NEW ARTIST FINDS: HOLY WARS
L.A.’s Kat Leon have issued marching orders and a battle cry with “Orphans,” the lead single off of Holy Wars’ Orphans EP.
HOLY WARS - ORPHANS
Every movement has its origin story, a call to arms that sets a movement ablaze. For the Civil Rights movement, it was Rosa Parks sitting at the front of the bus; the tragic deaths of freedom fighters like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X; for the suffragettes, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. These moments allow the personal to become political, creating anthems out of suffering, to soften the blow as an act of redemption.
For Kat Leon, the honey-voiced frontwoman of Holy Wars, that call-to-arms was the death of both of her parents in one year. The looming shadow of death put a freeze on Leon’s previous band, Sad Robot, just as things were getting going. Instead of the limelight, press releases, music videos, and touring hot new singles, Leon took an introspective, philosophical turn. Holy Wars is the by-product of that introspection.
Holy Wars plays shadowy, sun-dappled, somber art rock, most commonly compared to luminaries like Radiohead or Muse. Like those modern day prog-nosticators, Holy Wars favor complicated, intricate chord progressions and melodies, delivered with moody force. Thick, powerful fuzz guitars bring to mind the dirty shoegaze of The Jesus And Mary Chain, while Leon’s vocals recall the glorious goth ‘90s, when post-grunge bands like The Sneaker Pimps or PJ Harvey could score mainstream airplay.
Holy Wars have made suffering sound so sweet, so soothing, giving us strength to keep marching, keep moving, even with the weight of a thousand worlds on our shoulders. Holy Wars remind us we are never truly alone - there’s always someone who’s been where you’ve been, before, and lived to tell the tale.
Holy Wars are definitely one to watch, which is what We Are: The Guard’s Best New Artists is here for. We do the digging, so you don’t have to! Big props to We Are: The Guard curator MusicalheARTbeat for the tip!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.