Friday, 14 May 2010

THE KILLS

It must be my age, but there doesn't seem to be much new music out there that excites me, it all sounds so clinical, manufactured, recycled or just plain boring. There are glimmers of hope though, bands like The Brute Chorus mix rockabilly sounds with greek mythology and great coats! but my current fave is a band called The Kills (not to be confused with The Killers!). I've been following them for a few years now since I first saw them on the NME stage at Reading... two skinny figures dressed in ripped jeans and leather jackets, cigarettes hanging from their lips and playing a stripped back, lo-fi bluesy, punky rock'n'roll with a whole load of attitude and masses of sexual chemistry.
Imagine a grungier, dirty White Stripes with elements of PJ Harvey and Jon Spencer thrown in for good measure... The boy rips some fuzzy guitar riffs and the girl chain smokes and vocally teases you from behind a long black fringe. No backing band here, just the two of them relying on the guitar, vocals and a drum machine to create a big refreshing modern sound.
The enigmatic duo are Alison Moshart (aka VV) on vocals and Jamie Hince (aka Hotel) who plays just about everything! Alison first came to light in the 90s Florida punk band  Discount, whilst Jamie played in British rock bands Scarfo and Blyth Power. When Scarfo and Discount disbanded the two of them struck up a songwriting partnership. For months they air mailed tapes across the Atlantic to each other before Mosshart eventually moved to London from her Florida home. The first album "Keep On Your Mean Side" was as stripped back as you can get, just a minimalist garage rock album recorded in around 2 weeks on an old 8-track. Even the cover was "home made" featuring portraits of the duo taken in a photo booth.
The second album,  "No Wow" was a bit edgier and darker and was supposed to feature Hince's old Moog, but it broke and the album was quickly re-recorded using his trusty guitar again. The third album "Midnight Boom" takes its inspiration from a 1960s documentary about kids in inner-city schools in the USA. The album features rhythms influenced by playground songs played on an old school hand-punched MPC-60 hip hop drum sequencer. It's notjust the music that I like either, it's the image, the onstage performance and the attitude... At a New York City show following the ban on public smoking, Mosshart went on stage with three bottles of water, lit up a cigarette and proceeded to smoke constantly from the first song to the last note of the set... Rock'N'Roll!!!
Whilst waiting for the completion of their fourth album, Mosshart has teamed up with Jack White in another of his side projects, "The Dead Weather". Check out the video for "Treat Me Like Your Mother" where Jack and Alison rip each other to shreds with machine guns!!! and she never drops her cigarette in that either!

2 comments:

  1. This is going to sound just like my comment on the BRMC thread a month ago.

    I saw The Kills a few years back supporting Primal Scream at Brixton Academy and they were ace...

    Just to pre-empt any of your future music posts, other bands I have seen supporting Primal Scream over the years include Death in Vegas (ace), Alabama 3 (ace), and The infamous Ping Pong Bitches (absolute shite, although in fairness oriental goth girls who can't play their instruments is just not my thing.)

    Keep up the great work on the blog, there has been some really inspiring stuff on here over the past month and I will try to get my arse into gear and update the Keep Turning Left blog more often.

    Dave C

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  2. Hey KTL find your own music taste LOL... just got tickets to Solfest, a bit like Glastonbury was before it got all commercial and fashionable, only really going to catch up with the Alabama3 so look out for a post around August time. Never seen Ping Pong Bitches, but I do like Guitar Wolf and The Mad 3, both Japanese garage rock bands with lots of fuzzy gitar and feedback. I was always a big fan of Primal Scream until he decided to hurl abuse at the fans at Reading some years ago. Still love the music but Bobby Gilespie can be a right k**b at times. Thanks for the positive comments, I'm just glad somebody actually reads my stuff.

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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.