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"West" - Katie Buchanan | Review

Sometimes I just need some groovy alternative indie rock in my life, Katie Buchanan's "West" was the perfect thing.

Katie's voice is unique and powerful! Honestly, it takes a lot vocally to stand out to me now and I was instantly impressed. The song is this grungy indie love song about love and debating the move out west. A New Yorker and a Californian; personally, I think they should move out west so I can see this live post pandemic! The track is loud and full off distorted guitars, vintage synths, and dirty drums. It is infectiously catchy.

We will for sure be blasting "West" when we drive up from LA to the Bay Area, something has to be my anthem on the 5.

Singer/songwriter/producer Katie Buchanan grew up in a big enough suburb of a big enough city in Kansas. No farm, no cows, only the occasional tornado. Born into a long line of musicians, she learned the blues by campfire and wrote her first song on her piano-tuner grandfather’s out of tune piano. Her family tree is full of St. Louis radio stars, southern railroad workers, and 1970s concert addicts. Her Baby’s First Mozart was Led Zeppelin IV.

In 2007, Buchanan moved to New York City to study at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. There, her Americana roots ran head-on into modern production methods. Her first two EPs, 2013’s Another Beat and 2014’s Go, merged home spun samples, anthemic choruses, and quiet reflections.

In 2015, her debut album, GLOW, introduced slow-burner pop textures and synth-based melodies, while keeping a sharp focus on her bluesy guitar work and double take lyrics. Sophomore LP, Who We Are When We’re Standing focused on learning how to stand still while the world falls apart, covering high energy pop and heart-wrenching ballads 2019 and 2020 were spent releasing singles and an EP, The Over Under.

Her new album, Are You Mad Yet?, features blistering guitars, soaring vintage synths, and her childhood drum-set being smashed into oblivion. the songs are loud with feeling, long with meaning, and lean of patience. the loose and full and energetic collection releases spring 2021.

As the sole writer, performer, and producer of her work, Buchanan is a strong new voice in the ongoing call for increased female authorship at all levels of music. In addition to her own releases, she produces albums for other artists, most commonly women, creating spaces for young female artists to learn the language of the studio and to develop the tools needed to navigate the music industry. Her work—both as producer and artist—has garnered millions of plays, rave reviews, and numerous features in TV and film.

Buchanan’s work has won kind words and Dorothy puns from a number of outlets, including The Village Voice, Guitar World, and American Songwriter. In their review of GLOW, No Depression said, “It’s these under the radar artists like Katie Buchanan that renew my belief that in the right hands, rock is not dead so long as it’s presented on a plate of spicy true blues tradition with a little electronica.”

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