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King Creosote

King Creosote is the name used by acclaimed Scottish singer/songwriter Kenny Anderson, whose vast catalog of work encompasses folk, indie rock, ambient, and various forms of experimental pop. Hailing from the seaside council of Fife, Anderson was the linchpin of a burgeoning local scene that also included artists like James Yorkston and KT Tunstall, who joined him as part of the Fence Records collective. Working under the King Creosote name since the late '90s, Anderson established himself as a prolific D.I.Y. artist, hybridizing his unique take on indie folk and rock on numerous CD-R releases before finding a more official outlet with Domino Records. Mid-2000s albums like KC Rules OK and Bombshell earned him a wider audience ahead of 2011's Diamond Mine, his Mercury Prize-nominated collaboration with Jon Hopkins. In between smaller, more experimental releases, were significant works like his 2014 documentary soundtrack From Scotland with Love and 2016's Astronaut Meets Appleman. After a lengthy gap, King Creosote returned in 2023 with the sprawling and eclectic I DES. Anderson began playing accordion at age seven, learning from his father, a semi-professional musician who helped nurture the budding talent of his oldest son. Traditional Scottish country dance music was the defining sound of the Anderson household and over the years, Kenny and his twin younger brothers Een (aka Pip Dylan) and Gordon (aka Lone Pigeon) have all kept traces of traditional folk in their music. After some early success with his busking bluegrass and traditional band the Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra and the more psych-rock Khartoum Heroes, Anderson launched a solo project under the name King Creosote. Setting up his own D.I.Y. record label, Fence, he began releasing music at a rapid clip. Along with his own releases were albums by his brothers (Pip Dylan and Lone Pigeon) and other eclectic regional artists like the Pictish Trail, James Yorkston, Randolph's Leap, and Kid Canaveral. After years of homemade CD-R releases, Anderson teamed with Domino in 2003 to release Kenny and Beth's Musakal Boat Rides, King Creosote's first properly distributed album. A winsome blend of poetic folk and indie pop, it earned some national attention, kicking off a run of acclaimed albums that helped define the project to a much bigger audience. 2005's Rocket D.I.Y. and KC Rules OK were significant critical successes and led to Anderson's first major label release, 2007's Bombshell. Despite working on a bigger stage, he also kept up with the smaller, limited Fence releases while promoting the bigger ones, like 2009's Flick the Vs, co-released with Domino. King Creosote's biggest critical success came in 2011 with the release of Diamond Mine, an ambient electronic folk collaboration with British producer Jon Hopkins. The album made numerous year-end best-of lists and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Over the next few years, Anderson stepped away from running Fence Records and the collective surrounding it. His next major release was 2014's From Scotland with Love, a poignant soundtrack to the documentary film of the same name. Commissioned to accompany the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the soundtrack added historical recordings to Anderson's warmly captured folk songs. Two years later, he followed it with Astronaut Meets Appleman, a looser, more rambling full-band album that focused on his indie rock side. After this, Anderson's output was limited to the occasional D.I.Y. release while he worked on something larger. This turned out to be 2023's I DES, a wide-ranging, heartfelt return to form that pulled from various eras of King Creosote's existence while pushing him into the next decade.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo


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