closing Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Granted a lot of names are being floated at the moment: Muse, George Michael, The Who, One Direction, Liam Gallagher, Madness, the Pet Shop Boys, and Paul McCartney. Also expected to show up: the reunited Spice Girls. The Closing Ceremony music director, David Arnold, has teased to Billboard that it will be, “the greatest afterparty in the world.”
But will Bush really take the opportunity to play live? I mean, it’s been 33 years since she’s done it.
Kate Nash has a new album coming later this year and, if her latest song is any indication, it’s going to veer off track from what we expect of the retro-pop Brit. “Under-Estimate the Girl,” released last month, sounds like Nash, only sludgier and as if she’d taken a vocal lesson from 1996-era Courtney Love. Nash spoke to The Guardian this weekend and admitted that she wasn’t shocked that many weren’t keen on the song. Heat magazine even ran a poll on their website that read, “Who wants the old Kate Nash back?”
Nash’s explanation for her new direction? She’s just growing up.
“My first album broke into the mainstream in 2007, and people have a memory of me basically being an 18-year-old. That’s who they think I am,” Nash explains to the paper. “And I guess, for some people, if you’re not in their face all the time, they forget you’re a human being and you’re probably gonna grow and evolve in six years. Because that’s what human beings do.”
Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah,” written in 1984 for his album “Various Positions,” is one of the most covered songs of our era. John Cale was the first to cover it in 1991, for a Cohen tribute album. From there Jeff Buckley picked up the torch, though he didn’t live to see his version, called “as near perfect as you can get” by John Legend years later, reach the charts. From there, Rufus Wainwright tried his hand at the track, recording it in Buckley’s honor. “Hallelujah” has also been covered by k.d. Lang and Imogen Heap. The song appeared in “Shrek” and was a mainstay of the teen drama “The O.C.,” which used assorted versions of the song to underscore pivotal scenes throughout its 2003 to 2007 run.
Here, singer and songwriter Kate Voegele takes a stab at the now-classic song. Pretty, eh?