On That Note

Khat House
It's finally here - the blog post that everyone, especially Neal Kennedy and William Serge, has been waiting for.  Khat House.  

Around the beginning of 2011, the five members of Khat House (Mark, Neal, Eric, Nick, and Andrew) found themselves stuck in a basement with a bunch of cats. I'm not talking about a baker's dozen of cute little kittens - we're talking about a frat house of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, cougars and any other feline that might maul you to death. What made this situation worse was that these cats were half starved and ready to tear who would become Khat House to meaty shreds.  Enter the birthing of Khat House - out of the lion's den.

"We knew that letting these felines devour us was not in our interest, so we made a deal with these cats. The cats loved a new craze in music called Sex Rock and they would do anything for it, even starve to death."  says the band on their origin.  

With their drums, two guitars, bass, trumpet, and keyboard,  Khat House, based out of Rochester, NY via the University of Rochester specializes in the ever growingly popular "sex rock" genre (a unique blend of indie,  rock 'n' roll, dance pop, and post-hardcore).  Influences range from The Darkness, Anthony Green, Two Door Cinema Club, and Jay-Z. The band has begun to spread this sex rock music to venues all over Rochester, NY including the Bug Jar, CLC, Chi Phi, Sigma Alpha Mu, and Dubland. More recently, Khat House won a battle of the bands at Rochester Institute of Technology. A sample of the band's music has just been crystallized into digital form.  Their EP, Welcome to Khat House, was released on April 14th, 2012.

You can keep up with your new favorite indie band by visiting their website.  Khat House also has a Facebook (who doesn't?), Twitter, and YouTube account.  

Enough of the pleasantries though - let's get to the nitty gritty.  The goods.  The music review.  Music Mike's vote is "Yay, in favor of Welcome to Khat House."  The band has a great ability to mix so many textures and colors to their music.  After listening to their EP not at in much depth, but enough to hear what's going on, I realized that these guys are a hell of a lot more talented than many acts that are A. famous and B. making money off of it.  (Support them?)

Starting off small like all the greats, Welcome to Khat House has four tracks: "Tyger Girl," "Sorry for Partying," "Te Dijo," and "Kiss You."  "Te Dijo" takes the hill as my favorite track off Welcome to Khat House.  Solid vocals are present throughout the album.  Instrumental talent backs up the main voice undoubtedly.

These guys took great notes in English class - the beginning of the album ("Tyger Girl") starts with a nicely decorated hook.  It instantly caught my attention and was able to sustain it throughout the track.  Featuring a nice guitar riff, this track is appropriate for road trips.  Think mid-70s, windows down, with little to no humidity.  A great ambiance, "Tyger Girl" oozes a sky blue.  The tempo is upbeat, and further compliments the atmosphere set by the opening guitar - chill.  

Track two brings us to "Sorry for Partying."  Don't think of LMFAO's "Sorry for Party Rocking."  I assure you, Khat House's track is by far better.  Opening with octaves in the bass, the rhythm guitar shortly thereafter enters with heavy syncopation.  This, coupled with the octave jumps in the bass, give the intro a hop that phrases any momentum straight into the vocal entry.  The vocals continue with the syncopation until the verse, at which point the melody becomes much more lyrical and less articulate.  Interesting vocal harmonies are introduced in the C section of the song.  Shortly after this introduction, all instrumentation cuts out with the exception of keyboard and vocals.  The band takes us home, building upon the simplicity of the keys and singer, to the nearing end of "Sorry for Partying."

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did.  "Te Dijo" features everything that makes music great: an intro that is built around a stated melodic theme via whistling that is picked back up in the chorus as "woah"ing, syncopation, great harmony (heard in the guitar), an appropriate key and tempo, and guitar and bass doubling.  The band hits a rough rhythmic patch towards the end of the track with staccato articulation, phrasing the shape of the song appropriately to keep  its listeners moving along towards the ending.  

"Kiss You" is the least catchy, yet arguably the most artistically legitimate.  Beginning with chords more keen to the jazz family of music, trumpet accompanies and states the melodic theme of "Kiss You."  The tempo picks up nearly half way through the track.  Your left foot may begin tapping along at this point.  The mood of the song follows with the accelerando.  The fact that Khat House risked this fusion of genre displays their loyalty to music for music's sake, not for profit's sake, artistic maturity, and a bright, creative future with the craft that is music.

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