Those familiar with Chris King’s post-punk band Cold Showers will appreciate his solo project Kai Tak and the single “Tung Chung.” The track features the vocals of Chelsey Holland aka Chelsey Boy whose vivid style is reminiscent of Toni Halliday of Curve, equal parts soulful and emotionally direct. King’s ethereal guitar has an urgency in its emotional swirl, the electronic drums accent the beat well rather than drive the song and the wash of synths and samples brings a strong sense of place like you’re hearing the song steeped in thoughts of regret—of bridges burned in life, of a relationship on the rocks due to being driven too much by ego and unchecked emotions and letting oneself hit a low place in the psyche. But inside that there is a sense of a willingness to be patient and to act with integrity rather than guided by the foolish impulsiveness of the past. The music King has been putting out under the moniker of Kai Tak is not so far removed from that of Cold Showers but more infused with synth pop and shoegaze sensibilities and fans of Tamaryn and the more downtempo end of Blushing will appreciate what King has to offer here. Listen to “Tung Chung” on Spotify and follow Kai Tak at the links below.
Blushing’s signature pairing of chiming guitar leads and swirling atmospheric guitars washing over and driven by strong rhythms is on full display on the single “The Fires.” The vocals start introspective and melancholy but like the rest of the song ramp up in energy until the warping, hazy, blissed out denouement. For a song seemingly about romantic ambivalence, emotional turmoil and the projections people put on each other and insist have to be the reality or the appeal is broken “The Fires” follows an emotional arc that begins in a tone of regret but ends in one of triumph and liberation from a person and a situation that benefited one person at the expense of the other’s sense of well being. This sets it apart from most songs about love and heartbreak by delving into a much more original and nuanced take on what sounds like a dramatic break-up and lets it sound like something cathartic without declaring one person the villain and the other victim. The raw, grittily ethereal soundscape and expansive dynamic of the song should have an immediate appeal to fans of bands like Beach Fossils, Slowdive and Tamaryn. Watch the video for “The Fires” on YouTube, connect with Blushing at the links below and look for the group’s new full-length Possessions out February 18, 2022 on Kanine Records.
Molina recently released the Vanilla Shell EP and the live version of the single “Venus” as captured in the video on YouTube showcases the band in a room draped in white, enshrouded in a light fog as Molina seems to move about this fantastical world in miniature down to the drummer set up in front of a clam shell backdrop as perhaps a nod to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” The fabrics flowing in the wind fits a song in which all the elements seem to be operating to uplift the ethereal melody, Molina’s vocals reminiscent of a cross between Nico and Miki Berenyi of Lush. The guitar is as textural as it is tonal, serving as the connective tissue of the body of the song grounded in bass and percussion and the grand sweep of bright, hazy harmonics. Fans of Tamaryn and the aforementioned Lush or any of that entrancing 4AD dream pop will find a good deal to like with this presentation of the song and Molina’s output generally. Watch the video on YouTube below and follow Molina at the links provided.