"It's good stuff...She didn't match what was in my head. She tattoos. She sings some cool simple songs that have a lot of texture. She reminds me of Joanna Newsom, but with a bit more going on..."
Jeff, Super Happy Funtime Blog
"Karen's new disc, Whales Standing, is a strikingly mature effort for a debut release and it shows her songwriting moving closer to a Jenny Lewis/Hope Sandoval style than the Kim Gordon/Cramps sounds of Bugs in the Dark."
Mike, Brooklyn Rocks Blog
"When I first heard about Karen Rockower’s (pronounced “Rock-Hour”) day job as a tattoo artist and saw her album cover with her sitting there with tatted sleeves and dark hair, I didn’t know what to expect from her debut solo album, Whales Standing. But I did, very wrongly, anticipate a Kat von D-esque, butch, tranny, scratchy voice to emit from my speakers. I was pleasantly surprised though, when out came a sweet voice very similar to that of Regina Spektor’s light and airy voice … Only lightier and airy-er. But don’t let the sweetness fool you; Rockower’s rock background (she’s venturing on her own after playing guitar and singing for rock band Bugs in the Dark) and big imagination will surprise you in her solo debut.
The album starts off with the eerie “Drawing Roses,” where we instantly get a glimpse into Rockower’s dark and dreamy, yet somehow sweet and innocent musical stylings. The first lyrics we hear are “Like prongs around a stone/We’re holding on to what we know/I can guess what you might say/I want the dress, I want the day/I’ve been drawing roses/Yeah, yeah, yeah.” The strong horns, eerie thunderous wind and “shoo-wah-shoo-wah” can definitely be confusing but it’s such an interesting combination of sounds and emotions.
The third track of the album, and my personal favorite, is “Evelyn.” Here we hear almost cacophonous key work juxtaposing her 1930’s style voice; and by that I mean it has that (dare I say it again?) sweet and almost child-like appeal to it. I love the honesty of an embarrassing scene playing out on a drunken night and the play on words in the lyrics of the chorus: “Thought you were different, what was I thinking?/Should never have told you when we were drinking/Don’t take the bottle, don’t give me water/Don’t think you’ll stop me by calling my mother/This is my night, I’ll have it with you/Saying goodbye is all you can do/One more shot/Give me one more shot/One more shot/Get rid of what I got/All of my laughing, I was just faking/All of my love, you were just taking” This little ditty containing clever word play proves that Rockower knows what she’s doing and isn’t just some pretty face out to make a buck.
Another highlight off of Whales Standing is the creepy “Little Heart.” Starting off with more eerie background noise, a stalking single-string guitar melody and that voice of hers, giving the song a ghostly vibe. The chorus builds up with more guitar and big drums to complete the feeling that has potential to give you the chills.
Whales Standing is almost a contradiction of itself with the dark vibes Rockower implements using her music and her uncharacteristically pleasant and light voice lightening it up somehow. Karen Rockower’s solo debut is strangely captivating and a great start for this former lead singer. The music itself is great and the lo-fi style and her visually stunning songwriting makes Rockower a potential stand-out performer!"
Sara, Enter The Shell Blog
"Whales Standing” is a game changer. Creepy lullabies for ladies and gents alike. Its also the most adventurous sonic insanity I’ve ever created. All of the sounds are 100% analog. Collecting all those old keyboards is finally paying off…"
Producer, Mark Turrigiano, Brooklyn, NY
From the first moment her voice pierces the air, it’s immediately clear that Karen
Rockower is not just another pretty singer/songwriter. Live, she’s a force to be
reckoned with, an ethereal, tattooed beauty with innate powers of mesmerization.
Stage presence aside, it’s her voice that spellbinds. Dulcet and pure, yet
edged with a raw energy and emotion that entice the audience into her sonic
The eldest girl and third in a line-up of seven children, Karen’s artistic prowess
and nonconventionality were apparent from an early age. Rejecting formal
lessons, she taught herself to play piano and then guitar by ear and feel. As a
young performer, she cut her teeth singing Gershwin standards at coffeeshops.
More recently, she released two albums and criss-crossed the country as
frontwoman and co-founder of NYC rock trio Bugs in the Dark. When she’s not
writing or performing, one can find her with a tattoo machine in hand, creating
permanent art on other people.
Whales Standing marks Karen’s debut solo effort. Haunting and beautiful, her
vocal talents are front and center in this world of creepy lullabies. The 12 tracks
journey though her psyche, inspired by her real adventures and rich dream life.
A poetic storyteller, Karen also finds inspiration writing through other people’s
eyes. She’s been compared favorably with Joanna Newsom, Jenny Lewis, and
Regina Spektor, but it’s becoming clear that Karen Rockower can stand on her