Kyle Craft’s “Dolls of Highland” Is Great Theatrical Glam Rock

5 Jan

New year…new direction. In an effort to post as close to weekly as possible, I’ll typically be writing shorter blogs that provide a brief overview of my featured album of the week on my KZSU–Stanford radio show — while sharing what I think are a few of the best tracks. As always, for more you’re invited to tune in to KZSU on Friday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 noon — with the first featured track from the album of the week normally spun at around 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

We’ll start off 2017 with Kyle Craft’s Dolls of Highland. This fine piece of rock ‘n’ roll artistry stands out from most other indie rock albums. Craft has produced an amazing selection of theatrical glam rock songs with hints of Southern rock, goth and alternative. Think T-Rex fused with Randy Newman, banging on a barrelhouse-style piano. There’s also a eerie resemblance to Queen (especially Freddie Mercury’s powerhouse vocals), David Bowie’s irreverence, and the underappreciated band, Big Star, from the 1970s.

Craft is young — just 27 — and performs with confidence and flair, belting out many of the songs with his amazing voice. He spent his youth in Louisiana, but now resides in Portland, Oregon. On this, his debut album, Craft played most of the instruments himself — in addition to handling the songwriting and vocals. This is a good one on the Sub Pop label, one of the best in indie music.

Track highlights: “Lady of the Ark” (Big strummed guitar and “Be My Baby” rhythm); “Gloom Girl” (1970s-style brass trappings and a catchy chorus with Craft’s tenor soaring skyward); “Eye of a Hurricane” (Prominent barrelhouse piano and Warren Zevon “Ow-ooohs”); and “Berlin” (A sultry rocker about a stripper named “Berlin”).

 

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