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on December 19, 2003
Where to start with this band. I first came across The Kills when I heard this was Alison Moshart's new band after the break-up of the amazing Florida band Discount. From my past history with Discount (permanent fixture in my Top 5 of all time) I knew I was going to love this album. While The Kills sound nothing like Discount you can still tell Alison is still doing what she knows best. Moshart's lyrics and vocals are USDA Certified to kick you right in the center of the chest and have you coming back for more. While they will never get the praise they deserve by mainstream America who will always label them a White Stripes rip-off (since we all know Jack White is a guitar god and invented Guitar and Drum blues) I don't see that as a bad thing. The Kills are one of those bands that are around not for the masses, but for the small group of people that GET them. Buy this album and Half Fiction by Discount, sit back, relax and be forever changed
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on July 17, 2003
The Kills are an extraordinarily intense band. Alison (VV) and Jamie (Hotel) complement each other well. His guitar playing is catchy and gritty at the same time. Her vocals are passionate and raw. There is absolutely no showmanship in their performances. The track I enjoyed the most was 'Wait', a slower sweeter song. I have always been a sucker for Alison's softer singing even back in the days of her pop punk band Discount. She has a truly amazing voice. With the surge in the popularity of rock and blues music it would be easy to group these two with some of the more widely known musicians making headlines, but they truly deserve a place of their own. The music is honest, chaotic, sexy and above all artistic. It's Brit meets America and it will blow you away.
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on April 4, 2003
In a quest to always find good new music, I first read about the Kills in NME, and found them to be very interesting. The band consisted of two members: Hotel, a guy from London, and VV, a girl from the States. NME seemed to be enthralled with them, and with good reason. They do make very good music.
I find it hard to put a specific finger on what type of music the Kills make. I consider it alternative bluesy rock. Their inspirations seem to range from P.J. Harvey (when I first listened, I was surprised to hear how similar VV�s voice is to P.J. Harvey. She also sometimes reminds me of Elastica�s Justine Frischmann or Bettie Serveert�s Carol Van Dyk), the Velvet Underground, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to the noise pop of the Jesus and Mary Chain. Their music can sometimes be loud with bursts of fuzzed-out raw guitar noise and feedback, and at times acoustic and very melodic.
There are stand out tracks throughout. I personally like �Superstition,� �Cat Claw,� �Kissy Kissy,� and the last six tracks the best, but all are great. I was especially fascinated by the last track: "Gypsy Death & You." And just a slight warning: the Kills have a penchant for using the �f� word � something that pops up numerous times in a few songs. It seems befitting of their attitude. That aside, they definitely have their own sound that is not like other bands.
It is a great listen and I totally recommend it for anyone - especially for fans of the musicians listed in this review. Not the best debut album of all time, hence 4 out of 5 stars, but a great one. I'm definately looking forward for more of their music in the future and wish them the best.
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on January 2, 2004
When it comes to indiefolk co-opting the blues, I think this is how it should be done. The Kills are 2 pretentious scenester-types, caught up in the dingy romance of the down-and-out-poseur life. And it sounds great. I'll take this over Jack White's squeaky-clean reverance any day (sorry Jack, but I think this kind of self-mythologizing is truer to the spirit of the blues; but, that version of "Death Letter" on 'De Stijl' tears it up). My one complaint is that it's a little bit samey: "Fried My Little Brains" sounds a lot like "Hitched" sounds a lot like "F*#k the People." Not that that's a bad way to sound, it just gets a little tiresome. But speaking of "F*#k the People," I think it gets the award for Best Use of Profanity, 2003. It's tough these days to get any kind of thrill when a pop singer cusses, but I think I'd be more likely to turn down "F*#k the People" than I would something dumb like the Offspring's "Bad Habit," if my mom were around. Dunno why exactly, it just sounds dirtier coming out of VV's (assuredly filthy) mouth. Anyway, if you're looking for a bluesy minimalist indie punk album, pick up 'Keep on Your Mean Side.'
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on April 27, 2011
But you should know that the track listings are all messed up. I can only tell what the names of the songs are by listening to the lyrics. At Track 6 (listed as Gypsy Death and You) you are actually hearing Hand. From there on, all the tracks are one off. Just thought you should know because it's kind of annoying. I'm thinking of keeping the CD now for the sheer purpose of having a messed up copy that may be worth something one day.
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on October 21, 2003
When an album like this is considered by many to be the most passionate rock album of the year then that would be nothing less than more evidence that the rock scene has got a major problem.
But such a statement could be easily misunderstood, so, some exegesis is badly needed here.
"Keep on your mean side" is indeed a brilliant LP. It sounds authentic from the get go, and has a pathos that you can't miss even if you've lost all ability to feel.
Musically, it's a simple recipe really, but as it's well observed over the years simple is more than often beautiful. It is obviously influenced -in a -major way- by the likes of P.J Harvey
but it goes beyond that because the whole mix has an intense sexuality, a "dirtyness", and a rockiness that Polly Jean hasn't achieved (at least to that degree).
Having said all that though, it is not to say that listening to the Kills isnt rewarding. It is, in fact, as rewarding as a sin to let "Keep on your mean side" go through your ears. And i'm sure they must be a treat live as well.
If we're trapped to suffer hordes of wannabes, pretenders, untalented copycats and fake hard n tough "rockers" then I'll take the Kills every single time.
After all, this is one case where you cant say "copy Kills music", if you get my drift.
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on May 20, 2003
Warning to new listeners, this is going to disturb you like sandpaper on the skin. VV is the new icon we have been waiting for a bit of time now, maybe since the appearance of Poison Ivy from the Cramps or of Chrissie Hynde. The PJ Harvey link is less obvious to me, as VV is from the US and misses some of Polly Jean's "old world" sophistication. Her boyfriend Hotel, former punkish derelict, is a truly British guy and the music this pair produces is very efficient and oozing enthusiasm. You can find hints of lessons learned from the Velvet U. (circa third album) to the Gun Club. This band has a bright future in front of them and Miss VV is dramatically attractive when she sings as if her life was in danger.I would not be surprised if from their contemporary contenders (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Libertines and BRMC) they will be the ones to emerge.
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on April 17, 2003
These guys know how to pull garage-blues. There's nothing uplifting about these songs and they don't sound "Pretty" like the White Stripes. They sound Real. Their attitude is kinda like the notorious Bonnie & Clyde. The title prefectly describes the mood of album "Keep on Your Mean Side" or even "Fried my Little Brains." V.V's stripped, dry voice goes complements the simply, rusty, and dirty guitary riffs. The songs kinda sound the same...but they really don't really when you get in that mood for bare-bones garage-blues with a hot chick singing. I saw these guys in Austin...and they're loud...to the point...and deliver sincere nihilistic rock.
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on November 20, 2003
So I was thinking when I got this that it would be another garageist reviaval band. It's not, trust me. There's more sophistication in the lyrics, more polish to the sound (which is so rich I want to go out and buy this in Vinyl--and a turntable), and yes, even more anger and heart. Sometimes it's the only record I want to listen to.
Yes, that means I like them more than the White Stripes and the Strokes.
Oh yeah, and VV is the freshest female vocal since Corin Tucker.
And Oh, there's an electric viola somewhere.
And to think, this is their first album. I'll definately be following this band around.
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on July 20, 2003
The White Stripes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Black Keys... Forget all of them. This is the band that deserves all of that hype. From the raucous "Cat Claw," to the sweet "Gypsy Death & You," The Kills have what it takes to make a name in rock music.
The one fault I can find is that some of the songs can be repetitive. But it's in a neat Jesus and Mary Chain sort of way... not a "Oh, God When Will This Song Change" White Stripes sort of way.
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