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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
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+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
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+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
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+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
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+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
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+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
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+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
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+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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44.1 kHz Archive

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The Kills
Keep On Your Mean Side
Rough Trade

Comparisons abound, but The Kills are not the White Stripes. Yes, they are a bass-less, raw and minimal, punk- and blues-inspired boy/girl duo. But they do not sound like the White Stripes. Similar means can yield a vast array of ends — they approach music-making on the same path, but arrive at very different destinations. If any reference is to be used, it had best be the Velvet Underground. For one thing, with The Kills, it is the female — vocalist/guitarist VV — doing the majority of the singing, recalling Nico, and the gritty/jangly guitar riffs and tambourine shakes bringing the Velvets' songwriting style to mind.

It's also safe to say The Kills — VV, who used to front Florida punk band Discount, and guitarist/vocalist/drummer and organist Hotel — have an attitude-driven, dark and edgy sound all their own. They've obviously given up much heart and soul for the sake of their punchy, sometimes infectious and always in-your-face punk-rock songs.

For the first six months of their existence as songwriting partners, as The Kills, VV and Hotel sent tapes between VV's residence in the U.S. and Hotel's in London. Eventually, VV moved to London, where they would write songs out of the basement, self-record on four-track, then in a vintage studio, just before releasing their debut five-song Black Rooster EP on Dim Mak Records. Three of the songs from the EP, the powerful, melodic and sexed-up "Cat Claw," the droning, disturbed and minimal "Hitched," and very derivatively "Heroin"-esque "Black Rooster," are also on the album. While tracks from the EP feel a bit more punk-ish, many of The Kills' new songs for the album have that down-home dirty blues feel. For example, "Kissy Kissy" is led by Hotel's throaty, down-and-out croons while "Fried My Little Brains" is fueled by a muddy Delta blues guitar riff and stomping back porch beat. Other areas of the album find VV and Hotel experimenting with tossing the organ, electric viola, drum machine and harmonica into the mix.

Sure, The Kills have the fever of punk, the passion of blues, plus angst and arty-ness. But red and white just wouldn't look good on them.

by Jenny Tatone

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