14 March 2010

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

The Kills: No Wow (Domino 2005)
Along with the prerequisite that this album cost less than my favorite addiction, I was compelled to purchase this record after reading a possibly unread interview with Stephen Malkmus, that for all I know has been buried in the annals of the internets for at least a hundred years. In it, SM is asked about music worth listening to and he responds by name-checking Animal Collective's Sung Tongs, Dead Meadow's Feathers, and this one among others. I was going to get it anyway since I thought the cover art was rad, but this discovery made the acquisition seem even more necessary.
"There's something at the core of it that's beyond music. We started off as two introverted people that found each other living parallel lives 4,000 miles away. We were both making short films for no one to watch, making tapes for no one to listen to, and writing literature for no one to read. It became a little two-person art group." (The Kills' Hotel)
The Kills are guitarist Jamie Hince and vocalist Alison Mosshart, but when they make music they go by the names Hotel and VV. According to the internets, they first crossed paths when she heard him practicing in the hotel room above her's. Then both of their respective bands broke up. Then for a series of months, she was in Florida and he was in London and they collaborated by mailing tapes to one another. Eventually, she moved out there and they picked new names.
"I think it's inevitable that we'll be compared with bands like the White Stripes, but I don't want to be affiliated with anybody really." (Hotel)
In the beginning, the Kills and the White Stripes were mentioned in the same breath. They still are now, but only by lazy writers. It's a part of the guy-girl-kinda bluesy-faintly sexy milieu that drives older folks wild. It's not because of the sounds. Jack and Meg's music possesses an earnestness and an energy that is unique in and of itself. The White Stripes are the White Stripes, and no one else really sounds like them. Hotel and VV certainly don't. The Kills are achingly hip in their approach and delivery.
It's guitars and a drum machine for eleven tracks. Actually, only ten since "Rodeo Town" is a different beast. The rest, though, are tightly rolled hits of satisfaction. It took me awhile to realize it, but this record reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's writing style in the sense that it's both frustratingly simple and pretty awesome at the same time. You never feel like you're getting a whole lot, which makes the need for it greater, and then blink, and it's all over and you find yourself going back to the beginning in an attempt to tackle it from a different angle. It finally sets in that this is the end result of proper execution.
In a day and age, where bands try to sound shittier to appear cooler this just is.
(Hotel excerpts via)

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