Release Date: Feb 25, 2014
Record label: Critical Heights
Although this is Rose Keeler-Schaffeler's debut album, these 18 tracks represent only a small fraction of what we’ve already heard from Keel Her. Over the last couple of years, Keeler-Schaffeler has been posting lo-fi, hi-energy nuggets of fuzz onto her SoundCloud account at a rate which outstrips pretty much any other DIY artist of a record-it-blog-it disposition. At full stride, she was smashing out a song a day: laying down the looped electronics and overdriven guitars in the evenings, adding vocals in the mornings before another shift at the pub.
Keel Her is Rose Keeler-Schäffeler, an alien-obsessed bedroom musician with a prolific workrate to show up every studio-dithering band as heel-dragging slackers. The 18 tracks collected on this debut are a mere sample of the hundreds the Brighton artist has posted online in recent years, a patchwork of lo-fi hits, throwaway doodles and flashes of studio inspiration. Its mixtape nature means it isn’t yet the concise album Keel Her might one day produce, but the breezy likes of ‘Go’, ‘Riot Girl’ and ‘Don’t Look At Me’ are tuneful pop pastiches in the vein of Dum Dum Girls and Ariel Pink.
Keel Her is the non-de-plume of Rose Keeler-Schäffeler who, in the past year or so, has become the most prolific songwriter you’ve never heard of. Almost on a daily basis, Keeler-Schäffeler has been uploading songs to Soundcloud and making the blogosphere sit up and take notice. Inevitably, gigs have followed, and lo-fi legend R Stevie Moore has even become something of a mentor figure.
With a SoundCloud account that pays testimony to a one-time habit of writing, recording and uploading a song every day, and a collaboration with R Stevie Moore before she’s even reached adulthood proper, that this is Rose Keeler-Schäffeler’s debut long-player comes as somewhat of a surprise. So it’s probably best to view ‘Keel Her’ less as an album, more as a compilation – the choice to include remixes on a record is usually made six months later in a desperate ‘deluxe’ release; here she’s opted for two – and scattered them in the middle. Sounds veer from the nursery rhyme-esque ‘Only Geeks Come Bearing Gifs’ to the scuzzy punk of ‘Wanna Fuck’ via the more familiar fuzz-pop of ‘Don’t Look At Me’.
With a home-recording productivity rate to rival Robert Pollard, the prolific Brighton-based Rose Keeler-Schäffeler has furnished the musical world with a large body of work in a relatively short space of time. Until now though, her output under the Keel Her alias has been scattered across Soundcloud streams, Bandcamp downloads, limited edition cassettes and a handful of 7” singles. Seeking to institute some semblance of order and more orthodox context for the Keel Her canon comes this first ‘official’ eponymous LP for Critical Heights; which rounds-up old, reworked and new material cut between 2011 and 2013.