King Of Heck is the rebirth of Alaska, a band from Nevada that hailed within the D.I.Y. scene for years. After a brief hiatus, the quartet found their way back to telling stories via music with glory and power. On August 9th, the group will release Shine in My Chest — via Community Records — the latest release of emotive, math rock driven tunes. Joel Kirschenbaum, one of the vocalists and one of the guitarists on the release, comments about the quartet coming back “We’ll always be together in some way. These people are my family, I care about their lives and well-being in a way that is beyond a friendship. A burden, but one we are happy to have. A good burden. It is a gift to have such a life with them. It will be a weird day when we are no longer making music together, but we will always have the music that we made.”
Seven songs are present on Shine in My Chest, with each one burning bright with a specific entanglement of melodies and sonic experiences. “I Still Want To Go” features horns, quiet, meditative lyrics and a slow burn of swelling emotions. In contrast, “BB Bricked Out” rips forth with a phase tinged guitar, with Kirschenbaum screaming through the lyrics with urgency. Tyler Kawada, the clean vocals on the record, offers a bit of stellar peace. Kirschenbaum comments, “the album is just the shiny lil microcosm of the world we live in. Too bright too look at, but when you do it burns itself into the eyes. Glance away, but the way ahead is obscured by a silhouette of the past. If the afterglow is introspection, I wish to be that shiny too. I hope we have been growing and learning. Distilling our experiences into punk rock. It feels like we have taken our whole lives and scrambled them into a little listen for the whole world!”
Having spent a few eternities on the road, Kirschenbaum and company still find that energy to the scene. “The scene is cool. I wish I had my ear as close to the ground as I used to. Back when I started touring I was so caught up in the energy. I love that we just drove around the country, broke as shit and still had the times our lives. Everyone you met back then seemed to be a reaffirmation of the thought that ‘art is not impossible.’ I think the circumstances of adulthood require some more money and some deeper consideration for the uprooting of life every couple months, but I hope that I feel the same way about the road now as I did at 18! I love art and the world, so it should be chill.”
This record has something for everyone. “3AM is my favorite” Kirschenbaum reflects, continuing, “it’s honest and personal which is not the usual vibe ‘round here. Also the working title was ‘Worm’ which is a good word to describe how the world feels sometimes.”
As an individual who spent time on the road with Alaska, hearing King Of Heck is an absolute joy. This record is an honest light for the scene. As stated by Kirschenbaum, “King of Heck is the jams for the weird kid,” and while there are plenty of twisting melodies, time signatures and complex sounds, Shine in My Chest is a rejoice for the D.I.Y. community.