Kate Vargas, Strangeclaw

New York’s own outlaw indie folk/rock queen Kate Vargas released her album Strangeclaw today. We’re big fans of the unique sound she has provided through her 8-track release, and so we’ve got a little rundown of the whole thing. (P.S. You can stream it here too.)

“Second Skin” begins the album at a steady clip, and you’re immediately drawn in by Vargas’ interesting, rasp-ridden vocals. There’s no mistaking the “outlaw” claim on her work, as it’s got an undeniable vintage, wild west feel to it. “Who Knew What” begins slowly, as if the guitar is feeling out its sound space. Then it speeds up, as if the song itself is throwing its preconceived notions into the air. The chorus of this song could easily be placed in a pop song, and sounds similar to a Meghan Trainor piece, although we wouldn’t claim it as such. “Rise The Moon” takes its place in the third slot on Strangeclaw as a slow stunner, and Vargas’ affinity for utilizing her entire vocabulary becomes ever-more alluring.

“Bella Tell” is more instrumentally layered than its predecessors, a production of sorts from the beginning. Yes, she does sing “just a snakeskin Sally in an evening gown” and “you’re better off if you let me go” in her well laid out narrative of a badass woman. “12:31” is less notable, a song that deals with matters of the heart, but the sixth track is easily one of our favorites. “Call Back The Dogs” is slower, and feels much more raw in its simplicity. “Takes a little bit of prowess and a whole lot of luck” to stumble upon something this gorgeous in your lifetime, and we’ve found solace in this new release.

If you’re looking for a more seductive track, “Good Stuff” is what you’re yearning for. Besides the fact that the title already suggests what we don’t need to explain, the song approaches at a slow clip. If it’s possible, Vargas’ voice becomes even more breathy as she sings about karma in a roundabout way. “Sure enough, you’re gonna get what you need / And you may get the good stuff / I hope I get the good stuff / You could take the good stuff, baby, but you’re never gonna get what you want from me” is claim enough that a song can be sexy without the intent to be so. “In The Dust” rounds out the 8-track album, bringing it all back to the roots with a more folk sound to its instrumentals. This track reminds us of Vargas’ range – as if we could forget – and is the musical version of an afternoon sprawled out across fresh cut grass, caressed by the warmth of the sun.

A lot of this album is. And that’s pretty cool with us.

Strangeclaw is available now.