The Kills – Keep on Your Mean Side

The KillsKeep on Your Mean Side (Rough Trade)

They have a lot of cool: they’re a two-piece guy/girl songwriting team with loads of angst and dirty mouths; totally boss looks complete with leather jackets and fuck-all hair cuts; one of ‘em is English; and they’re on the legendary Rough Trade label. They also have a thing for self-promotion and self-mythology that would make Jack White blush. Did I mention they were mentioned in the NME’s Cool Issue in November of ’02? Well, under normal circumstances you could get ready for the crush of backlash that cooler than thou bands like the Strokes and countless Brit Pop bands have endured without relent. What’s the difference? The Kills kick ass.

Sometimes treading a bit too close to PJ Harvey in the vocal area, American born singer VV (what? Cool names too!?!) gives that could-give-a-shit-less attitude a once-over by avoiding the heady subjects or surreal monologues that Ms. Harvey is a little too fond of these days. Add to that the simple, crunchy guitars from Hotel (Christ, this is getting silly), VV’s partner in crime, and you have some of the simplest and compelling rock to come out of England in years. And if you’re a fan of the recent upsurge in “garage rock” or whatever you want to call raw, emotional, rough-edged rock these days, the Killers are for you.

Recorded at Toe Rag Studios in London, this album is sonically near perfect. There’s a reason people in the know talk up this joint with the reverence usually held for Abbey Road or Muscle Shoals.

Stand out tracks:

“Superstition” – This is the one that flies closest to PJ Harvey, but it’s such a sweet song…

“Wait” – Stripped down to Mo Tucker drums, Mick Jagger harmonica, and Hope Sandoval vocals. It doesn’t get much better for me.

“Death and You” – Acoustic story song. Sexy vocals. I dream about this chick.

7 thoughts on “The Kills – Keep on Your Mean Side”

  1. This album is fucking great. All the tracks are standouts, and the mix IS great. It’s haunting and driving all the way through.

    Unfortunately I saw them live last night and it wasn’t so good. Their DRUM MACHINE seemed to be on the fritz. Nuff said.

  2. Aaaaaallrightythen. Lets not get carried away. The Album is a corker but its not the year zero, wipe the slate clean and make all the other bands tear up their entire notebook of songs kinda album. I give them credit tho. I saw them open for the Yeah yeah Yeah’s and the KILLS mde me say No NO NO to karen O. and company. This is a good first start. VV and Hotel deserve more attention!

  3. This is as cool as it gets!

    When I first listened to their album it hit me like a train and it kept on goin’. When I saw them live at a festival in Belgium it was even better. Let’s hope they don’t die soon so whe can find out if they can really keep on the mean side!

  4. i saw them live before i heard the album, and from the moment they both walked out i was won. i dont think anyone in the entire place blinked while they were on stage. and now i have heard them on cd, i still havent blinked.


    CAn anyone suggest other bands as lacerating as this?

    dandy warhols

    black rebel motorcycle

    coopertemple clause etc…

    pls. recommend some,


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