Australian singer/songwriter Katie Dey is known for her inventive, unconventionally arranged home-recorded pop tunes. She often twists and distorts her voice into an abrasive croak, lending an extra sense of fragility to her lyrics about fear and isolation. Her recordings, such as 2016's Flood Network, have received acclaim from several websites and blogs, as well as fellow musicians like Frank Ocean and Japanese Breakfast. The Melbourne-based Dey had been playing various instruments since her preteen years, and eventually she posted some of her songs on her blog. One of these tracks caught the attention of Mat Cothran of Elvis Depressedly, who brought Dey's music to the attention of Warren Hildebrand (Foxes in Fiction), co-owner of Orchid Tapes. Dey had long been a fan of the label, so she jumped at the chance to work with them. She released a short album titled asdfasdf for free on her Bandcamp page in 2015, and when Orchid Tapes issued a cassette version, it sold out its first pressing in a day. She then signed to Joy Void for her second release, the full-length Flood Network, which was issued in August 2016. A collaborative album with indie electronic artist Devi McCallion called Some New Form of Life followed in late 2018 before she returned with Solipsisters, a solo album about making peace with the body, in 2019. Mydata, written about a long-distance online relationship, was released in 2020.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 12, 2016 | Joy Void
Australian singer/songwriter Katie Dey's singular brand of fragmentary home-recorded pop is fragile, strange, and sometimes frightening. Taking full advantage of the recording and editing capabilities of her laptop, she vibrantly strums her scratchy-sounding guitar and programs nervous, glitchy beats. Nothing is ever straightforward with her music; it constantly feels like it's mutating and being pulled apart against its will. Most jarring of all is her voice, which she distorts into an unsettling digital croak. Similar to tUnE-yArDs, Dey's vocals are not for everyone, and may be a dealbreaker for many listeners. In the context of her music, however, they make total sense, and it's hard to imagine hearing pristine, angelic vocals over such broken, mutilated arrangements. Strangely enough, the vocals on Dey's 2016 full-length Flood Network seem a tiny bit less abrasive than on her 2015 debut asdfasdf, but they have the same startling effect. The album is a continuously flowing song cycle with numerous brief interludes connecting the "proper" songs, which themselves are usually short and scattered. Her lyrics, when decipherable, are just as uncomfortable as everything else about her music. It's hard not to squirm when her grating voice repeatedly squeals "please" near the end of "Frailty." On "Fleas," one of the album's more upbeat songs, Dey exuberantly cries "I can't wait 'til you're gone," and this sense of therapeutic release continues in fits and starts throughout the album. Not all of it is rough sailing, though; instrumental "So You Pick Yourself Up" is pleasantly trippy, with heavy delay scattering the downtempo drum beats in every direction along with gentle pianos and woodwinds. Dey's music clearly isn't going to resonate with everyone, but it's unquestionable that she has a unique vision, and Flood Network is a restlessly inventive album. © Paul Simpson /TiVo
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