Something I typically see each January is people asking for new music in the new year. Heck, I just did the same thing on my Instagram story just the other day. Well, fortunately, I can deliver to all of you by presenting the New Windsor Alternative/Indie Rock band, Kingston Kane. Before the year ended, Kingston Kane released their LP In Red, and if I do say so myself, this is a must-listen-to album for 2022.

Kingston Kane, Annie Hurley
Kingston Kane, Annie Hurley
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On December 3rd, 2021, Kingston Kane released their latest album, In Red. For anyone familiar with their prior material, In Red is a departure from their debut album The Forest of Gold (2019) by trading in indie-folk for grungy existential melodrama. If you ask me, I feel like a lot of those indie-folk influences still come out through the lyrics, vocal style, and some of the arrangements while displaying an expanded musical maturity and exploration of diversifying their sound. You can tell the growth in this album as Kingston Kane adopts new styles while staying true to who they are as a group. There is a raw sincerity in each to connect with, and you should listen to both albums. On their Bandcamp page, frontman Maxx MacRae writes:

“After finishing our first LP, I felt an immediate need to write harder-hitting songs with lyrics that reflected my changing worldview. This album visits some dark places, grappling with mortality, madness, disillusion with society, and other fun desperations. Despite this, there are twinges of hope, as a reminder that there is always light to be found within darkness. And yes, true to my musical roots, there are a couple of heartbreak songs in here for good measure -- everyone loves a breakup song!”

I got to interview MacRae recently about the latest album. When asked how the group got together, he explained that he and drummer Johnny Lu grew up across the street from each other. By the time MacRae seriously started putting together The Forest of Gold, Lu was the first person he reached out to. It was Lu that then referred them to Tom Messina to be their lead guitarist. MacRae said, “you bet I jumped on that opportunity like that last Milky Way in a candy bowl,” referring to being blown away by Messina’s chops. “Finally, Matt [Muller] and I met during a senior engineering project at SUNY, New Paltz, and we realized our music taste and personalities aligned very well. Thus, the Kings were Kane’d.”

Kingston Kane, Cameron DeVogel
Kingston Kane, Cameron DeVogel
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I asked MacRae where the band got its name. I was curious if there was any connection with Kingston, New York since I knew that they are lower Hudson Valley based. It turns out, it was just a “silly alliterative name [Maxx] came up with in high school.” He felt it fit his indie-folk aesthetic that he was drawn to at the time. “I wanted to change the band name to Rick Reckless for the second album to reflect the harder musical direction until I found out there’s already a Chicago rapper called Rico Recklezz. Now it’s Kingston Kane 4ever.” 

Like so many other projects, `In Red started as a large collection of “someday I’ll finish these” riffs recorded on MacRae’s phone. As a musician myself, I heavily related to that comment. After the rush of releasing The Forest of Gold ended, he went back to expand those riffs, this time drawn to a heavier, grungier sound as an outlet for some pent-up existential angst. 

The productional aspect of the album, MacRae explained, was “nothing short of a year-long nightmarish slog.” After he and Lu flushed out the basic groove for the songs, recording for the final tracks began in April. The album was recorded between Big & Tall Recording and The Hayloft Studios, which are both in New Jersey. MacRae said the recording process was very dynamic, spontaneous, and an awesome experience. 

One grueling aspect was editing. 

“I spent countless dozens of hours over the summer at my computer, comping, and rhythm editing the innumerable tracks and takes. It was awful, and I will never make the same mistake again. The lesson learned -- practice an additional ten hours before, and you may well save thirty hours in post.”

In the end, In Red was released on December 3rd after being mixed through Big & Tall Recording and mastered by Nada Studios. MacRae thanked them in our interview for putting up with his indecision and his many recalls in the pursuit of perfection.

“I can definitely say I’m proud of [In Red]. It’s heavy yet bright, brooding yet hopeful, and obsessively considered in all of its elements. I think there’s something in it for everyone. I’m already looking forward to writing more music, but until then, take a bite out of “In Red” – with any luck, I hope it bites back.”

You can find the band's album on all platforms, but you can support the band directly at their Bandcamp page, and follow them on Instagram. For more information, check out their website.

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