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moon kissed

Moon Kissed took you to Heaven, but will you follow them to Purgatory? (Baby's All Right residency)

photo by Bob Greco

From three-act dramatic structure to verse-chorus-bridge song structure. From "morning, afternoon, and night" to "red, rosé, and white." From "solid, liquid, and gas" to “ass, gas, or grass.” Not to mention Three Blind Mice. Three Little Pigs. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. From classic fairy-tales to Hollywood blockbusters to religious belief systems—good things often come in threes, but so do some bad things too, just ask Star Wars fans they totally get it.

Moon Kissed get it too. For one thing, there’s three of them. Leah (drums/guitar), Emily (keys, vibes), and Khaya (mic/voice). And there’s three songs included on their latest EP, I’m On My Way, from earlier this year. In other words, they got this whole "Game of Threes" thing locked down. Not to mention how three years ago the Brooklyn-based threesome held their first CAN’T DENY THE CHEMISTRY three-part residency with “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll” as the chosen theme.

Then, last December they hit us with CAN’T DENY THE CHEMISTRY part two a.k.a. “Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice” as 2021’s tripartite theme spread over three nights with attendees on "Sugar" night encouraged to wear pastel pasties and candy underwear whereas Spice night it was leather and assless chaps and on Everything Nice night it was poodle skirts, slicked-back hair, and suburban ‘50s working husbands working a thong so yeah you get the idea.

And much like the neopagan goddess trinities of yore, Moon Kissed summon the magical, mystical chemistry of the number three with three-part parties aiming for more than your average rock show where “the purpose of these residencies isn’t just about seeing a show, it’s about having a night…going somewhere with your close friends that feels new and different, making new friends that feel old and familiar” with the help of a rotating cavalcade of hand-selected guest bands joining them at each installment.

And here we are in December 2022 which means that Khaya, Leah, and Emily are hosting their third three-part Chemistry residency with “Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell” as the theme this time around, and having already attended the first act of the third trilogy on 12/6/22 a.k.a. the Heaven Session our "force" was certainly awakened thanks to high-octane sets by Moon Kissed and very special guest Sir Chloe blowing the roof off God’s House (a.k.a. Baby’s All Right) with the overall divine party vibes only amplified by the amped-up audience dressed to the nines in heavenly garb…

…as witnessed above in a series of exclusive audience “vox pops” recorded at the show last week—with The Deli posing probing questions along the lines of “what is heaven to you?” and “what is sin to you?” and “what is the afterlife to you?” to attendees—and as witnessed also in the video at the top of this page, a Deli-exclusive film montage of Moon Kissed on stage last Tuesday as filmed and edited by Daniel Moore with more "Deli Magazine Films" to come no doubt…

…and as you may have already guessed “Purgatory” is up next this Thursday (12/15) with fashion ideas including “mesh, glitter, messy eye makeup, a realistic robot arm, SO much hair gel, and condoms as earrings,” and with Raavi opening the night and Amber Valentine DJing, it’s guaranteed to be another barn burner filled to the rafters with highly combustible good vibrations…

…and when it comes to the whole Purgatory theme it’s admittedly a bit more ambiguous than either Heaven or Hell but that's cool cuz here at the Deli we’re all about complexity and nuance and being mildly confused by life plus it feels apropos to Moon Kissed’s latest release, i.e. I’m On My Way, which after all was recorded during the purgatory-like period of the last major NYC lockdown about a year ago…

with songs “centered around a theme of stuckness and…different angles of breaking free” and with the EP overall being “one step along the way to telling a longer story that is our 3rd album, which is looking like it’s gonna be a story landing…somewhere” so take that George Lucas and stick it up your Disney Plus :)

And, finally, just for kicks we asked the members of Moon Kissed which one of their songs outside of the EP (too obvious!) best put across being in a Purgatory-like state and they replied with “‘Cavalier’, a song about existential dread [and] the repetitive nature of sinking and pulling yourself back up, and ‘Cycles’, a song about the loop of dating shitty guys," a live performance of which can be witnessed below...

…with Moon Kissed going on to explain that “our take on Purgatory is like early 2000s indie sleaze DJ culture meets mysticism. Like Paris Hilton giving a psychic reading at the red room in Twin Peaks. DJ Pauly D sitting in a hot tub, music pumping, talking aloud to himself about what happens after death" so now you know the vibes.

And these are vibes you def won’t wanna miss if you're anywhere near Brooklyn this Thursday night at which point you'll wanna gussy yourself up in mesh and glitter and runny mascara and screw on that robot arm tight in prep for the strange satisfaction of Purgatory. (Jason Lee)



Moon Kissed have something important to tell you and right now may be a good time to listen

Released earlier this Fall (shades of Milton’s Paradise Lost entirely intentional given recent trends) the second full-length by Moon Kissed, called I’d Like To Tell You Something Important (its title a callback to their first record) is a deeply human fusion of contradictory yet complimentary impulses—ranging from its chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out opener “Bubblegum” (“chew you up you're just like bubble gum / I’ll spit you out when I’m done”) to its chew-me-up-and-spit-me-out closer “Chameleon” (“Chameleon, I’ll change for you / I’ll do what you want me to / until I don’t know who I am”) a dialectical lyricism mirrored by Emily, Khaya and Leah's impressively wide-ranging musical palette—skipping like a stone across songs featuring sweet poptimistic flirtation, grinding electro trepidation, epic party-anthem-ification, hushed diary-entry introspection, operatic power-ballad salvation, stripped-down spoken-word elucidation. and last-call-for-alcohol piano-bar romantic resignation.

But no matter how varied the emotional and sonic landscape, it all comes across as a coherent statement—to the extent that raw, urgent passion can be considered “coherent" but let's not get off track here—with the full tapestry of the LP woven together by the consistently ultra-vivid, ultra-visceral nature of the songwriting and arrangements. Indeed, it seems Moon Kissed have got something important to tell us after all. 

Not to knock their first record at all (2019’s I Met My Band At A New Years Eve Party and I stand by my earlier statement that  “Runaway” should by rights be widely known as one of the top bops from the past several years) but in the interim Moon Kissed have taken things to the next level when it comes to making even their more synth-heavy numbers feel entirely organic to the point where practically every song feels like it’s about to crawl out of its own skin, whether due to anticipation or anxiety, dread or desire, morphing and mutating from one moment to the next, a quality that applies equally to Khaya’s vocalizing and also to the production work on ILTTYSI (and even to more lo-fi numbers like how on "Chameleon" the audibly squeaky piano sustain pedal makes you feel like you're sitting there in the same room where it's being performed) a sonic elasticity that helps account for how all the synthetic and organic textures blend together so seamlessly on the record (including the stark cowbell part on "Saturday Night" that nearly rescues the instrument from sketch comedy hell).

What’s more, I’d Like To Tell You Something Important coheres not just musically but also thematically, organized around a central theme of pleasure and its (dis)contents. Or, as Moon Kissed themselves put it on the penultimate track “Bender,” “Let me try to make this better / Let me evaluate my pleasures,” which is a song that both Lady Gaga and Lin Manuel-Miranda must desperately wish they’d written. Except they'd each probably choose to repeat the final rousing chorus a couple more times (at least) so kudos to Moon Kissed for displaying the restraint and self-confidence to leave us wanting more. 

Anyway, safe to say, many permutations of pleasure appear across the album’s 35-minute run time, not only in terms of the most simple-minded mission to “have a good time, all the time” but also in terms of the oft-overlooked complexities of pleasure--whether pleasure as politics (gender politics in particular), pleasure as escapism, pleasure as transcendence, pleasure as power, pleasure as surrender, pleasure as spiritual and/or psychological and/or physical salvation. In a word, pleasure! 

And Moon Kissed don’t limit their pleasure explorations only to making records either. Because their live shows bring an even bigger dose of pleasure to audiences with fearless heart-on-sleeve, inhibitions-stripped-away abandon and a determination to have a good time all the time. On this note, over the past several weeks Moon Kissed have undertaken a three-week residency at the Ridgewood, Queens D.I.Y. spot known as Trans-Pecos with each of the three shows organized around the theme of “Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice” with each ingredient engaged sequentially. (first show “Sugar,” second show “Spice,” etc.)

Except that the triptych-concluding “Everything Nice” event scheduled for tonight was cancelled/postponed out of an abundance of Omicron caution. And to think that tonight's opener Kate Davis should’ve been taking the stage right about now if not for that pesky mutating virus. But on the plus side at least it gives you more time to work on putting together a truly impactful outfit for Everything Nice, whenever it happens to happen, with potential inspirations including (quoting directly from the party flyer here) "poodle skirts, kitten heels, 50s fantasy housewife with a beard, 50s working husband but with a thong, sexism as an outfit, strap ons, breast plate, drag make up, curlers" and I’m gonna go ahead and add "cha-cha heels" to the list cuz I doubt they'd mind and I'm secretly hoping to receive a pair for Christmas.

Which brings us to one last newly-relevant-yet-again-selling-point for ILTTYSI which is that it’s a great lockdown listen, an album conceived and recorded in part during lockdown numero uno or are we still keeping count—meet the new year, same as the old year—that's chock full of the frustrated pent-up passion that's highly familiar to the socially-distanced set by now, besieged as we are by “lonel[iness] and heavy memories [that] linger like a gymnast on a beam that isn’t steady” prone to “walking off cliffs in [our] dreams / wak[ing] up in sweat and it’s hard to breath” counterbalanced by coping skills such as “buying…ice cream to see if it gets better / but nothing’s getting better at all” and finally resigned to the fact that “if the world is about to blow / [we] may as well lose control” to loosely paraphrase various lines from the album. 

And yeah I’m probably making it sound like a pretty despairing set of tunes but it’s really not—there’s plenty of life-affirming lyrics as well (“we should run around the city / everybody kissing everyone / cuz we all know what we all want”) not to mention the overall inspiring live-wire intensity of the music. In fact it’s one of the most life-affirming albums this writer has heard in a while.

So maybe just settle in for the evening, change into your best club duds and put on I’d Like To Tell You Something Important and then dance around your bedroom like it’s Your Own Private Idaho for the rest of the night (and the next night, and the next night) and when you get tired of ILTTYSI you can put on Moon Kissed’s single from earlier this year called “Clubbing In Your Bedroom” and its crowd-sourced, quarantine-themed music video and rave on for the rest of the night or the rest of your life. (Jason Lee) 


Drug Couple & Moon Kissed live tonight

It's my working hypothesis that Becca and Miles are hands down the cutest drug-buddies-slash-couple since the dazed heydays of Juliana and Evan Lemonhead who once dueted on a song called "My Drug Buddy" about just this exact subject. And c'mon I mean being drug buddies with benefits, how much better can life possibly get? Well I'll tell ya how it does, you could also be in a cool indie band together--a cool indie band that could've very plausibly scored a gig at the Peach Pit if this were ah say 1995 meaning you could hang out together with Brandon & Kelly and Brenda & Dylan in cute couple nirvana much like the Flaming Lips and the Cramps and the Cardigans before them. 

In celebration of this winning trifecta of lovin' touchin' and squeezin' the previously mentioned Becca and Miles (have you forgotten the first paragraph already?! maybe slow down on those drugs bubby!) named their musical collaboration Drug Couple. Also not unlike Evan and Juliana before them and their various musical projects over the years, the Drug Couple couple have quite a knack for writing sugary sweet pop hooks backed up by musical textures that can veer from pleasantly jangly to pleasantly jagged at a moment's notice (case in point being the opening track from their 2020 EP called Choose Your Own Apocalypse ((which really is the best any of us can hope for these days)) with said track being called "2027" which is a year that can't get here soon enough). 

And dammit if Becca and Miles are not deceptively wholesome enough to take home to Mom and Dad should you choose to form a thruple with the couple and just in time for Valentine's Day you lucky dog. With all of this in mind and given that Drug Couple are pretty easy on the eyes I don't feel wrong in recommending that you watch them play a live set coming up here in a few hours at 8pm EST--streamed on one of the Deli's very favorite virtual concert outlets known as BABY TV--after which you will no doubt be moved to exclaim, and here I quote the esteemed Steve Sanders after having witnessed the aforementioned Flaming Lips play "She Don't Use Jelly" live at the Peach Pit: "You know, I've never been a big fans of alternative music but these guys rocked the house!"

And here's a big bonus and added incentive. Drug Couple will be sharing the stage with Moon Kissed, an also very cute thruple (in the musical sense that is) who are likewise highly skilled at combining big melodic pop hooks with rocking the f*ck out and if you don't believe me peep the song above which as far as I'm concerned should have been declared the "Song of the Summer" in 2019 when it came out and for every summer subsequently. Moon Kissed are also recent Deli Artists' of the Month so rest assured you should keep an eye out for what these ladies have coming up soon... (Jason Lee)


From the submissions: moon kissed

Fusing together indie pop and guerrilla riot grrrrl influences, the NYC band moon kissed is making music that touches on to the fun, impulsive sides of self. The bite-sized 3-song debut EP showcases an ability to craft pop music that is both self-aware and danceable. The three leading band members, known only as Emily, Khaya, and Leah are exploring a side of young womanhood that thrives on shared emotional expression and collaboration. Their music is sweet and conversational, swelling dramatically as if to invite listeners to a show.

Notwithstanding the early 2000s nostalgia (we prefer references to earlier musical eras!), moon kissed manages to combine influences and personal experience in a way that is original and fresh sounding. You can see them live at the Bowery Electric on July 2nd. - Susan Moon

This artist submitted music for coverage here.


This artist submitted music for coverage here.



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