I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure who I was going to feature for my last Women’s History Month post this year; I wanted to go out on a strong note, but I also wanted to hold something back for next time. Fortunately, the right choice ended up landing right in my lap (or, I suppose, my Facebook Messenger window): my friend Andre, of Andresmusictalk, recommended that I check out a band called KING, who he described as “kind of like a modern-day Jam & Lewis-era S.O.S. Band with all female singers.” And if you know anything about my taste in music, then you already know my interest was piqued.
KING are based in Los Angeles, but they have roots in Minneapolis: twins Amber and Paris Strother are the nieces of the late Minneapolis-based blues guitarist Percy Strother. And their music certainly owes a latent debt to the dreamy, synth-laden soundscapes of artists like the aforementioned Jam and Lewis, as well as some other guy whose name just keeps escaping me. Mostly, though, they make lush, vaguely Afrofuturist neo-neo-soul that sounds like the kind of thing you’d listen to while taking a bath on a mood-lit spaceship.
You’ve probably noticed that for most of the month, we’ve been trying to highlight songs that speak to women’s specific experiences; KING doesn’t necessarily do that. Their vibe is romantic and sensual, hence “feminine,” but they’re not really out here railing against the patriarchy or singing from the perspective of their wombs. And yet, there’s something beautifully aspirational about their 2011 song “The Story” (later remixed for their 2016 debut album, We Are KING): the lyrics about “charting my voyage to a different star” and “riding ’til we reach the mothership” connect the group to a long tradition of African American astral travelers, from Sun Ra to George Clinton; and the fact that it’s coming from three women can’t help but evoke the feminist science fiction of writers like Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler. Basically, KING is a feminist group, simply by virtue of their existence. And that’s good enough for me.
And with that, my contributions to Women’s History Month 2017 are finished. Callie will be back tomorrow to close it out. Spotify and YouTube playlists, as always, are below: