In 2010, Kingsley Flood released its first album Dust Windows, which received critical praise, including a prominent NPR Weekend Edition feature that sent the record to number one on the Amazon.com
roots chart and #48 nationally on iTunes. Fans came out in droves to see them perform at DC's 9:30 Club, Boston's Paradise Rock Club, and other famed venues, the 2011 South by Southwest festival, and shows directly supporting Grace Potter, Angus and Julia Stone, Brett Dennen, and Styx ... yes, Styx.
Ever-grateful and ever-evolving, the band is now set to release a new EP, Colder Still. Evoking themes of privilege and class, Colder Still examines the quintessentially American pursuit of happiness, and questions a new generation struggling to redefine the American dream. Is the house on the hill really the goal? At what cost? Is it lonely at the top? These questions and more are the fabric through which the Kingsley Flood story -- and music -- is woven.
On lead single and recent NPR Song of the Day “I Don’t Wanna Go Home" (mp3, lyrics) a stubborn dreamer takes for granted his comfortable but tame lifestyle to follow a perilous pipe dream. On “Mannequin Man” (mp3, lyrics), a brash bleeding heart sets out to save the world, but he may be doing good for the wrong reasons. On "Wonderland" (mp3, lyrics), a youth struggles with the social pressures of growing up ("Brother I've been lying all along. My collar's not as clean as I let on"), vowing to leave his childhood behind. On “House on the Hill” (mp3, lyrics), a climber laments his ascent and longs for the warm “common glow” below.
A band was never part of the plan for Kingsley Flood frontman Naseem Khuri. The son of hard working immigrants who realized their own American dream, he felt obligated to follow that path -- good schools, stable job, big house on the hill. With his father’s death and an increasing disillusionment with an office job, perspective shifted. Khuri soon realized the American dream his parents had sought was not about the right to material happiness. It was about the right to choose a path.
Khuri made that choice. Colder Still is where two years and thousands of miles on the road took the band. Rather than retreating to the sleepy woods of Vermont as they did to record Dust Windows, they opted for busy studios in Boston and New York. But it was during many months on the road that Kingsley Flood honed the gritty, urban sound reflected on Colder Still. The songs are urgent.
Colder Still respects, but is not bound by, the Americana feel of the band’s first record. Khuri’s lyrics are supported by George Hall’s stark electric guitar and a propulsive rhythm section led by bassist Nick Balkin and drummer Steven Lord. Jenée Morgan conjures an old-time aesthetic on her violin, but it’s her frequent interplay with Chris Barrett’s trumpet that creates an expansive orchestral feel. Add trash cans, euphoniums, and accordions to the mix, and it’s hard to attach this record to any genre.