Kids N Cats’ new album 11 Tracks is all kinds of wonderful
I knew Vienna-based experimental pop band Kids N Cats was an intelligent band when I interviewed two of the members last year, and discovered they were one of the artists chosen as a beneficiary of the NEW AUSTRIAN SOUND OF MUSIC Young Music Program (NASOM).
The program is administered by Austria’s Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA), and is a prestigious governmental program that financially supports Austrian musicians for performances abroad. Only a handful of artists are accepted every year.
But it wasn’t being chosen out of thousands of Austrian artists for the NASOM that makes Kids N Cats so smart. Instead, it was what they chose to do with it.
Because, instead of just arranging a few concerts in countries they may like to visit, Kids N Cats went to work to really take advantage of the opportunity they had been given.
The four band members worked like crazy for a year to save money for a world tour, eventually organizing a tour that hit 11 countries over the spread of seven months. In each country, they wrote and recorded a new song. Seven of the songs were collaborations with a local artist from one of the countries they visited.
And, if you haven’t already guessed, the tour was put together and the overseas collaborations and recordings were done, with the goal of releasing a second album.
That album, 11 Tracks, will be released on May 4th.
Countries visited on the 11 Tracks world tour
Even more of an interest to me when I interviewed the band’s Jeanne Nickels and Marten Kaffke was the countries they chose to visit.
Israel, France, Germany, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Swaziland. And, of course, their home country of Austria for the 11th song.
Countries with wildly divergent cultures, and ones in which things Kids N Cats experienced while there influenced the songs they wrote.
The songs from those 11 countries
Thanks to Kids N Cats, I was given a preview copy of 11 Tracks to listen to before its official release next week. Something I did today while out on my usual afternoon speedwalk around Vienna.
And let me just tell you, 11 Tracks is an amazing album to speedwalk to as Kids N Cats are crazily high energy, loud, wild and definitely a bit weird, and that results in a speedier, more energized speedwalk. At least it did for me.
I even danced to the album a bit while waiting to cross at pedestrian red lights. Something the quietly sedate and conservative Viennese standing near me seemed to think was decidedly odd.
But, hey, when you are listening to music this good and this energetic, to me, standing there like a block of wood would seem so very strange.
As for the 11 songs on Kids N Cats 11 Tracks, they vary wildly in sound, lyrics, genre and feel. But every one is a gem in its own right. So much so, I’m not sure I could pick an absolute favorite if I tried.
One track from the album I enjoy, however, will always be Germany. A song that is, at first listen, a cool electro pop number, which then turns into something a bit more creepy on subsequent listens.
And a song with an already released music video that is artistically brilliant and which, of course, was filmed in Shanghai, China.
And that is one of the many things I love about Kids N Cats. The band’s refusal to stay in any box they might be put in, being artists who do anything except what might be expected.
Other notable songs on 11 Tracks include ‘China‘ featuring Chinese artist ChaCha. This one starts out as a more dream-like, ethereal song with that distinctive Chinese inflection in the vocals and note choices you will immediately recognize if you have listened to singers from that country, or spent much time in Asia.
When Jeanne Nickels comes in with a rap vocal, however, the feel of the song changes from dreamy and hypnotic to a more modern almost hip hop sound. Making this track quite unique.
I also have to admit I have a love for Kids N Cats’ ‘Mexico‘ because, in this age of #MeToo, how could you not like vocals like “Vagina revolution” and “Equal rights, equal rights, equal rights, equal rights, equal rights my pussy. I want more rights for my ladies. I want change. I want it now. No whys, no buts, no hows“.
Of course, if you want lyrics that are really out there, ‘Japan‘ featuring Japanese singer TsuShiMaMiRe should be the first track you head to.
Come to think of it, it probably is my favorite song on the album, and one that fueled more of my speedwalk this afternoon than any other. Maybe that’s because the lyrics feed into my anger and frustration about how we women are constantly minimized, ignored or made to feel lacking. But lyrics that also include the most brilliant of choruses:
“Can’t you f*cking see me, Can’t you f*cking see me, Can’t you f*cking see me, Can’t you f*cking see me, Can’t you f*cking see me?”
I’m telling you, the next time you are completely over how some asshat treated you simply because you are a woman, put on headphones, crank up ‘Japan‘ as loud as it will go and head out for some exercise.
I guarantee, you will feel a whole lot better when you come back.
Kids N Cats’ sophomore album 11 Tracks releases at the end of the week. You can pre-order it in digital, CD and vinyl form on Bandcamp. And grab their previous releases while you are there.
If you are in Vienna, the official release party for 11 Tracks will be on May 4th at WERK X-Eldorado. Doors open at 8pm. Pick up tickets in advance of the concert here.
Now watch the video for ‘France’ below. It features the superb Senegalese rapper NIX and, because Drach’s father is French, those lyrics are fabulously authentic as well.
The video itself is what has now become Kids N Cats signature look — avant garde, experimental and fabulously weird.
Oh, and just in case you’re still thinking about it, buy 11 Tracks. Buy it. Buy it. Buy it. Because this sophomore album is all kinds of wonderful.
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