Harnessing timeless groove and magisterial queer black power, NYC 4-piece Dakota Jones is set to release their debut full-length album, Black Light on August 27th 2021. XS Noize is pleased to premiere the album exclusively today.
In an age where artistic merit is awarded to those who shout the loudest, Dakota Jones pride themselves on an unwavering ability to leave a lasting impression. Spearheaded by Tristan Carter-Jones fierce and unashamedly uncensored songwriting, the band’s fast-growing reputation as formidable live act has stamped Dakota Jones with the hell-hath-no-fury power of Chaka Khan, the wild spontaneity of Janis Joplin, and the honey-dripping sensuality of Marvin Gaye. Their debut album’s message of proud black heritage and triumphant queerness manifests itself in Carter-Jones’ ability to challenge norms of adulthood and femininity as she takes a deep dive into some of life’s most visceral emotions.
Tristan Carter-Jones: “I’m a black, queer woman expressing myself through love and music. Some folks still find that to be a transgressive act in and of itself. I work to fight that idea. I write a lot about my sexuality and the ways in which I express it. Songs about sex and love bounce back and forth between songs about heartache, hangovers and self-medication, and the pleasure and pain of truly finding yourself. I don’t think we get to hear these things from a woman’s mouth as often as we should.”
Black Light track by track:
Did It To Myself - Did It To Myself opens with "stretch marks from growing pains," and that's what it's all about. It's the ups and downs of learning and growing up, and the mess that can ensue. Maybe I'm going too fast and too hard, maybe I need to slow down. But if things get messed up at least, this time, I have no one else to blame. I did it to myself.
Black Light - Black Light is seeing someone across a steamy room on a hot Friday night. All you need to see are their lips in the crowd to know you found your person for the evening. Why don't you and I get into some trouble tonight?
Bad Games - Bad Games is a fever dream about a modern day Bonnie and Clyde. Simply put, it's the thrill of doing very bad things, and that thrill becoming an aphrodisiac. Momma, don't stay up late - I'm going out, don't know when I'll make it back home.
Bloody Murder - Bloody Murder is a song for the bad kids. It's about doing what you want, when you want, and damn you if you have anything to say about it. Yeah I'm drinking, yeah I'm blacking out. What of it?
Medicine - I wrote Medicine after a drunken tryst at a party, and was originally a poem called "I've Never Had a Sober Sexual Encounter." It's about only being able to open up and ask for what, or whom, you want with the encouragement of alcohol. The feeling of freedom that you have when you're making those drunk decisions, and the feeling of darkness that you have when you try to reconcile it in the light of day.
Lord Please - Lord Please is a real prayer that I say to myself more than I'd care to admit. A prayer for the feeling of anxiety, for being overwhelmed, for not knowing whether to go left or right. A prayer for the guidance to do what you need to do. Lord please help me keep my head on straight.
Black Magic - Black Magic is the end of a romance that you don't know how you wound up in in the first place. You don't know the who what when where why of what's going on, you just know that it's really fucked you up. And now it's over. It's the feeling of not being able to stand someone, but not being able to stand without them either.
Like That - You get your heart broken, but you finally are on the verge of healing. You find someone else to give your love to, but it turns out it's the exact same situation as your last heartbreak. "Here I go to hell again." You want to leave but you need to stay, even knowing that your heart is going to get broken once again. It's a fool me twice situation that feels so good you just can't let it go. Shame on me.
Down Slow - Down Slow is about falling in real love for the first time. Everything feels right and perfect - so much so that you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, if we're not on the same page and you're not in it like I am, please let me know. But do it gently 'cause I've never been here before and I don't want this feeling to destroy me.
Noise - I wrote Noise right after the 2016 election. I remember waking up the night after the election, and feeling pure panic and fear in my body. I met up with the boys in the band shortly afterwards, and they were able to laugh about how ridiculous it all was. That stark difference between my panic and their laughter inspired this song. I didn't understand how any of it was a laughing matter, especially to boys in a band with a black female lead singer. I wanted them to feel what I was feeling. I wanted them, as people in a place of privilege, to stand up for what I was feeling, stand up for injustice, stand up for all of the things we need to change as a country. I wanted their rage, and I wanted their noise. It's a rallying cry.
California - California is a driving song. One of those songs that was made for rides in a convertible on the Pacific Coast Highway. It's about getting away - or running away. It's feeling an overwhelming feeling of love for someone, but wanting to deny that feeling because you think it's wrong. "I love to sin with you baby," but my knees are buckling under the weight of this emotion and it's too much for me to stand. A feeling so powerful that you're afraid to give in to it, for fear of the consequences. But at the end of the day, giving in to that feeling will allow you to stand in your truth, and might be the answer after all.
Listen to Black Light - BELOW:
Dakota Jones’s Black Light will be available from August 27th 2021