KYTLY’s latest single, “Begin Again,” is sparse indie-rock confessional from her forthcoming album, Detours And Exits, out October 13. Produced by Fountains of Wayne’s Brian Young (Jesus and Mary Chain, The Posies) and featuring a cast of musicians from Afghan Whigs, Jesus And Mary Chain, Brian Wilson’s band, Fountains of Wayne, if you’re going to start over, this is the way to do it.
More than a decade after debuting with the acclaimed but short-lived indie-rock outfit The Caraways — and following years of navigating the curves, hills, and valleys of existence — the bewitching Canadian vocalist and multi-media multi-talent has returned with her long-overdue appropriately-named new album.
“I found that title in one of my many songbooks,” explains KYTLY, the stage name of Hamilton, Ontario’s Laura Keightley. “I had circled it back in 2015 as the title of the album that I was working on back then and when I saw it again, it just spoke loudly about what my songs are about — relationships, heartbreak, starting over. Everything I write is personal. It’s bedroom diary-type stuff.”
Poised between the cool ’90s sounds of her youth and the dusky tones of desert-rock, these vintage-sounding tracks are rich with echoes of Mazzy Star, Julee Cruise, The Breeders, Cowboy Junkies and Nico. As a singer and songwriter, KYTLY is in excellent company.
When she asked the legendary Beach Boy Brian Wilson to play on her demos, he said he wanted to produce them. “She has a really wonderful vulnerability about her,” he says. “Her songs are really honest because she’s not afraid to take chances, to put down her feelings or thoughts and send it off into the ether. That can be incredibly difficult, to lay your soul bare like that. I appreciate that she let me look into that window.”
Working remotely over the course of a year from KYTLY’s demos and voice memos, Young filled these textured, cinematic cuts with VIP players from near and far: guitarists Jody Porter (Fountains Of Wayne), Jon Skibic (Afghan Whigs), bassist Mark Crozer (Jesus And Mary Chain), multi-instrumentalist JK Harrison (Brian Wilson), and more.
For her part, KYTLY has been chasing possibilities since she came to Canada from England at 12. Already dabbling on piano, she picked up a guitar and never looked back. Eventually she formed The Caraways with ex-Weakerthans bassist and husband John Sutton. The group issued a self-titled EP in 2010 and were just gaining steam when they split.
KYTLY began to plan her solo album while attending film school. She began a career as a creative on TV and film productions, art directing and set decorating. She even did some acting. But she never lost her musical sense of direction. And now she’s back on track.
“I feel like this album is a homage to my younger self, I hope that those coming of age and going through the ‘What am I doing with my life?’ phase — will find something in it…. I feel like I’m back to where I was supposed to be, creatively, 10 years ago.”