King Friday is a band of the 21st century. Their music is available everywhere, but only digitally. They’re signed to a record label, but all have day jobs (flight attendant, legal assistant, field biologist). They’ve recorded 10 full-length albums and released five using nothing but a modest home setup. Their primary audience follows their hyperactive, pun-focused Twitter instead of packing out crowded venue spaces. They are an unapologetic band gaining steam in the most honest, practical way they know how, given the landscape of modern independent music.
The only thing anchoring King Friday to another era is, contradictorily, their music. The songs hark back to more psychedelic times. They’re honest and fun, reminiscent of early Of Montreal recordings – a canon not unlike Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs. Paul Simon’s penchant for harmony and Harry Nilsson’s signature wail clearly influence their catalog – but there’s something else happening here. There’s a whimsy that can’t be faked – a non-self-aware-modern-stoner-dork vibe.
Tender Loving Empire relased six King Friday albums from mid 2014 through 2015. The Big Strange—the last of the six— is by far the band’s most polished album to date. Crystal clear pianos and harmonies pave the way for songs about hypocrisy, inadequacy and adderall.