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Queen Kwong - Couples Only (Sonic Ritual)

Queen Kwong-Couples Only
21 January 2023

Discovered in 2005 at age 17 by Trent Reznor — she’s opened three Nine Inch Nails tours, in 2005, 2009, and 2018 — L.A.’s multi-talented Carré Callaway (who’s also an actress, sculptor, podcaster, skincare product founder, and recent university grad with honors) has released three albums as Queen Kwong. But a rare diagnosis of cystic fibrosis which sometimes causes her lungs to fill with blood, a divorce, and a year-long period of homelessness has not dampened her drive; while her lyrics are still bitter and agitated, this third LP finds Callaway more composed and focused than on 2018’s discordant, erratic Love Me to Death. On the gnashing “I Know Who You Are,” indignant “Sad Man” (whose video stars Johnny Knoxville), chilly “The Mourning Song,” and amorous “On the Run” (with ‘50s doo-wop keyboards by The Cure’s Roger O’Donnell), her provocative, talk-sung vocals are at once alluring and sinister, blending Emily Haines, Angel Olsen, and Hope Sandoval. Right to the upbeat, Frankie Rose-like “Without You, Whatever,” Couples Only is infatuating. (sonicritualrecordings.com)

“I Know Who You Are”

“Sad Man”

“Without You, Whatever”