It’s easy to assume. It’s also easy to be wrong.
September 16 delivers the 20th anniversary of Kula Shaker’s debut album K, a record born in the glory days of Britpop but rooted in a rather unique — given the pages of the NME, Melody Maker, and Select at the time — mix of psychedelic rock, Hindu and world music influences, and Indian culture. Ten days after K’s double-decade anniversary, the band starts a 10-date North American tour here in Boston, at Brighton Music Hall, while a new record, K 2.0, finally gets a stateside release, a little more than seven months after it premiered in their native United Kingdom.
Now, given all this — a very rare North American tour, a 20th anniversary of their debut and an album with “2.0” in the title — it’d be easy to think that a) K 2.0 is some sort of re-issue, with shiny new studio sessions of live cuts of the band’s familiar hits like “Tattva” and “”Govinda”, and b) Kula Shaker are banking purely on nostalgia.
Shockingly, neither of those things are true. While billed as a “companion piece” to K, Kula Shaker’s K 2.0 is not some laurel-resting re-release, but instead its own album of new material. And, maybe even more shockingly, it also contains perhaps Kula Shaker’s greatest song yet, a fresh-as-a-daisy guitar rock firecracker jam called “2 Styx” that wasn’t even included on February’s UK release.
According to Culture Collide, which premiered the song’s live video earlier today, “2 Styx” is the tack-on final track on the domestic version of K 2.0, and we’ll admit to having no clue if the rest of the record is this solid. But in an age of singles, who cares? And if this was recorded this year and now tacked on the US version of K 2.0 (K 3.0?), maybe it suggests Kula Shaker have even more to give. Because in an age of bands from the mid-’90s re-issuing every possible thing imaginable (we see you, Oasis, Suede, The Verve, and on and on), it’s great to have a song from a band of that Cool Britannia era actually top all the previous releases of theirs that stuffed the import bins two decades ago.
Few bands of Kula Shaker’s time can say that. Peep their stateside tour dates below, and fire up “2 Styx” to welcome the weekend.
Kula Shaker North American Tour
9/26 – Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
9/27 – World Café, Philadelphia, PA
9/29 – Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY
9/30 – Rough Trade, Brooklyn NY
10/2 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
10/4 – Crocodile, Seattle WA
10/5 – Star Theater, Portland, OR
10/7 – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
10/8 – Roxy, Los Angeles, CA
10/9 – Belly Up, San Diego, CA