Ten years and four albums deep, the story of This Is The Kit — the musical project that holds Kate Stables at its heart, is itself one of time and change and careful listening. It has carried Stables from Winchester to Bristol to Paris (where she’s lived for the last ten years), across tours and festivals and the adoration of her peers: Guy Garvey, The National, Sharon van Etten among them. And it leads her now to Moonshine Freeze, her Rough Trade debut, and her most stunning and accomplished and compelling album to date.
Moonshine Freeze began in the immediate wake of its predecessor, Bashed Out: days after coming off tour last November, Stables and her band (Rozi Plain, Jamie Whitby-Coles, Neil Smith and Jesse D Vernon) headed into the studio in Bristol. “This time I really wanted to make sure that the band was fully involved from the beginning,” she says. “They’re three of my favourite musicians, and what they do with their separate projects and what they bring to This Is The Kit is brilliant. It’s really amazing that they are still up for being in the band. It’s no mean feat of endurance.”
Currently celebrating 20 years piloting the revered record label Bella Union, Simon Raymonde has scaled another personal peak, a new collaboration with drummer Richie Thomas. They’re called Lost Horizons, and though neither of them have strictly been lost, their stunning debut album, Ojalá, is a rare sighting of two gifted musicians who, for different reasons, have been largely absent from music-making for the last 20 years. Yet the record is proof of a telepathic relationship through music, established when the pair first became collaborators and friends in the eighties.
Ojalá also incorporates a heady cast of guest singers. Some are signed to Bella Union, such as Marissa Nadler, former Midlake frontman Tim Smith, Cameron Neal (Horse Thief), others are long-time favourites of Raymonde’s (Leila Moss of The Duke Spirit and Ghostpoet), or newer discoveries (Beth Cannon, Ed Riman, Gemma Donleavy and Phil McDonnell). And then there is the incomparable Karen Peris of The Innocence Mission, one of Raymonde’s all-time favourites, in her first collaboration outside of The Innocent Mission and solo recordings.
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