A longitudinal study of Kaki King

Kaki King

Several years ago, Kaki King used Everybody Loves You to unveil an idiosyncratic and highly unorthodox guitar technique based in part on two-hand fretboard tapping. That record came out right around the time I started focusing on two-hand tapping in my own music, which is probably why I latched on so quickly, but it certainly didn’t hurt that the tunes were gorgeous in addition to being difficult.

Her next couple releases were pretty frustrating for me, though, because she seemed to be deliberately moving away from the techniques I’d initially found so interesting. I halfheartedly tried to dance around all that when I interviewed her in 2006, but she shared some concerns about becoming one-dimensional which definitely informed my review of last year’s Dreaming Of Revenge, in which I complained that she was apparently more concerned with making her records different than with making them good.

One of her curveballs just hit the strike zone, though. Her new Mexican Teenagers EP, which I just reviewed for PopMatters, is full of excellent and thoroughly assertive heavy rock, all electric guitar and drums and vicious attack formations that I’d never have expected her to even attempt, let alone succeed with. Now I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Kaki King album review

Kaki King - Dreaming Of Revenge

PopMatters has my review of Kaki King‘s newest album.

In trying so desperately to diversify her artistic portfolio, King may be growing up too quickly, like a pre-teen wearing shorts with “JUICY” printed across the ass. Along the way, she might end up robbing her undiscovered audiences of the chance to watch her evolve—and worse yet, robbing herself of the chance to do it a little more naturally. Every record thus far has contained a handful of songs demonstrating her continued development as a composer, and more often than not, they’re the ones where she just cuts loose like she did five years ago, not those in which she makes a deliberate grab for some contrived new musical hat. More