The Jennylee collaborator's new single plays like the disturbing love child of Nancy Sinatra and David Bowie.
Photo by Kristin Cofer
Inspiration comes where and when you least expect it, like, say, from a stray copy of JT LeRoy's disturbing cult novel The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, which made its way into the hands of LA psych songstress Katie Burden while eaing at a Vietnamese joint near her house. Tried as she might to ditch the book, its themes of loathing and abuse stuck with her, eventually making their way onto the lead single for her forthcoming debut full-length Strange Moon.
"I Can See It Clear" wraps lyrics like "Been watching the vultures on the roadside / To see how they do it," around bled-out reverb and wandering melodies, disciplined by the drumming of producer Norm Block (Mark Lanagan, Warpaint's Jennylee) and a particularly slinky palm-muted guitar courtesy Jen Turner (Here We Go Magic, Exclamation Pony). But the tune's real star is Burden's mercurial voice, which you may recognize from her backup work with Warpaint's Jennylee, sliding between 60s pop decadence and Aladdin Sane fever dream before it all blows up into a grunge bridge.
"The story is told through the perspective of a young boy who is taken away from a loving foster family by his abusive, drug addicted birth mom who ultimately leaves him stranded on the side of the road," Burden explains. "By the end of the book the kid’s heart has been completely warped. He’s become so used to this cycle of abuse that he learns to crave it. I wrote the song structure at Happy Endings Studios in Silverlake with Norm Block and Mike Semple (Friend’s of Dean Martinez) but didn’t choose to make the lyrics about the book until later. I found it interesting to experiment with combining such a grisly subject matter with a tune that felt sort of upbeat and light."
Listen to the premiere of "I Can See It Clear" below.
Katie Burden's Strange Moon is out September 16 on Cautionary Tail. Pre-order it here.
Andrea Domanick is the West Coast Editor of Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.