If Little Kid has flown under your radar, please let me sound the alarm. Their new record, Transfiguration Highway, has quickly skyrocketed to my favorite album of 2020 (so far). It also joins Sun Milk as one of my favorite albums of all time. Little Kid writes catchy, emotionally-honest, and refreshing albums. Little Kid writes music for the soul.
Little Kid formed “in the year of our lord, 2009.” Vocalist Kenny Boothby heads the Toronto-based folk/slowcore four-piece. It doesn’t take much scrolling through their social media to see that Little Kid cares about advancing social causes and making sure everybody feels accepted.
It took me a while to find Little Kid. I hadn’t always used so many different social media or online platforms. I didn’t see them as necessary. When you get into a relationship, you learn of areas of growth you were blind to before. For example, my girlfriend showed me the magic of Spotify.
In my original pursuit of finding the music that I truly appreciated, I had relied mostly on music forums to suggest albums. Seldom did I ever consider getting Spotify. I had taken the development of my music taste into my hands and was molding it the way that I desired. I also had discovered several fantastic projects and artists that exist outside of Spotify.
Begrudgingly, I signed up one day because it would make sharing music easier with my significant other. Secretly, I was excited by the prospect of finding more music without as much legwork. I felt a little awkward as I was trying to feed Spotify’s algorithm with artists I had enjoyed: Duster, Crash of Rhinos, Delta Sleep, and Pinegrove was a great start.
I was mostly trying to find albums to like. I had always used the record as the standard measure of music. Many people have asked for my justification. I figured the tracks’ placement was intentional, and I wished to experience the music as the artist prepared it.
I was skeptical whether or not Spotify would be life-changing for me. I know a lot of modern music focuses on singles. For the first couple of months, I floated around Spotify’s algorithm as it got used to the songs I enjoyed. There were not many useful suggestions on Spotify’s part. They learned over time, though, and catch me when I am my weakest.
When I program or work on something, I tend to listen to music in the background. I find it assists in my productivity. It helps me set a cadence that I can usually follow throughout the execution of what I am doing. So when Spotify starts to suggest music after you finish listening to an album, I get slightly irritated because I get taken out of the headspace of that album.
While stuck amid my work, I had noticed that the music I was listening to was no longer the album that I had put on. Spotify had snuck a track in there that matched the mood so effortlessly. The album cover that greeted me as I checked my phone was a bunch of fish and some oddly comforting pink fish meat. The song was called “Dim Light Coming Down” by the band Little Kid.
Over the next month, I poured myself over each track of the album Sun Milk. To say it had become a fixture in my daily life would be an understatement. The album’s opener, “The Fourth,” starts with uncertainty. Extremely distorted guitars build tension before the guitars enter stage left and sweep you off your feet. Each note of the lead guitar is dripping with attitude as the rest of the instrumentation joins in. “Slow Death in a Warm Bed,” with its haunting chorus, crawls into your ear and refuses to let go. “Like A Movie” ends the seven-track album with a question that requires more listens of the album to answer.
Sun Milk had quickly become an album that I would now listen to when I needed to focus, relax, or release. Every time I listened to another song from the record, I found myself saying, “This is a fantastic song.” I would wake up in the morning, humming the lyrics and yearning to listen at every opportunity.
Sun Milk is the right blend of folk and slowcore that I didn’t know I needed. The songwriting is entrancing, and the drum work is crisper than a chip. You’d have to be the most curmudgeonly of people not to be filled with the energy of each groove Little Kid presents over the 41-minute tracklist. It is one of the few albums that I can listen to regardless of my mood.
When I find an album that I enjoy by an artist, I am hesitant to investigate their discography further. I think it is incorrect to go to a new album expecting the same product that artists made in the past. Music and creativity are not stagnant. Sometimes I find I don’t want more of that artist; I want more of that album.
I had stepped a toe into Little Kid’s discography in the past. Logic Songs pleased my folk sensibilities, but nothing leaped out at me as much as Sun Milk. As Sun Milk began to climb into one of my favorite albums of all time, I started to hear about Little Kid’s new album. Would it be what I had hoped?
Yes. Yes, it would. Transfiguration Highway is an album with quality track after quality track. “I Thought You’d Been Raptured” is infinitely clever and catchy as can be with the wailing harmonicas. “Thief on the Cross” has one of my favorite banjo parts of all time. “Close Enough to Kill” features the brilliant fragility in Kenny’s voice as it hangs on the acoustic guitar. “Pry” sends me off with one of the most relaxing tracks I’ve heard.
I think the best way to summarize this album was the first time I had listened to it. I put the record on in the background while I was having my Sunday and found myself repeatedly exclaiming, “This is a great song!” after every track. After repeated listens, I find this to be no less true.
Transfiguration Highway is an Album of the Year Candidate in my eyes.
The range of emotion conveyed in the songwriting is mind-blowing. I love how the album has songs on it that are upbeat and energetic while also having deep and truly intimate songs.
We live in a time that is confusing and frustrating for a lot of people. It can be hard to find emotional honesty and a voice. Little Kid is that cathartic voice. Nothing is stopping them from jamming out, then taking a step aside and talk about what hurts. Where some might be afraid to speak, Little Kid has a stable, unified, and heavenly voice.
Transfiguration Highway quickly joins Sun Milk as one of my favorite albums of all time, and I highly encourage you to listen to both. Please check out Solitaire Recordings. It is thanks to them that we can enjoy artists like Little Kid.Get in touch: