As she triumphantly walks away from her previous life as a conservatory-trained jazz musician and into her future as an experimental art-rock singer, Kate Davis has found a new home within herself. This feeling is at the heart of Davis’ sophomore album, ‘Fish Bowl,’ coming out March 24 via her new label home of ANTI- Records. Across ‘Fish Bowl’’s 12 deeply personal tracks Davis traces her very own hero’s journey, from the moment she steps away from her old life to the moment she finds inner peace. She follows these steps through the eyes of ’Fish Bowl’’s central character, FiBo, who starts out on opening track “Monster Mash” realizing the community she cultivated has turned on her and starts to seek real change. Listen to the song below.
“Monster Mash” was one of the first songs that was written for the record,” Davis explains. “This is the moment where the character is abandoned by everything that she knew. And there’s this feeling of isolation in living your life up to a point where you’re like, ‘This is what I’ve chosen.’ But when you transition into a different phase of life, it’s easy to feel like a monster, to feel like you’re harmful to people, or that people are fearful of you.”
Growing up in Portland where she began playing violin at age five and bass at age thirteen, Davis later moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School Of Music. At night, Davis would sneak down to Brooklyn, where she watched indie-rock innovators Grizzly Bear and the Dirty Projectors and secretly dreamed of breaking away from the academic rigor of the jazz world she inhabited. As time passed, Davis found a way to take control of her musical destiny and define her own path, which is illustrated with vivid clarity on the highly conceptual ‘Fish Bowl,’ coming three years after her debut album, ‘Trophy.’ “She has this background of tremendous musical chops and that is poured into this record, but at the same time she is able to speak to her experiences,” said Stephen Thompson of ‘Trophy’ on NPR’s All Songs Considered.
In the time since ‘Trophy,’ Davis hunkered down and expanded her sonic universe, recalling artists that thrive in the amorphous alt-folk-rock space, such as game changers Laura Veirs and Tori Amos. ‘Fish Bowl’ goes hard at times with charging guitar and percussion but pulls back in equal measure, while Davis’ sharp, harmonizing vocals lead the charge over a range of tempos and moods, which shift from ethereal and smooth to biting. She also drew influence from a vast catalog of visuals and literary references while writing ‘Fish Bowl,’ thinking about the films of Wim Wenders and the liminal space that exists between outer space and far beneath the sea. As Davis continues to push forward with clear-eyed determination, the indie-rock world is about to gain a new sonic voyager.