January 11, 2003

The Kills "Black Rooster EP"

Wow! Black Rooster is a record that really restores my faith in music. Okay, so it doesn't do that, but it is a pretty good little debut from a very promising group. If you think that the singer of The Kills sounds familiar, that's because VV was once known as Alison, who used to belt 'em out in the really great but underrated Discount. The other half of the group is a British fellow by the name of Hotel. Other than that, there's not much to really go on, which is fine--a little mystery is always great, especially with music like this! At times, the male/female thing is eerily reminiscent of another great duo/couple, the late, great Royal Trux. While there's no lingering cry of help from the throes of drug addiction, the lo-fi blues "rock" aesthetic is certainly similar to the 'Trux.

Starting off with "Cat Claw," VV's singing is stronger, grittier than ever before. Though at times it's a bit reminiscent of that whole Riot Grrrl style, it really exists in a blues-meets-punk stratosphere that only a few have really done successfully. On"Black Rooster (Fuck and Fight)," Hotel takes over the vocal duties, and the lo-fi blues-rock bug comes out, but much, much stronger. "Wait" finds VV back on vocals, though the song's a lot slower than her previous one, and it's a lot rougher, grittier, and much more desperate than any of the other songs on the record. "Dropout Boogie" is a cover of Captain Beefheart, and is a lo-fi, very rough live recording, which, considering the kind of music they're making, it gives the whole proceeding a field-recording feel.
The last track, "Gum," is a little experimental cut, and is perhaps the only bum among the plums.

Then it's over. There's no more here for you to hear. You'll have to start all over now. Don't worry, though; Black Rooster is a pleasure that second time around. The third time, it gets even better. The fourth time, you'll want to come up with a petition for more music. The fifth time, you'll be plotting. Violently. For more music. People will die.

And oh, how we wait for that day!

--Joseph Kyle

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