(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #274: Kieran Leonard

By on Thursday, 5th December 2013 at 12:00 pm

The hipster literati in Austin next spring will no doubt flock to see British singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard, whose esoteric and often politically-charged folk rock challenges both emotion and intellect. His intensity may be off-putting at first, especially to a casual listener, but his entrancing singing voice and cynically provocative lyrics are worth a bit of extra attention.

The subject matter and presentation of Leonard’s work have been startlingly unique from the beginning of his career. His first EP ‘Scapegoat’ contained four songs, which were released individually on the first day of the full moon in four consecutive cycles, beginning in October 2009. In December 2010, Leonard released his debut single ‘Jerusalem’ to positive reviews, despite its stinging criticism of the Western cultural establishment. The song garnered Leonard a wider audience when film director Ridley Scott used it in his 2011 documentary ‘Life In A Day’.


At just over 4 years into his career, Leonard might be considered a journeyman by today’s manufactured pop music standards, especially after supporting larger acts like Bob Dylan at London’s Feis Festival in 2011 and Keane at Nottingham in November 2012. Leonard’s full-length debut album ‘Out of Work Astronaut’ was released in August 2012 and included the musically ironic, lyrically sardonic single ‘Harold Pinter is Dead’. But earlier this year, in what might be seen as an abrupt shift in the evolution of his musical style, Leonard released the hypnotically groovy, decidedly not folky ‘Hipster Jesus’. Whether this sudden change of pace is a temporary deviation or a permanent stylistic transformation for Leonard remains to be seen. Perhaps his performance at SXSW 2014 will provide more insight leading into the release of his second album.


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[…] Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch piece on Leonard here. […]

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