THEESatisfaction seem to have a pretty good handle on what it takes to make the grade at Radio K. The Seattle based hip-hop duo, consisting of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White, offer up a sound on awE naturalE that is hypnotic, diverse and expository; with lyrics that speak to anyone who happens upon the group’s debut release on Sub Pop. The Seattle musicians consider their music an ‘extension of themselves,’ releasing songs that pose questions while addressing topics that range from “needs” to “sweat.” As the divas that comprise THEESatisfaction prepare for list of shows in May, awE naturalE finds itself the focus of this week’s Weekly Release Spotlight.
THEESatisfaction’s debut full-length release draws inspiration from numerous genres of music, fostering a sound unlike any you’ll hear on radio today. Few vocalists compare with these two; “Cat,” a singer who provides a mellow stream sound through which “Stas” maneuvers, dropping lyrics that cut straight to the point. The tracks on awE naturalE are constructed with mathematical precision, weaving harmonies with beats twice looped to create a sound that is mysterious and driven. It’s a Seattle sound, one that moves; similar at times to the drone of a sitar. Tracks from awE natural seem to pass unnoticed, until a new beat with a new message signifies what’s up. The songs on awE natural demonstrate THEESatisfaction’s keen sense of structure in music. As artists, Cat and Stas stray from typical song writing techniques, using technology to create vibe that lures one to further explore their sound.
It’s difficult to categorize the THEESatisfaction, and the sound of awE naturalE, due to the pair’s unique approach to making music. The upbeat tempo and variety of environments you’ll encounter while listening to awE naturalE are pleasing to both the ear and the psyche. Whether THEESatisfaction is performing on the road, or creating a new sound in their living room, Radio K looks forward hearing more from Cat and Stas in the future. We also hope you enjoy this week’s Weekly Release Spotlight artist as much as we have!
Written by Todd Crotty, Radio K volunteer and Rock & Roll Over host
With their mellow funk beat revival sound, Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White emerge onto the scene as THEESatisfaction. Based in Seattle, WA, the incredibly dynamic duo are not afraid to give listeners a deep, distinct dose of their Pacific Northwest style on their debut LP, awE naturalE out on Sub Pop Records. They know you like it, and they know you are going to dance whether you want to or not.
The record is full of atmospheric sounds. On the song “Earthseed” we get a melancholic piano pounding out an unsettlingly catchy melody to the slightly scattered drumbeat. The last 30 seconds of the track spit creepily politicized lyrics that match the tone of the song perfectly, with the kicker, “THEESatisfaction could give a UHHH about a fascist.” Then, as if you just woke from a bad dream to find yourself at a classy salon-style party, we arrive at “QueenS”, the first single from awE naturalE. The beat is almost like a calming alarm clock, followed by the words, “leave your face at the door, turn off your swag, check your bag, from you limbs to your Timbs, get down… but whatever you do, don’t funk with my groove.” The smartly-named “Enchantruss” sounds like the background music to a haunted rollercoaster ride. The looping, chant-like vocal back beat is accompanied by mentions of Orson Welles, time-travelling nightmares, Archie Bunker and Black Jesus. If you took the best Erykah Badu and Common records and melted the vinyl down, what you would be left with when it cooled is this collection of 13 tracks.
On the whole, THEESatisfaction drops the needle on an energetic yet smooth ride through a debut record that shows great promise and demonstrates skill and passion. Stas and Cat fill the peaks and the grooves on awE naturalE with their sultry voices, honest emotion and clever style.
Written by Noel Clark, Radio K and Culture Queue volunteer