I have heard Rachel Kate's name through word of mouth over the past few months, but never had the chance to actually listen to any of her music. That is until she showed up to my apartment with Antione Dukes and Filthy Still to record for Outlaw Radio Chicago.
She performed first and took the studio audience by surprise with the first note of her first song "Lost". Her voice is captivating and her lyrics are honest and raw. On top of that, she is also a fine guitar player. The apartment was completely silent for her entire performance. Putting a label on her unique style of music is near impossible, so I will not even try.
On her new album "With Love and Hate", to be released on September 1st, Rachel puts together a collection of 10 beautifully and haunting tracks all written by her, except one cover of her father's songs.
After hearing her solo in the Living Room, I was very curious to how the songs would translate on recording with a full band. Luckily, Rachel's vocals are certainly the forefront and the musicianship on the album compliment her perfectly. The accordion, cello, and backing vocals add to the dark feel of the record.
When I listen to "With Love and Hate", I am reminded a lot of Fiona Apple. Strange arrangements, strong and original vocals, and just all around a bit odd in a perfect way.
"Hell is your Home" opens the album with an ode to a man that wronged her, and she lets it all out right off the bat. "You somber asshole, just slow it down. Hell is your home". From there, the lyrics just get deeper and more intense.
"This Institution" follows nicely with another dark tune. "My Painting" slows down the album for a bit, before the records best track "Lost". Rachel's vocals are so fucking mesmerizing on this song, I can't even describe how great it is. This could very well be my favorite song of 2013 thus far.
The album carries the gloomy feel throughout with standouts being "Actress", and "Nobody's Fool". "Dancin' Shoes" changes the pace of the entire record. This is the song written by Rachel's father, and is a beautiful song about watching Rachel grow up. A very tender and touching number.
"Lullaby for Baby Jack and Esme" ends the album with another gorgeously written song. As the title provokes, it is certainly a lullaby. The song ends with about a minute of baby Esme James Daily strumming her play guitar and singing a song she wrote herself according to the credits. Cute and just plain rad.
Rachel Kate plays with many different styles and influences, but, her sound is pure original. I have truly not heard anything like this album ever. If you have not heard her name yet, I gureentee you she will turn some heads when the album is out. Speaking of which, it will be released on September 1st, just in time for her early Sunday performance in Cookeville at Muddy Roots Music Festival. Do not miss it!
"With Love and Hate" can be purchased digitally beginning on September 1st through iTunes, Amazon, and every other major distributor.
4/4 Moons! yes, this album is that damn good.
Focus tracks: "Hell is your Home", "Lost", and "Actress"
Find Rachel Kate information and tour dates on Facebook!