July 13, 2010


Fiddle me this: Kingsley Flood don't even like alt-country (BARRY THOMPSON, July 13, 2010, The Phoenix)

I tend to suspect a solid percentage of what appear to be roots-movement bands are, in fact, punk bands who realized they get taken more seriously when they play acoustic guitars and pretend they've always been huge Johnny Cash fans. [...]

"I still don't listen to much roots rock," says bassist Nick Balkin, when I join him with three other area Kingsleys at Lord Hobo in Cambridge. "When Naseem and I started playing, his songs were just really good folk songs. Then it turned into something you could label Americana, because we kept saying things like, 'Oh, this would be cool with a fiddle,' or 'This part would be cool with a mandolin.' "

Of course, 90 percent of bands who say they didn't expect to end up lumped in with whatever genre either have no self-awareness or are lying. But this year's self-released Dust Windows indicates that Kingsley Flood know themselves quite well. Sometimes a straight-rock essence supplants their flickering traditionalist zeal. But then there's "Devil's Arms," which could inspire you to hop a train and guzzle moonshine. And "When I Grow Up" and "Just a Midnight Ride" fall into that select cadre of really cool indie songs I wonder whether my dad wouldn't enjoy.

Even on those tracks, Khuri never quite ceases to evoke an impish, Dustbowl-era troubadour spinning narratives where the Devil and Jesus exist as characters in the story, as opposed to anything allegorical. Which is weird, given that dude's got a grad degree from Harvard. But had he not pursued academe, he never would've started his fiddly rock band. Balkin, then known mainly as guitarist for space-age neo-Britpop lads Logan 5 and the Runners, first met Khuri through a Craigslist roommate arrangement while the latter attended school. After some fluctuation, the line-up has settled into Khuri, Balkin, lead-guitarist George Hall, mandolinist/fiddler Jenée Morgan, trumpeter Chris Barrett, and drummer Will Davies. They all seem to share a dislike of contemporary alt-country.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 13, 2010 4:58 PM
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