Thursday, May 1st, 2008
Cheap & Cheerful
Photo via thekills.tv
The Kills are cooler than you. Check that, The Kills are cooler than everyone. That, at least, is the impression you get both looking at them and listening to their latest record Midnight Boom. The duo of Alison “VV” Mosshart and Jamie “Hotel” Hince are fashionably disheveled and insouciantly sexy (well, her anyways – he’s kind of not but is engaged to Kate Moss so obviously has something going on), like those kids in high school who were always in the smokers pit, looking like they didn’t give a damn. And Midnight Boom sounds like what they had on their Walkmans.
Boom has a rough and clattering feel to it, both as an album and in each individual track, feeling like a very well-assembled mixtape. It’s filled with pawnshop-fidelity sounds, simple guitar parts, keyboard lines and drum patterns backing Mosshart and Hince’s sneering and seductive vocals. But the grime and grease on the surface are very deliberately placed and hide a sleek and meticulous songcraft – every offhand note, every seemingly nonsensical rhyme, every breathy inflection – is exactly where it is for a reason. And while it’s all well and good to appreciate the craftsmanship here, to spend too much time doing so would be missing the point. This is a lean, sleazy and fun rock and roll party disc. The sort of party that you would never have been invited to in high school. So turn up any song on the record – I suggest “Last Day Of Magic” as it’s quite probably one of the best songs of the year so far – and pretend you’re cooler than you are.
The Kills are currently on tour and stop in at the Opera House in Toronto next Tuesday, May 6. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show so if you want to go, shoot me an email at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I’m cool enough to hang out with The Kills. Really, I am.” in the subject line and your full name in the body before midnight tonight. The Telegraph, Harp, The Detroit Free Press and Express all have features on the band and the new record.
So this is it – the return of The Verve to Canada. The show at the Ricoh Coliseum starts at 9 tonight, no opener, so if you’re going, go early. Reviews of the New York shows have been overwhelmingly positive, so that certainly augers well for tonight. It’s the final night of the short North American tour and then it’s back to the UK to play every festival there is and also finish up their new album, which is targeted for an August release. eye, The Globe & Mail and The Toronto Star talk with bassist Simon Jones while The National Post has assembled a retrospective of the band’s career in quotes from the band and Keith Richards.
Billboard reports that anyone hoping to pay-what-they-will for future Radiohead albums is out of luck – Thom Yorke says that it was a one-off tactic. The band are also now on the record as being against human trafficking, and even made a video to articulate their disdain for the sale of humans. Good for them. Radiohead are at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 15.
Video: Radiohead – “All I Need”
Exclaim charts the career of Billy Bragg in convenient timeline form. He’ll be in town in support of his latest milestone, Mr Love & Justice, on June 17 for a show at the Harbourfront Centre. There’s now an MP3 available of the album’s lead-off track.
Kyle from Information Leafblower interviews Guy Garvey of Elbow for DCist. He (Garvey, not ILB) also talks to The New York Daily News and Sentimentalist. MPR has got a downloadable session with the band.
Vague new release info that’s probably inaccurate – The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive has a rumoured July street date and Neil Halstead’s second solo record Oh Mighty Engine may show up in August. Update: Pitchfork has it – Stay Positive hits July 15.