BAND-AID: Warming Up to Kat King
Kat King is a Kansas City indie-pop rock group that evolved from a single 2nd grader with an acoustic guitar and a piano to a full 5-member musical act. Kat King is the lead vocalist; Daniel Cole is the drummer; John Kaul McCain is the bassist; Derek Melies is the guitarist, and Kara LePage is the keyboardist. Kat King’s individual story is one of growth in her personal life and career. This core aspect has been retained within the group, as shown by how they constantly outdo themselves with each new release.
June of 2021 saw the group release their first EP, Say What You Mean. In 5 tracks, Kat King tackles love, loss, anxiety, acceptance, and self-discovery while still allowing listeners to get up and dance through these otherwise heavy stages. While the EP has songs like Don’t Wanna Lose that have 80s-inspired instrumentals, overall, the project is more reminiscent of 2010s teen pop. There’s a straightforward narrative through the EP from Don’t Wanna Lose straight to Made It Back to You, heavily influenced by Kat’s growth in her personal life. As a result, the EP carries the essence of a timeless summer flick.
This July, the group released the single New Sun. With a title like that, it’s practically impossible not to see it as another summer song. Still, after unpacking the themes of the EP, New Sun feels like the perfect way to express a new sense of freedom. When King sings “I levitate” in the chorus accompanied by swelling drums, guitar, and synth, not only do you believe her, you feel like you’re doing it too.
If Say What You Mean and New Sun feel like they’re about to transition to adulthood, the group’s latest offering, With Nothing In My Way, feels like the first to embrace it truly. The lyrics suggest that a once-mysticized destination has been reached, and the next step is to unpack what to do with the newfound freedom. King wrote the song in the context of a breakup, but it’s still as optimistic as the songs before it. With this latest release, listeners become acutely aware that Kat King has only two rules: don’t stop growing, and don’t stop dancing.
You can listen to Kat King here: