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Soon enough, up-and-coming U.K. singer-songwriter Katie Malco won’t be so “up-and-coming” anymore. Malco, who makes achingly sincere, stripped-down music often with little more than a piano or her worn-out Telecaster, is a fixture on the U.K. touring circuit and has previously shared the stage with Jenny Lewis, Laura Stevenson, This is the Kit, Laura Veirs and Kevin Devine. On Tuesday, she announced her signing to Richmond, Va., indie label 6131 Records. 6131 launched Malco’s frequent tour-mate Julien Baker and has also served as home to Touché Amoré, Worriers, Macseal and more.
The announcement comes alongside the release of her first single since 2016, “Creatures.” Following an EP of broken-hearted piano ballads, 2013’s Tearing Ventricles, and the quietly entrancing guitar of “Be Good at Christmas,” “Creatures” takes Malco’s work in a new direction as she embraces a full-band sound. The track features pounding drums and rumbling electric guitars that emphasize the anxiety of its content. Convinced she won’t be able to fight off the negative thoughts keeping her awake night after night, Malco wistfully intones that she’ll “lose the battle and lose the war” against a crushing wall of guitars.
“’Creatures’ is about the thoughts that haunt you at night when you’re trying to sleep. When you think about all the things you’re failing at and it feels like no matter what you do you keep losing the game of life,” Malco said in a statement. “It’s about being tired, facing adulthood, leaving youth behind. It’s about pretending to hold it together when at night all the ugliness is plastered across all the walls you stare at from your bed.”
Listen to “Creatures” below.