Video: The Kills – “Desperado” (Rihanna Cover)
From the Echo Home – Non-Electric EP, out June 2 on Domino Records with a limited edition 10” vinyl release due August 18.
Let’s count the number of acoustic covers of hip hop songs that don’t suck. Zero? Sounds about right.
Remember downloading the Gourd’s version of “Gin and Juice” in the earliest days of filesharing? We all got a good chuckle out of that one. Jonathan Coulton made “Baby Got Back” sound like a John Denver outtake. But the worst of this genre is Dynamite Hack’s “Boyz In The Hood”. There’s always a sense of “ha ha ha aren’t we cute? aren’t we funny? get it? because we’re not gangster at all!” which ends up kind of gross. Or maybe I’m a humorless grump.
Acoustic covers of pop songs, on the other hand, can strip away the glossy production to reveal the solid bones of the songwriting underneath. I still like Travis’ earnest cover of “Baby One More Time” which made me realize how sad that song really is (“my loneliness is killing me”).
This Rihanna cover is somewhere in between. It’s not jokey at all, but it doesn’t really shed any additional light on the original. It sounds cool, and Alison Mosshart’s voice is smoky and menacing as ever. Which is good enough for an acoustic b-side.
The Kills: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.
Continue reading The Kills cover Rihanna
Jack White‘s got another new band. Rolling Stone attended an invite-only preview in Nashville and has the full report:
The new band takes White from the front of the stage back behind the drum kit, while the Kills’ Alison Mosshart mostly handles singing duties. The two are joined by White’s fellow Raconteur Jack Lawrence on bass and former touring Raconteur/Queen of the Stone Age Dean Fertita on guitar. […]
The tracks — a sludgy, bluesy blend of psych-rock guitar, alternately stark and explosive rhythms and Mosshart’s sultry-to-siren vocal — take relatively logical leaps from the members’ other bands, White’s groove-heavy drumming elevating the Dead Weather’s Stripes-esque blues-rock moods and Fertita and Mosshart pulling in atmosphere and disaffected cool, respectively.
The album, Horehound, is due in June. You can stream a couple of songs—”Hang You from the Heavens” and “Are Friends Electric?”—from the band’s website. Jack White is starting a “vinyl record label” as well. More details at the Los Angeles Times. Could be interesting…
MP3: The Raconteurs – “Texas Border” (live in Glasgow, 10/14/2006)
Image courtesy of Third Man Records.
Continue reading New Band: Jack White + Kills = Dead Weather
The Kills at the Empty Bottle
November 27, 2004, Chicago
When the Kills herked and sloe-eyed their way through the Magic Stick in April 2003, it seemed like the duo hated the audience at least as much as they wanted to fuck everyone in it. They flirted with jutting guitar necks and long, piking limbs, but would lick the end of a live wire before they’d look us in the eye. Songs like “Superstition” and “Fuck the People” were certainly hot in a this-bathroom-counter-supports-the-weight-of-two sort of way, but the duo’s bug eyes, flop sweat, and general fuming irritability kept ownership of the songs on their side of the stage monitors. For the audience, it was both sexy and frustrating.
Continue reading The Kills Work Hard for the Money
The Kills want to sex you up.
Magic Stick, Detroit, April 29, 2003
The heady crawl of “Venus in Furs” will make a nun sweat. The song’s torn, dirty lingerie is that dark spot in the corner of the civil servant’s eye, the cock ring collection inside his false-bottom’d drawer. It’s a hooker at the bus stop across the street from church, who no one looks at but everyone sees. The Kills have been equally lauded and derided for their particular Velvet Underground fetish. But while too many types have siphoned gas from the Velvets’ tank, it’s less often that they light the hose and laugh. With only a handful of recordings and less than half a band, the duo of Hotel and VV have cooked and smoked the purified sex of “Venus in Furs,” and left their kit on the convent steps.
Continue reading The Kills: Take a Whiff of My Pant Leg, Baby
The Kills – Keep 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.