Highland Kites’ confessional anti-folk could easily be misconstrued as indie rock. With their angular grooves, new wave leanings and sharp-witted lyrics, the LA-based three piece exude an off-the-cuff coolness that is effortlessly backed by a hard earned substance.
The band is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Marissa Lamar who spent the majority of her 20’s very ill with Lyme disease. As the symptoms progressed, Lamar medication increased and she found herself stagnating as the years passed her by. She watched friends fall away and became resigned to her predicament; not entirely sure she was going to make it. Music emerged as her saving grace; giving her a reason to persevere and ultimately share her life-affirming strength as she overcame her illness.
By weaving hope, positivity and closure into her songs, Marissa was able to create compelling and often dark content that ultimately felt uplifting. She still maintains her “goal with music is to make people feel better even though most of my songs are themed around painful experiences.” With a few original tunes under her belt, Lamar began gigging solo around LA and finally formed Highland Kites in 2014 with drummer Neil Briggs. Their first EP, So Vicious, caught the attention of producer Raymond Richards (Local Natives, honeyhoney, etc) who reached out to the duo about working together. They all clicked immediately and Richards ended up producing their first full length album All We Left Behind which climbed the college radio charts in 2015, with over 70 stations putting it in heavy rotation, and garnered notable mentions in local press including a glowing article in Buzzbands LA.
Marissa and Neil teamed up with producer Richards for their last EP, “Let Me Run”, which was released in July 2016. While they felt free to dive into a more into varied pallet of sounds, Lamar is admittedly a staunch purist about her work and kept it is as close to its original state as possible. “I feel like parts of my past that I have had trouble talking about come out in waves and end up resulting in these songs and albums” Lamar asserts. “It’s a form of closure for me and after writing Let Me Run I felt like a million bricks were lifted off my shoulders.”
They have since added lead guitarist (Alex Edwards) to the band and are currently in the studio recording their next EP titled “I’m Not Weak” due to release in the summer.
“Highland Kites will affirm your faith in good music again. They represent all that is magical, real and missing in today’s music. This ‘All We Left Behind” CD delivers a highly diverse 10 track catalog via top flight production/musicianship, amazing songwriting and music that covers all the bases: Rock, Pop and Psychedelic-Alternative Rock at its finest.” (Full Article) – Skope Magazine
“Highland Kites have the creativity and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. What’s more: there is also a unique quality to this catalog that breaks the mold when compared to the mundane pop/rock that’s been filling the airwaves lately. What am I trying to say – well, let me start by saying there is nothing fake and superficial about Highland Kites.” (Full Article) – Bandblurb.com
“I’d go on about lyrics because they are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. They could be strung together run on sentences or they could be random bursts of consciousness ‘I’m not taking this anymore” spew. Personally, I feel that the importance is more in the meat. The answer is in the aural landscape. The rhyme and reason is in the textured textbook style of this masterfully crafted music delivered cleanly reminiscent of classic acts as La Roux, Ocina Pop, AlunaGeorge and Chvrches. The music itself sets a stage, tone, and feeling. But the serenity is soon blown away by what powerful A-Factor Lamar and the gang bring to the table via her amazing voice that reaches mountain heights and swoops down into the darkest caverns, churning and chugging along, lumbering, picking up to dizzying speed and dashing the listener against all manner of surfaces.” (Full Article) – Indie Music Reviews