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Album Review: Kill It Kid – You Owe Nothing

 
By on Monday, 17th November 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

If you’re a devotee of the harder end of the blues-rock spectrum, you owe it to yourself – contrary to the album’s title – to check out the new release from Bath rockers Kill It Kid. The defining feature of ‘You Owe Nothing’, in true Tap style, is the band’s willingness to turn everything up to 11. From the very first opening onslaught of ‘Black It Out’ – chopped-up guitars compete with an enormous fuzz bass to create a noise that could be the sound of two space robots hitting each other – the listener is left in no doubt that these guys mean to punch a hole in one’s eardrums… and have a party whilst doing it.

On ‘Sick Case of Loving You’, Kill It Kid reveal their party piece. Pianist Stephanie Ward steps forward to share lead vocal with Chris Turpin, and as their voices intertwine, one realises just how rare the female voice is in a rock context, and just how refreshing it is to hear it. In what can be an overly testosterone-soaked genre, Ward proves how capably a female voice can enhance the listening experience, both from an auditory and emotional perspective. She gets centre stage on ‘Blood Stop and Run’ and it’s a highlight of the whole album, in no small part due to her performance.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4S2WiLJsFI[/youtube]

After a three-track hard rock introduction, along comes the obligatory power-ballad in the shape of ‘Caroline’. Competent though it is, the band displaying quite spectacular commitment in wringing every ounce of emotive power from their performances, it’s perhaps where Kill It Kid admit they’re not afraid to be derivative when required. Gone is the interstellar guitar choppery, replaced by something that sounds like a Bon Jovi B-side. From 1992. And from that point on it’s difficult to escape the subtle but persistent whiff of cliché.

The second half of the album is comprised of mildly suspect romance-based double entendres seemingly inspired by Monty Python’s “Say No More” sketch. ‘I’ll Be the First’, ‘Don’t It Feel Good’, ‘Tried Used Loved Abused’ – they’re all laden with sexual overtones, with Stephanie Ward even making some bedroom-style noises at times. No complaints, and given the gender balance it can’t truly be called ‘cock rock’, but the overtones are certainly there – this is a record with sex on its mind.

Despite occupying the same genre segment, it’s a tall order to meet the standards of hard rock that were set in the ’80s and ’90s by legendary bands like Guns ‘n’ Roses, and despite a strong effort, Kill It Kid can’t quite reach those heights. Bath simply can’t provide the depth of sleaze as L.A., and that shows in the songwriting. What we’ve got here is a tamer, if perhaps more refined, sound. Still, it’s the first thing in years that gets close, and for that they deserve kudos – and a round of Jack.

7/10

Kill It Kid’s new album ‘You Owe Nothing’ is out today on Sire / Warner Brothers Records.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Rock, punk and metal UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 15th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

Carrying on with the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 to continue through January each Tuesday, today we’re bringing you the UK bands slated to perform at this year’s SXSW that play rock, punk, metal and every combination in between. (Last week, we brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list, which you can catch up on here.) Each part of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 is a handy resource if you’re wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music.

What do all these acts in the rock / punk / metal genre list have in common besides being from Britain? Powerful guitars, punishing bass and drums and in most cases, vocals worthy of idolatry. How they achieve this differs from act to act, as you will read and see/hear below.

Belligerence (added 10/01/13) – heavy metal from Portsmouth. I’m finding it hard to find information on them, as there’s another band – also metal – from Prague with the same name…

File next to: Biohazard, Clutch, Pantera

The Blackout – Welsh post-hardcore band who have been soldiering on since their formation in 2003. Right, that means they’ve been around a decade. How many other bands, no matter what the genre, still exist after 10 years? They must be doing something right. Their next album, ‘Start the Party’, is scheduled to be out on the 21st of January 2013. We won’t post the name of their sweary big hit, but John mentions it in his day 2 roundup of Leeds Fest 2011.

Brutality Will Prevail – This Cardiff hardcore band had been signed previously to Alex Fitzgerald’s Holy Roar label and are now with Purgatory Records (sensing a theme here?), who this year released their latest album, ‘Scatter the Ashes’. Expect something punishing.

Touring with: Cancer Bats and Empress in March 2013 (maybe now they won’t appear at some of the dates on this previous organised tour, since the middle of it is smack dab during SXSW).

China Rats – Leeds lad rock. Legend has it that thanks to the tour bus of Bat for Lashes breaking down on the way to this year’s Benicassim, the band found themselves headlining the Valencia festival. Is ‘(At Least Those) Kids are Getting Fed’ a commentary on the North East, or a wider problem across Britain?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52bv0BorhFM[/youtube]

The Crookes – The Crookes made their SXSW debut in 2011 and when I finally met them in Brighton in May 2012, they were eager to return, so I’m really pleased for them getting another SXSW nod. This time, they’ll have the good time sounds of ‘Hold Fast’ (my top album of 2012) under their belts and I’m sure there will be a gaggle of new American fans of theirs (mostly female?) following their every move. I’ll be catching them as many times as I can, so do come and say hello.

Seeing that I’ve been a fan of theirs since the ‘Dreams of Another Day’ EP in 2010, there is a boatload of Crookes coverage you can read on TGTF, starting here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TppUoY4zpFQ[/youtube]

Crowns – Coming off of their December tour raising awareness of UK homelessness, Cornwall’s Crowns will bring their fun rock ‘n’ roll sound to Austin. I missed their show at the Cornwall Pasty Company at last year’s Great Escape (really kicking myself over this…I mean, come on, that would have been the ultimate party conversation starter, right?) but I’m determined to catch them on American soil.

Read all of our previous Crowns coverage here.

The Enemy – my guess is that the Enemy are to be the younger equivalent of and will act like Kaiser Chiefs at last year’s SXSW: pulling in a good number of fans for their perfectly good but possibly unextraordinary sets in a post-Oasis breakup world. Since they’ve been around for a while (3 albums’ worth) in the UK, they’re not likely to be high on the average UK attendees’ must-see list, but I’ve never seen them before, so if they show up at Stubb’s, I might head on over.

Read our previous Enemy coverage here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lupg5BHzH34[/youtube]

Evans the Death – This band already has a Rolling Stone description (huh?): “This London band mixes post–Smiths jangle and early–grunge sludge, as Katherine Whitaker explores varying shades of bad romance. Her raw emotion blends with slashing, whirling guitars to inject paralysis with weird power.” When you see they’ve been signed to Slumberland Records here in America (‘Allo Darlin’ and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s American home), it all seems to make sense…

Sounds like: the Libertines, if they had a female out in front

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX8VcqY8qts[/youtube]

Gallops – why do I feel the need to mention Mogwai every time I hear a proggy band? Wrexham group Gallops aren’t nearly hard enough to warrant the comparison, although with titles like ‘Astaroth’ and ‘Hongliday’ their Blood and Biscuits’ debut ‘ ‘Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore’, you’d not be putting experimental band in the pop box anyhow. (Something interesting I found on the band’s Tumblr: the linked to the Kitsune Maison 11 compilation – didn’t see that coming at all.)

Gallows – they’re punks. They deliver punishing sets at festivals, such as at 2000 Trees last year. And Frank Carter left them in 2011 to start Pure Love. That’s all you really need to know, right?

Hawk Eyes – punishing hard rock from Leeds. Their 2012 album ‘Ideas’ got top marks from Kerrang! and Artrocker so you know where this is going…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1szIsuhqcUc[/youtube]

Nik Turner’s Hawkwind – the current incarnation of history’s first space rock groups.

Heaven’s Basement (added 10/01/13) – a hard rock band who has been soldiering on for quite a while (since 2008) and are releasing their debut album, ‘Filthy Empires’, this year. They’ve supported big names like Bon Jovi and Papa Roach, so is this an indicator of their hard rock prowess? We’ll see at this year’s event.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP1u79wSdDY[/youtube]

The Joy Formidable – what can we say about Welsh rock band Joy Formidable that hasn’t already been said? When you’ve been hand-picked by Dave Grohl as the man’s own favourite band right now, calling them “a killer live band”, ’nuff said really, yeah? The other facts that they are truly some of the loveliest people we have met and are always so happy about our coverage of them? That’s just icing on the cake. I’ve seen them several times now but the only time I’ve seen them at SXSW was on a live stream in 2011, which doesn’t really count, so I’m making it a point to catch them this time around.

Read all our previous coverage of the Joy Formidable here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_t4s-HX3z0[/youtube]

Kassidy – some have called them the Scottish Kings of Leon, but that’s just lazy journalism. We’ve been following the folky rock hybrid band since their early EPs in 2010, and trust us, they’re way better than the Followills.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMiBIHqeoa4[/youtube]

Read our previous coverage of Kassidy here.

Kill It Kid – wow, I don’t have to write a piece on them, because they placed #10 on our 10 for 2013 list and Martin’s already done for me. Revivalist blues from Bath.

Klaxons – they’ve been around a while. They won a Mercury Prize in 2007 for ‘Myths of the New Future’. Their last album ‘Surfing the Void’ released in 2010 “>has a cat in an astronaut suit on the cover. Sorry, I’m having trouble sounding knowledgeable about Klaxons because I don’t really like them all that much.

Read our previous coverage on Klaxons here.

Little Barrie – ‘powerhouse’ is a word that seems to be following this Nottingham formed, London transplanted trio. But if you’re going to call Little Barrie a powerhouse trio, then surely you mean to compare to the greats of rock ‘n’ roll.

Sounds like: a more radio-polished Cream or at least a band that came out swinging in the Sixties, not in the Noughties

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/25333478[/vimeo]

LostAlone – Derby band who have been described as “breathtaking Queen-style harmonies and classic metal bite” and compared to Muse. How is it possible that we’ve never heard about them, then?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47rV458G-f4[/youtube]

New Ivory – according to MTV Iggy, these guys from London are the new knights of British indie rock. I am struggling to find a comparison, except maybe they sound like early Arctic Monkeys or Two Door Cinema Club, but not as catchy? (Yeah, I know. Damning with faint praise, aren’t I? Sorry.) Steve Aoki is a fan, having signed them to his Dim Mak Records. I dunno. Maybe they’ll actually sound better in person at SXSW.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHEJaMTQJv8[/youtube]

Orange Goblin (added 10/01/13) – formerly known as Our Haunted Kingdom, on first glance you have to wonder if the new name was for a cuddlier image. So imagine my surprise that this is a heavy metal band! Having put out their first album in 1997, they’re definitely the granddaddies of the rock/metal/punk group, but having changed their sound from stoner/doom to their current more metal sound proves that they aren’t willing to stand in one place musically. A special live album for their devoted, ‘A Eulogy for the Fans’, will be released in March.

Palma Violets – I’ve refrained about writing about Palma Violets from Lambeth, South London, as what I’ve heard from them makes me think of The Vaccines, who came out of an NME promotional campaign firestorm and their #3 placing on the BBC Sound of 2011 poll with loads of fans clamouring to see them at major festivals. It’s 2013 now and look what’s happened: Palma Violets are on the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist. Overhyped band leads to foregone conclusion…appearing as a support act to headliners Django Django on the 2013 NME Awards tour next month sounds like an NME mistake then…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poFXWUTEs1k[/youtube]

PAWS – Scottish three-piece banging out tunes in a garage-y, lo-fi style. It should come as no surprise that they have a strong DIY aesthetic, as they’re great fans of bands like Dinosaur Jr and the Pixies, even having a song called ‘Kim Deal’ in their arsenal.

Sounds like: the Cribs or Peace, if they were from far north of the border.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiDEkoPKCkk[/youtube]

Peace – We won’t waste your time here, since the band have already been tipped on the BBC Sound of 2013 poll. Read our previous Peace coverage, including their 10 for 2013 profile (they placed #5 on this last readers’ poll), here.

Peers – 6music’s Tom Robinson was an early supporter of this Reading band in 2010, the year the young band, then all under the age of 18, played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds. The unsigned band cite Bombay Bicycle Club as a major influence, and if you squeeze your eyes real tight, you can hear Jack Steadman’s impact on singer Matt Thompson’s vocals.

Savages – dissonant post-punk via an unusual package – four women from London. Is it their anti-establishment stance that attracted the BBC Sound of 2013 tipsters? We’ll never know for sure but I guess imitating Patti Smith and looking sullen are the highest form of flattery? They could have at least smiled for the photos on their Facebook…

Sounds like: trying too hard to be a 21st century Siouxsie and the Banshees

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y-cVzbBBQ8[/youtube]

Sharks – usually punk is associated with a lo-fi, scuzzy sound, but this band from Leamington Spa sound remarkably polished, with hybrid punk/pop songs that could have easily slotted in with the music I listened here in America in high school.

Sound like: a grown up Blink-182, or Green Day when they weren’t so political and were still fun

Tall Ships – math rock meets indie rock in an epic way via three high-spirited lads from Brighton. John adored their 2012 opus ‘Everything Touching’ and for a Foals loving nation, it’s a wonder they aren’t bigger in the UK. Foals? Who are they?

Read our previous coverage on Tall Ships here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JYt3eYDQY0[/youtube]

Tango in the Attic – Scottish band from Glenrothes having Two Door Cinema Club-type guitars with reverb.

File next to: Smith Westerns

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke9eHi6Ze_A[/youtube]

Throne – there’s not a lot known about this London band, except that they’re known to ‘level rooms’ with their bad boy riffage when they appear in the Capital. You have been warned.

TOY (added 10/01/13) – psychedelic rock from a band made up of some members for the group Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong. I don’t feel like it’s really necessary to write about them, considering nearly every friend of mine rates them quite highly. Not really my thing, but I’m pretty sure they will do well in Austin.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcQ2nXDvWDY[/youtube]

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls (added 10/01/13) – I nearly put Frank Turner’s band in the singer/songwriter category, but since his appearances at this year’s SXSW will be louder and more raucous than his solo turn last year at the Xtra Mile Recordings showcase, in the end there was no contest.

We’ve written quite about the man on TGTF, and you can read all of that through here.

Virals – vehicle for Worcester’s Shaun Hencher, who with his live band have most recently supported #5 10 for 2013 band Peace in the UK. Now Hencher’s looking to make a big splash at their American live debut at SXSW.

Sounds like: a cross between Male Bonding, Two Wounded Birds (RIP) and the Vaccines. Get yer sunnies out!

The Virginmarys – Macclesfield will soon be known for more than Ian Curtis, if this trio have anything to say about it. Their sound? Hard rocking, arse-kicking tunes.

File next to: Kasabian, Biffy Clyro

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8ehThdbXJs[/youtube]

Wet Nuns – even with quite possibly one of the silliest names for a band ever, Sheffield duo Wet Nuns had a spectacular 2012, getting attention not only for their silly name but their punk crossed with blues schizophrenic sound.

Sounds like: the evil child borne from Band of Skulls and the Black Keys

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAe5OFCuLxY[/youtube]

While She Sleeps – is heavy metal more your thing? Then I suppose you should look to Sheffield and a band like While She Sleeps for your jollies. Luke caught them last summer at day 2 of Slam Dunk South.

Young Guns – this band has been around for quite a while, but it wasn’t until summer 2012 that they had an American record deal. Radio-friendly, not too hard rock sound made by youngish, good-looking boys in leather: in short, an American label signing coup.

Read all our previous coverage of Young Guns here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk3vjIDuy9w[/youtube]

The Zombies – “What’s your name? / Who’s your daddy? / Is he rich like me?” All kidding aside, the Zombies have been around for over 50 years. Fifty effin’ years. They called themselves the Zombies before it was hip to like zombies. Though they’re down to only two original members – Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent – contrary to popular belief, it was they, not Friendly Fires, who put St. Albans on the musical map.

Read Braden’s interview with Colin and Rod from 2 years ago here.

Electronic bands and DJs are up next week. So catch us next Tuesday for the third chapter of the genre section of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013!

 

10 for 2013: #10 – Kill It Kid

 
By on Wednesday, 5th December 2012 at 11:00 am
 

In the last couple weeks, we asked you to vote for the top 10 artists you thought would be big in 2013. Starting the list off at #10 in fine fashion are a grunge/blues band from Bath…

Kill It Kid are going to rock your world in 2013. Their astonishing revival of the blues via crunching, wall-demolishing guitars sweetened with tongue-tingling girl vocal lines means their only competition on the circuit is similarly bi-gender practitioners of homespun blues-rock Band of Skulls. Think a contemporary backyard G ‘n’ R with prominent piano and a *strong* female influence that never gives up even when faced with several channels of guitar onslaught and the usual male tendency to dominate.

In the sparse, keening intro to ‘Wild and Wasted Waters’ (video below), one is reminded how desolate and yet fulfilling the delta blues of south-west North America can be, particularly when interpreted through the body and soul of practitioners from a geographically similar region of England. There’s nothing to pick between the regions for sincerity and conviction; indeed the sentiment that Kill It Kid ply is married to that of the spiritual USA: it’s heard in the enthusiasm for minor keys, the worship of the diminished fifth, and the vintage-toned arrangements.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys8dTSLQPiU[/youtube]

Theirs is the world of smoky, aromatic last-minute shows; scuffed and scraped Les Pauls hurriedly mated with ancient Twin Reverbs, frayed leads and cracked pop guards further reinforcing the intimate, heartfelt nature of the performance. ‘Feet Fall Heavy’, 2011’s seminal long-player, is a skeletal homage to Robert Johnson’s desolate accounts of the redemptive power found within the dark reaches of the heart, as liberated by six amplified strings and the sound of air deliberately split asunder.

Kill It Kid are surely the go-to band for 2013’s blues revivalists, steampunks, and grizzled old bluesmen awaiting the second coming. Await no longer… at least if the Devil can be distracted from listening to this tour de force of contemporary electric blues to attend to you. It’s a thankless task, but someone’s got to do it.

 

Live Review: Kassidy with Young the Giant and Kill it Kid at Camden Barfly – 7th February 2011

 
By on Friday, 18th February 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

HMV’s Next Big Thing festival took over London’s live venues for a fortnight to showcase the best in new music. Tonight at Camden’s Barfly, three fantastic rock acts are ready to take the stage. The evening starts in high form. The White Stripes announced their split last week, however their spirit and influence lives on in multiple forms. Kill it Kid are one of the brightest sparks out of the embers of the Stripes. Heralding from Bath, England, their mix of rock, blues and musical intelligence is demonstrated by a hugely energetic set which features new single, ‘Pray on Me’ that is out in March, along with the near anthemic ‘Lord Send me an Angel’. The knowledge that they’re the opening and least famous band on stage barely dampens the mood and I wouldn’t be surprised if many left the room with Kill it Kid on their lips and eager for their second album in the coming months.

Not that that’s the only name they’ll be spouting to their friends though. Next in tonight’s proceedings are a Californian band that we at TGTF have been keeping our eye on lately.  Our recent interview with Young the Giant left us with no option but to check them out live in their limited run of London shows before they skipped over to Europe. Young the Giant’s music is full of bold colours and huge amounts of passion mixed with the relaxing sound of California’s finest rock and roll. They’ve got a growing following across the globe right now, so their first shows outside American borders are a big step onto a small stage with everything to gain, and Young the Giant are more than willing to impress. Bouncing through album tracks and some yet unreleased material, the five-piece look more than comfortable swinging the crowd into life. Highlights include ‘Apartment’ and single ‘My Body’ (watch the promo video for this below).  They’ll be returning to the UK when the weather gets warmer, so be sure to catch them then.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQYpF2pCkLI[/youtube]

The final act at tonight’s sold out show are Kassidy. With an interesting blend of folk and rock forming something that sounds like the cool uncle of recent BRIT winners Mumford and Sons with a strong feel for their acoustic rock roots. Their four part harmonies in some tracks mixed with a strong beat at all times creates an atmosphere that could fit in both tavern and sunny festival stage over a pint of cider. New track ‘I Don’t Know’ (watch the video here) went down a storm, but my highlights aren’t necessarily in each individual track. After a while, the evening sort of gets me a bit carried away and I find myself engulfed in the feeling that Kassidy give off on stage. They’re not out to prove anything, it just looks like they’re here to have a good time. ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Stray Cat’ are both hugely catchy and get great responses from the crowd, whilst the whole set seems to have a similar feel without ever getting boring. With their album out on the 21st of March and having sell out crowds on tour from their first 3 EPs alone, Kassidy are a band I hope to see multiple times through the summer, if just to relive that atmosphere they bring with them.

No one leaves the room without a new name on their lips. And whilst they may not fly off the shelves at HMV stores across the country, they all deserve to.

 
 
 

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