The Kills

The Kills

Music genre: Indie

Alison ‘VV’ Mosshart of Anglo-American indie rock band The Kills (gorgeous lo-fi likened to the White Stripes) has been known to spend her time chainsmoking and vomiting onstage. Nevermind the bollocks, here’s The Kills!

The Kills are an Anglo-American indie rock band formed by American vocalist Alison “VV” Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie “Hotel” Hince.

VV and Hotel began writing sparse, minimalist songs together with the aid of a drum machine. In 2001 they showcased their new songs on a well received demo tape. In true punk rock fashion, however, the pair shunned approaches from major record labels.

Their first record, the Black Rooster EP, was lo-fi in both musical and aesthetic terms. The record sleeve featured photos of Mosshart and Hince taken in a photo booth rather than professional photography. Musically, the record was a sparse, lo-fi Garage rock/Blues hybrid. Though the band cites PJ Harvey, LCD Soundsystem and Royal Trux as immediate influences, the music press has largely compared them to the other boy/girl minimalist garage blues duo The White Stripes.

Maintaining an anti-careerist, anti-music industry attitude, the band rarely granted interviews. Rather, they got the music press to come to them with their minimalist yet powerful live shows (which also included the drum machine), the pair maintaining an air of tension by subverting the expected role of stage performer.Mosshart, who had only recently taken up smoking (after years of publicly critiquing cigarettes and smokers), spent her time on stage chain-smoking and vomiting, rarely speaking to the audience, whilst Hince violently ripped blues riffs from his instrument. At a New York City show following the ban on public smoking, Mosshart went on stage with three bottles of water, lit up a cigarette and proceeded to smoke constantly from the first song to the last note of the set. The Kills have been criticized for their alleged anti-American and anti-corporate attitudes, while putting out their record in the U.S. on an American, corporate record label, RCA, which features The Kills prominently in their label’s artist list.

Their second album, No Wow, was released by Domino Records on 21 February 2005. Featuring an artier, less guitar rock sound, the record embraced post punk influences and sounded even more stripped down than Keep on Your Mean Side. Originally written to be performed on a Moog, the band was forced to change directions and record it primarily using a guitar as its central instrument after Hince’s Moog broke and couldn’t be repaired before entering the studio.

The first single, “The Good Ones”, from No Wow, was released on 7 February 2005 and reached number 23 in the UK singles charts.

Mosshart features in the title track of Placebo’s latest album Meds, released on 13 March 2006 in the UK, and on 4 April 2006 in the US. She also features on the Primal Scream album Riot City Blues.

Midnight Boom strips their minimalist sound down even further than before and adds an industrial element. Truly satisfying.