Black Belt Eagle Scout
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Katherine Paul is Black Belt Eagle Scout. In 2018 her debut album Mother of My Children caught the attention of many as one of the year's best albums, with Pitchfork observing the album as being "particularly elegant in the way it demonstrates how grief and love share space when something precious is taken from you, how the distinction between those emotions can blur," and Vulture called KP "a powerful new voice." Now, Black Belt Eagle Scout return with two new tracks on the Loss & Relax b/w Half Colored Hair 7-inch, released on April 26th via Saddle Creek.
"Loss & Relax" was first written following the recording Mother of My Children in 2017. As KP tells it, "I was full of emotion and also pride while recording in Anacortes (where MOMC was recorded) that I felt like there was something still there. I wrote the initial guitar line on this pull-out bed I was sleeping on in my parents living room while recording up there. I could have recorded it for MOMC but I felt like it would have been rushed and there was so much more to explore within the song."
It momentarily fell to the back burner, but soon began to take its current form over the course of playing it live in KP's hometown of Portland and on tour in support of MOMC. Members of KP's band have previously included the likes of Haley Heynderickx, Amelia Ley, and Nsayi Matingou, and all have contributed to the song's evolution, which has continued to grow with each new lineup.
Informed by the experience of traveling home, the song is an ode to KP's ancestors, past, present and future. "As I was writing the guitar line, I kept seeing the water of the Salish Sea and the local ferries drifting people in and out of place. Ferries are such a beautiful part of my childhood and served as a major form of transportation. Thinking about my home and how canoes have turned into ferries is a sad but also beautiful thought. Nowadays with Canoe Journeys, canoes are alongside ferries, roaming our waters to lands, sharing customs and culture. That is what I think about now, when I listen to the fully recorded version of the song. I see a strong and fierce community of my people, continuing to thrive in whatever comes our way. That is how I feel about myself, a survivor and thriver of this land, a water protector, a womxn, the future."
Somewhat more ambiguous, the record's B-side, "Half Colored Hair", explores the preciousness of moments we share with others and how the simplest thing can impact our own emotions and feeling towards one another. It is a love song, meant to be shared among lovers.
Together, the two songs display the next-step in what Black Belt Eagle Scout first instigated last year on MOMC, while also providing an intriguing glimpse into what we have to look forward to in the years to come.
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