Following her announcement of headlining North American and European tours, Kelela is back today to share a new song. “Frontline”, the second offering from Kelela’s forthcoming debut album, is now available everywhere and follows lead single and video “LMK.”
“Frontline” originally debuted on HBO’s hit show Insecure which has recently become a destination for bold music programming and one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows currently on air. It is currently available to stream or purchase at the link above.
Take Me Apart is due October 6th via Warp Records, and is available for pre-order now. Starting in October in Mexico City, Kelela will play shows across North America through November before heading to Europe for a slew of dates that will conclude in December in Amsterdam.
Hear “Frontline” and pre-order Take Me Apart above, and see below for the previously released video for “LMK,” full tour routing, album details, and further information about Kelela.
“Kelela has an excellent voice, and she employs it in ambitious ways, a dedication to craft that precedes any sonic innovation, not simply raising the bar but reminding lucky listeners where it might’ve once been.” – The New Yorker
“Kelela is not here to play – she makes that clear from the outset of her new video for the hook-up single ‘LMK.'” – NPR
“an empowered and liberating song that asserts not just a woman’s agency, but also Kelela’s power as an artist.” – Pitchfork
“‘LMK’ isn’t a flirtation – it’s a negotiation, close to an ultimatum.” – The New York Times
“These are the intonations of someone who has the music world’s attention, a new album on the way, and no time to play games.” – The Ringer
“Artists, guard your Song of the Summer contenders close: Kelela did not come to play.” – Vulture
“If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with R&B vixen Kelela immediately.” – Billboard
9/2-3 – Philadelphia, PA @ Made in America Festival – TICKETS
9/24 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl – TICKETS
10/20 – Mexico City, MX @ Sala Corona – TICKETS
10/29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent – TICKETS
10/30 – Oakland, CA @ The New Parish – TICKETS
11/1 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater – TICKETS
11/2 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos – TICKETS
11/5 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry – TICKETS
11/6 – Chicago, IL @ Promontory – TICKETS
11/7 – Detroit, MI @ El Club – TICKETS
11/9 – Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground – TICKETS
11/10 – Montreal, QC @ Belmont – TICKETS
11/11 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs – TICKETS
11/12 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom – TICKETS
11/13 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom – TICKETS
11/16 – Washington, D.C. @ U Street Music Hall – TICKETS
11/17 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall – TICKETS
11/18 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Hell Stage) – TICKETS
11/20 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa – TICKETS
11/21 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Downstairs – TICKETS
11/27 – Manchester, UK @ Gorilla
11/29 – London, UK @ Heaven
12/1 – Paris, France @ Gaite Lyrique
12/2 – Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix Club
12/7 – Berlin, Germany @ Berghain
12/9 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Debaser Strand
12/11 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Pumpehuset
12/12 – Hamburg, Germany @ Uebel & Gefährlich
12/13 – Amsterdam, Holland @ Tolhuistuin
With great anticipation, Kelela’s debut album emerges as an epic portrait of an artist spanning the past and future of R&B. In her hands, however, the genre knows no boundaries and so Take Me Apart exists as an absolutely singular and fearless addition to a canon of recent classics. From her very earliest work, honesty and vulnerability have been cornerstones of Kelela’s art – even when clad in the armor of the avant-garde electronics she so deftly inhabits – and Take Me Apart sees her double down on both the emotional intensity and resonance of her message as well as the sonic seeking she is renowned for.
On 2015’s acclaimed Hallucinogen EP, Kelela swept listeners along in the rush of ecstasy and the melancholic vapor trail of a hopeful, but ultimately doomed liaison. Hallucinogen would prove to be a turning point, and The New York Times would name it’s single, “Rewind”, one of the “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going”. The EP’s oversized impact would ignite a period of kinetic worldwide live shows culminating in Kelela crisscrossing the globe on tour with The xx. In parallel with this, 2016 and early 2017 would see Kelela grace a handful of crucial records as a feature vocalist – from longtime ally Solange’s majestic A Seat At The Table, to Danny Brown’s immense Atrocity Exhibition and most recently, the star-studded Humanz from Gorillaz.
These appearances would be tantalizing signs leading the way to Take Me Apart. Amplifying the ideas explored on Hallucinogen, here Kelela treats relationships and their effects like a Matryoshka doll, unveiling layer after layer to find herself at the center. Expressing an honest vision of how we navigate dissolving ties with each other and yet remain sanguine for the next chance at love,the emotional ricochet is traced across the album’s narrative. Take Me Apart stands not only as an intensely personal chronicle, but also a defiant and turbulent statement direct from Kelela; “Despite it being a personal record, the politics of my identity informs how it sounds and how I choose to articulate my vulnerability and strength. I am a black woman, a second-generation Ethiopian-American, who grew up in the ‘burbs listening to R&B, Jazz and Björk. All of it comes out in one way or another.”
The process of crafting Take Me Apart embraced the approach of widely collaborative R&B, hip-hop and pop production while roaming a strange and wonderful path. Working with a cast of peers, Kelela deconstructs many results of their collaborations and builds them back up into pieces of a cohesive whole, effectively orchestrating these multitudes in aid of her singular vision. “It’s this tapestry I’ve knitted together that attracts different types of listeners and challenges them at the same time, often within the same song. That’s what I want to bring to my entire catalogue” says Kelela. Testament to this approach, the album opens with a stunning trio of high points from the low-slung mechanized swing of ‘Frontline’ to the kaleidoscopic splendor of ‘Waitin’ – by which point you’ve been pulled straight into the tale Kelela is weaving, and the warped and chaotic beauty of the title track before dropping into ‘Enough’ which sounds as if it could have been transmitted from a neon-lit jazz club in Akira’s Neo-Tokyo.
The timeless, zero-gravity ballad ‘Better’ sees Kelela at her most unadorned – baring her soul to a nameless other over subtly transforming piano and synth textures while first single ‘LMK’ is all staggering club swagger that manages to span the past 20 years of innovative R&B while still exploring another dimension of possibilities. These songs typify the melding of classic song-craft and inventive production approach at the album’s core, but it’s here where things take yet another exhilarating turn. ‘Truth or Dare’ has the brittle snap and vocal twists of a Neptunes track while ‘Blue Light’ sees Kelela weld her sweeping pleas to the warped sonic palette of Grime, pointing the way forward to a possible future of cybernetic soul.
Now we are swept into the slipstream of a pair tracks in ‘On And On’ and the otherworldly grandeur of ‘Turn To Dust’, which conjures images of the powerful and iconic diva of Besson’s The Fifth Element; and it’s a short trip to the unforgettable pneumatic gospel of album closer ‘Altadena’, a perfect uroboros link back to ‘Frontline’ to begin the saga all over again. At this point you’re left with the feeling that this trip through Take Me Apart is one you’ll be making many more times.