[a.k.a. #6 of However Many I Care to List, in No Particular Order: Albums That I Have Listened To Both Intermittently And Incessantly, That I Imagine I Will Continue To Listen To Periodically For The Remainder Of My Life, Which I Consider To Be The Seminal Works Of (Or Most Accessible Entry Points To) Musical Artists Whom I Believe Have Been Woefully Underrated And Criminally Underrepresented In The Modern Music Canon At Large, And Which Also At Some Point While Playing I Have Very Likely Been Asked To Turn Down or Turn Off]
KatieJane Garside is possessed. Far be it from me to say by whom or what, but I have seen her perform (as half of Ruby Throat) and it was clear that the music itself was transporting her to another world entirely. After one particularly improvisational song had gone or for seven or eight minutes, her bandmate Chris Whittingham had to momentarily abandon his guitar to tug on her sleeve and remind her which world she was actually in.
She first appeared on the music scene as the lead singer of Daisy Chainsaw, an English alt rock band that toured with Mudhoney and Hole in the early 90’s. Even then, her onstage persona was, shall we say, unhinged, and when she quit the band in 93 and disappeared from the public eye for six years, many suspected she’d succumbed to mental illness. But in 1999, she re-joined forces with Crispin Gray, the guitarist from Daisy Chainsaw, to form QueenAdreena.
Working from the same template as their previous band, they would go on to produce 4 albums worth of some of the best balls-out guitar rock ever recorded. Though on the surface, one could say they sound like any number of other bands (often lumped, erroneously, into the “riot grrrl” movement), there really is no equal to be found to the combination of Gray’s uber-nasty, abrasive-in-just-the-right-way guitar tone and KatieJane’s alternately child-like/demon-like vocals. And this pairing never wears out its welcome because they are serving a kick-ass catalogue of actually awesome songs. KatieJane may be muttering, whispering, cackling, wailing, what have you, but the band remains taut and tight as all fuck, lurching from one explosive catharsis to the next.
Nowhere is this more evident than on their absolutely perfect 3rd record, The Butcher & The Butterfly. It is not an “easy” listen, to be sure, but in the proper mood, you too can “learn how to dance with a dog,” as KatieJane sings on the pummeling favorite “Wolverines.” The two subdued tracks here (“Birdnest Hair,” “Childproof”) prefigure the acoustic “swamp folk” she would go on to make with Ruby Throat, but there will always be a sizable place in my heart, and my car stereo, for QueenAdreena’s entire discography. Also essential, KJG’s only solo album, a highly experimental collection of home demos recorded as Lalleshwari, entitled Lullabies in a Glass Wilderness.