King Woman is the latest solo side project of San Francisco musician Kristina Esfandiari. She used to be the frontwoman of the SF shoegaze band Whirr. Earlier this year, she started a side project called Miserable. The sound was a bit doomy and dark, and I wrote about the song “Bell Jar” back in January. Esfandiari is back with another solo side project and another very limited release. This one, annoyingly, is only on cassette or digital. There are three colors of cassette being pressed, and each color has a run of just 50 copies.
Today’s song is a cover of a cover. The original song, which I had not ever heard until today, was by Rema-Rema, who released one EP for 4AD Records back in 1980. Their style is almost impossible to describe, other than to say that they were really synthy and “experimental”. Two of the members of Rema-Rema went on to be in the industrial band The Wolfgang Press.
In 1984, a collective of 4AD artists called This Mortal Coil released their first of three albums. That album — It’ll End In Tears— featured two sensational covers of Big Star songs from Third/Sister Lovers (“Kangaroo” and “Holocaust”), a magical cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren”, a handful of original songs, and a cover of “Fond Affections”. This Mortal Coil lineup changed on every song, and there were about 25 or so musicians in the collective. On “Fond Affections”, it was Gordon Sharp (from Cindytalk), Mark Cox (who was one of the original songwriters with Rema-Rema) and Martin Young (from Colourbox).
The version that This Mortal Coil made sounds nothing at all like the original song, and although I’ve heard the TMC version hundreds of times, I never heard the original until today. Now I wish I had never heard the original, because the TMC version is so much better.
Esfandiari did a different take on the TMC version. And I like her version even better.
This is that song.
“Fond Affections” as covered by King Woman
I love how the first half of the song is slow and quiet and sort of in the vein of slowcore. It sounds a little less cathedral-esque than the TMC version, but it’s definitely a closer take on it than on the original. However, she puts her own stamp on it by breaking things wide open at 3:14. In come the heavy drums. In comes the heavily affected guitar. The delay on the vocals gets turned up. The wall of sound closes in. The whole thing instantly turns from slightly dreamy to very doomgaze-esque.
You can buy The “Dove/Fond Affections” single via The Native Sound here.