KRISTEENYOUNG Releases Self-Produced Ninth Album THE SUBSET
Avant-rock singer-songwriter/producer KRISTEENYOUNG has always done things her own way, including self-designing all of her stage costumes, and now she invites listeners to come along on her most experimental and emotional journey yet with the release of her ninth album The SubSet outTODAY (September 4, 2019). Her two touchstones for the making The SubSet are opera and beatnik, but as Kristeen explains, "kinda sideways and distorted." "The album features her energetic blends of hard-hitting instrumentals, operatic vocals, and raw, incendiary lyrics which gives her music a theatrical flair and helps elevate its urgency.
The album marks the first time that Kristeen has fully self-produced a record on her own. "I wrote, arranged, produced, mixed, and played almost every instrument except live drums, which were played by Jefferson 'Baby Jef' White," Kristeen explains. "It was important to do this one by myself. Even though I have co-produced most of my albums before, people will still 'forget' to include my name when they are talking about who produced the albums. And I think it's because the other co-producer was male and famous. I thought I would take that option of a mistake out of the equation for people."
The rolling piano section on "Everyday SubTraction" (the current single and follow up to "<" (pronounced "Less Than") was the first component that was written for The SubSet and it actually happened as Kristeen was about to head out of the studio one day when mixing her previous album, Live At The Witch's Tit (2017), but it came too late to include on that album. For the video itself she took on the shooting, editing, performing, and costume design all by herself, creating a jolting visual that augments the song's panache.
Kristeen actually envisioned a lot of this album, including the album title and some of the visuals in "finished form" before she even began the creative process. "I don't think that makes anything necessarily good or make sense. But, when I see it in the air I'm usually so drawn to it that I can't resist it," she explains. Having spent a month last summer in her hometown of St. Louis writing a lot of what would become The SubSet, she recalls that going home to St. Louis "hit all senses." "The scents, the heavy feel of the air and of course the locations themselves all affect my emotions," Kristeen recalls. "I can write anywhere but nothing brings out the old ghouls like the hometown."
She hopes that because the album has such a wide scope of styles that people can get lost in it and really have an experience. "When I was writing it I was trying to remember what it was like when I just LOVED music and had no knowledge of any other part of the music business or world," she says. "I wanted it to sound fresh and naturally moving, like when I was a kid, but at the same time speaking on the now."
The first track off the album, "<" (pronounced "Less Than") is about how certain people prefer the status quo, and how they view people as "lesser" and not equal to themselves. Whereas "Pretty TwoGether" showcases her trademark dramatic performance and alluring distorted synth/keyboard fueled operatic skills, "The Bold One" is the first song Kristeen has ever written on guitar, "I just picked one up one day and was playing around and this song fell out," she explains. "It's simple and dissonant and somewhat like my piano style but on guitar."In contrary, "In 3rd Grade We Learn Division" starts out like a movie soundtrack from the 1960's and then crashes into a hard hitting number, "There are so many styles in one song. It's perfect for people like me who have very little attention span."
Described by BlackBook as an "unmissable live performer," tonight Kristeen will kick off a string of performance residencies (dates below). For these shows, Kristeen has put together a brand new set with a new concept than she's presented before. Saying that opposed to a band just playing some songs, which she enjoys, too, it's going to be a "planned show" with visuals. "It's going to be very wide ranging dynamically. I'll be singing and playing a couple of songs by myself, and then there will be songs that are all out, doing what we usually do; bashing piano and bombastic drums, and songs that are half of each and hitting all levels in between. I also have some visual ideas I'm going to add. It will be operatic meets beatnik meets this-don't-make-sense....but in a dramatic way, of course."
KRISTEENYOUNG SHOWS / RESIDENCIES:
September 4 @ Berlin in NYC
September 11 @ Berlin in NYC
September 18 @ Berlin in NYC
September 26 @ Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis (in store)
September 27 @ Off Broadway in St. Louis, Missouri
October 7 @ The Satellite in Los Angeles
October 9 @ The DNA Lounge in San Francisco
October 14 @ The Satellite in Los Angeles
October 16 @ The DNA Lounge in San Francisco
October 17 @ Amoeba Records in San Francisco (in store)
October 21 @ The Satellite in Los Angeles
October 23 @ The DNA Lounge in San Francisco
October 28 @ The Satellite in Los Angeles
November 6 @ Paper Dress Vintage in London
November 13 @ The Victoria in London
November 20 @ St. Paneras Old Church in London
Kristeen started out in music with the goal of showing how powerful and dangerous a piano can be. This resulted in her 1997 debut album Meet Miss Young and Her All Boy Band. In the early 2000s she began working with Grammy award-winning producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T.Rex, The Damned) starting with her 2003 record Breasticles, which featured a duet with the lateDavid Bowie himself, "Saviour". On 2004's X, the opening track "No Other God" was a duet withBrian Molko of Placebo. On her 2009 record Music For Strippers, Hookers, And The Odd Onlooker, she collaborated with Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy on the track "That's What It Takes, Dear." She also performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in 2014 withDave Grohl and Pat Smear of Foo Fighters fame as her backing band.