Known for her hazy, overcast, melancholy pop and lo-fi, tape-based production style, Katie von Schleicher is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter whose work sounds engaging and catchy while still reflecting the darker emotions of her lyrics.
Von Schleicher's breakthrough work found her using the sonic limitations of four-track cassette machines to her advantage, with the compression and wobbly tone common to the machines complementing the sweet but sour tenor of the melodies and the introspective bent of the songs. She produced her critical breakthrough with her third release, 2017's evocatively titled Shitty Hits, and 2020's Consummation was an experiment in marrying her style to a cleaner and more inviting production.
Born in Pasadena, Maryland, Katie von Schleicher's first material surfaced in 2012 with Silent Days, a bright, bluesy release with tight-knit production recorded over three days at the Soul Shop, an all-analog recording studio in Medford, Massachusetts. However, it was her sophomore effort -- a result of her experiences interning at Ba Da Bing Records in Brooklyn -- that began to turn heads. After label owner Ben Goldberg suggested that she put together a cassette for Ba Da Bing to release, she took the task to heart and handed in an entirely self-produced and engineered mini-album titled Bleaksploitation, in 2015. A couple of years in the making, the release boasted seven tracks made up of swirling, dark, lo-fi pop, laden with lyrics about paranoia, anxiety, and unrequited love. The record boasted an altogether darker and far more different sound palette than its predecessor; the slower tempos, fuzzy overdriven guitars, buried percussion, and von Schleicher's forlorn, drenched-in-reverb vocals garnered widespread acclaim, with many critics commending her for her bold approach to raw, emotional songwriting.
Following the success of Bleaksploitation, von Schleicher got to work on its follow-up. After two tries at recording the material in a proper studio -- one with an outside producer -- von Schleicher retreated to her parents' home in Maryland, where she once again cut basic tracks on a four-track cassette machine, later adding overdubs at her place in Brooklyn. Her debut full-length and third release overall, Shitty Hits arrived in the summer of 2017, once again via Ba Da Bing Records, and the album won over critics. For her second full-length effort, von Schleicher took a more ambitious approach, embracing a cleaner sound and a greater use of electronic instrumentation without entirely turning her back on her lo-fi roots. The LP, Consummation, appeared in May 2020. When she's not busy with her solo career, Katie von Schleicher also plays keyboards in the Brooklyn-based band Wilder Maker. ~ Rob Wacey & Mark Deming, Rovi