Welcome to the sleek world of frigidkitty.
Following a 40-second introduction that feels like you’re entering an upside-down Disney netherworld, Lexington, Kentucky’s Kim Conlee bares claws.
To scratch an itch? To draw blood?
The answer depends on the listener, because Conlee is the kind of sonic seducer that leaves you wondering if you are the victimizer or the victim.
Conlee’s vocals envelop like one of Stevie Nicks’ shawls, and while she is accompanied by a slew of talented friends throughout her new album Indulgence, it is her own personal backing band of one (playing piano, guitar, flute, synthesizer, and other assorted electronics) that keep these songs in a personal space that feels intentional.
To hold you down? To lift you up?
Keep listening to find out. Listen again to reactivate doubt.
When the artist describes her own work, she mentions Kate Bush, Mazzy Star, Judee Sill, “paranoid” trip-hop grooves, and a “sour minor-key psychedelic whorl.” But the word “beguiling” gets thrown around, too, and when it comes to song, we like being fooled. If you are a cat person, you know you’ll never know what they’re thinking. You don’t want to know. But you’re enamored.
Other blunt, iconic, and iconoclastic musical forces such as Fiona Apple and Joanna Newsom could certainly call Conlee a compositional compatriot. Conlee describes both as influences, although one could just as easily call them contemporaries, as the songs on Indulgence were written over the course of fifteen years and produced over three.
Indulgence, fifteen years in the making, is the debut album from frigidkitty, and it’s out today. To coincide with the release, Glide is premiering the album’s single and video “World To Save,” which finds Conlee occupying a singer-songwriter posture that could be considered just another trick in her bag if it weren’t for evocative, plaintive lyrics like, “Rain slowly falls as I stand waiting for the train. I haven’t spoken your name in a very, a very long time.” Missing drippy guitar and a sensual beat with just a touch of twang layered in, Conlee lets her airy and poignant vocals come front and center and hover over the music. At its core, this is slow-burning pop music with a touch of Americana, which might come to mind given the visuals that feature Conlee driving through sunny pastures in a cowboy hat and serenading us in front of a darkly lit desert landscape.
“’World To Save’ reflects upon the pain and disappointment of a failed friendship. Life changes, people move, convictions are compromised, miscommunication abounds! Can a long-distance friendship endure through all of it? Is anyone to blame if it doesn’t? Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but does it make relationships stronger?,” says Kim Conlee when discussing the inspiration behind the song.
As for the video, she says, “director Danny Coy set out to make a dreamy, 90s MTV road picture. We love Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ music video and wanted to capture a similar essence. The song is a reflection on past relationships, distant memories, and the changes that life inevitably brings. So we wanted to include flashbacks throughout the video of happier times, a friendship that used to be, a path that was diverted. Now our protagonist is alone, floating in a pool, wondering how life brought her here and if she is still loved. (And floating in a pool in a fancy dress is not as easy as it looks!)”
Photo credit: Kim Conlee of frigidkitty. Self-Portrait