With over twenty albums and EPs uploaded to her Bandcamp in the past eight years, it’s clear Keel Her has one hell of a work ethic – and not much of a filter. Real name Rose Keeler-Schäffeler, her prolific musical output began as a way to make herself feel better when she was in her teens, where she would write a song every day as a form of self-therapy. This stream of consciousness caught both the meditative and the mundane details of her life in its net, and she’s a better songwriter today for it.
With her latest collection, With Kindness, Keel Her continues to use music as a release to process pain. The results are predictably – and appropriately – messy. Recorded during a time when she was stuck in a rut, the songs here are unpolished and deeply intimate, as if Keel Her is reading aloud pages from her diary.
“I look out and all I see is misery,” she admits on ‘Self-Sabotage’ over jittery guitar chords and droning electronics. Yet despite the heavy lyrics, it wouldn’t be accurate to call the song, or any others on the album for that matter, bleak, as Keel Her’s caustic sense of humour shines through on even its darkest moments. On ‘Two Thoughts’, she sings about feeling detached from reality but, with her deadpan delivery, it comes off as darkly comic rather than unsettling.
By design, With Kindness is rough around the edges but, even in its weaker moments, Keel Her is an empathetic, witty and honest storyteller.