Saturday Afternoon Artist: The Kills

The Kills at SXSW 2011 / photo by Christopher Nelson

The first time I saw the Kills was at KEXP for their performance at KEXP in 2005.  I was working in the next room, the production studio, editing a radio story.  Suddenly, a blast of guitar noise nearly blew me off my seat. (The production rooms at KEXP are not soundproof. but usually they keep about half the sound out.)  Whoever was in the studio was one of the loudest bands ever!  As soon as I walked into the engineer booth, it was surprising to see only two people.  A woman and man were singing to each other. He was pounding out power chords on the guitar.  They were staring into each others’ eyes, their mouths just centimeters apart.  It was so sexy and intense.

The band was The Kills and they are much more famous today.  In fact, their 2011 record, Blood Pressures, is their best full-length yet.  Giving up some of the experimental textures (at times sounding like someone beating on a plastic garbage can) and off-kilter vocals (the new songs are much more grounded in rock style), Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince have now stripped the sound back to a gripping mix of rawness and quality.  Alison’s voice has gotten even stronger since working with Jack White in the group Dead Weather the past few years.  And instead of just a couple good tracks, the whole new record is good.

The Kills are playing one of Seattle’s best venues, the Showbox at the Market, on Monday, May 9th.  They’ll be live on KEXP’s airwaves the same day at 1pm.

Michele Myers spins every Saturday on KEXP from 3-6pm. Every week she brings you a featured Saturday Afternoon Artist and plays three songs in-a-row from them. She also hosts Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6-9am on KEXP’s sister NPR station WNYE 91.5FM in New York City and is the producer/creator of KEXP Documentaries.

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