THE KILLS-Ash & Ice.

9 06 2016

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“We were dancing to a beat of our own, flying with our speakers blown.”

 

For the past week I’ve been constantly listening to Ash & Ice by The Kills. Today I can finally listen to it properly on my record player which I carried up a hill to get home in this ridiculous heat. I wouldn’t mind, but having a knackered disk in my back isn’t too much fun. It’s alright, now I’m seated and playing it as loud as I can. I can associate every record by The Kills with certain points in my life, and since Blood Pressures came out until last Friday it defined certain moments, feelings and people. I fell so heavily in love with that record and to take myself away from it so I could give in to Ash & Ice I thought, would be really hard. I was wrong. Ash & Ice is now defining whatever is going on now- good, bad, average and brilliant. It’s a chaotic safety net.

As I helplessly love this record so, I’ll go through each song. It might be safer for you to just go buy the record and listen to it rather than subject yourself to my ramblings about it.

Doing It To Death: I remember hearing this a couple months ago now, and just playing it over and over again. Something about it just made me realise yet again, why I adore this band. Why they are easily one of the most important bands in my life. There’s something about Jamie and Alison that leaves constantly wanting more and more. I love the line, “Baby lately, the plans we’re making are the shape of things that never come.” It’s a gut feeling that I reckon most feel, but not many want to actually face it. Fuck it. Face it, and carry on.

Heart Of A Dog: Like the above, this ended up being on repeat constantly when I heard it. Every line in this song is apt and if I could every word to this tattooed on my body- I probably would. “It’s life or death why I chew through the chain” is a line that’s just so raw and brutal. I know what it’s like to have parts wander off but for the heart always be loyal. You go back to what you needed in time. It takes time, but you get there. You just need to let it out sometimes, I guess.

Hard Habit To Break: I LOVE the intro to this so much. I think it’s most definitely one of my favourites off the record. Sometimes you’re the bad that someone else wants or needs, and they can take that bad and make it good. In time. I’m pretty sure that this will be amazing to see live, and I’ve seen clips of this where Alison just lets rip and flails her body in ways that if you or I tried to do- we’d end up in hospital. Worth the attempt, right? Pretty cool way to end up in A&E. I love the line “Maybe when the lights fade, maybe it’s my (your/our) mistake.” There’s only so much blame a person can carry before they realise others have played their part too.

Bitter Fruit: At first I just really loved the song. Then I paid close attention to the lyrics and some weird revelation hit me. I can’t decide which lyrics I love the most. It’s between “I gotta save my soul from the bad in you” and “I could pray, but can’t you see the kind of things I pray for are cursing me.” Both are pretty tough lyrics, and easy to identify with. That’s what I love about their songs, they just paint emotions in a way that I never ever could. They take every feeling imaginable and make it something to be proud of- even if it is a truly ugly feeling.

Days Of Why And How: In some ways this reminds me of Rodeo Town, Wait and Baby Says. It’s got that soothing feel to it. I think it has some of the best lyrics on the record: “When I hear your name, it’s a like a freight train. Shake shake shake shake shaking me, off my tracks.” I don’t know if that lyric is for good or bad, but it’s so gorgeous and powerful. I could listen to it forever and not get tired. An impending fear mixed with devotion. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Let It Drop: I don’t really have much of an opinion on this one, and I think it’s because it’s the one I’ve not really listened to that much. Jamie and Alison have this sound that makes them stand out from everyone else, and I think Let It Drops experiments with this in a really great way. It sounds like they’ve massively pushed themselves with this song, and I think it’ll be one that I end up loving as much as the rest- I just need to stop being attached to other songs on the record to let this one in. However, the line “You’re giving me reasons to turn my teardrops into death threats” is just a gorgeous piece of poetry.

Now, if you have the vinyl copy this is where we take it over to side B.

Hum For Your Buzz: This has that brutal but Blues feel that caused me to first fall heart first in love with them 13 years ago. 13 years ago I heard The Kills and it changed everything for me. Every single time they bring out something new, I just fall more in love with them and I remember exactly what it was that drew me in the first place. Hum For Your Buzz has a beautiful feel of vulnerability surrounding it, and their fearless approach to writing lyrics will always be something I admire and love. “I am a vision you looked for so long at your door sweetheart.” That’s my solid favourite from the song. Subject to change, as ever.

Siberian Nights: The only way to listen to this song is to have to obnoxiously loud. Everything about this just makes you feel like you can overpower any feeling of love or lust a person may have towards you. It’s bold but endearing in its own way. I love the lyric, “I can make you come in threes, I’m halfway to my knees. Am I too close for comfort?” It’s the right kind of filth. The whole song is full of lines that make you feel a bit braver than you are. I guess with lines like “For the tyrants in a rut, I got a love” makes it for us underdogs. I couldn’t imagine getting tired of listening to this song. You pick up different things to love with each listen, and I love their vocals together on this. Check the guitar Jamie uses on this also.

That Love: The Last Goodbye from Blood Pressures probably broke your heart, right? Well, you’re not getting off lightly this time. I read the lyrics to this before I heard it. I’m not sure which is more heartbreaking. However, it’s a song I needed. It’s a song I probably won’t go back and listen to on repeat. It’s a heavy song, emotionally and I think it’ll be a mountain of strength for those who need some form of courage. We all need to be brave at times, there’s no right or wrong time for you to be brave. You just have to do it. I’m not going to pick a line from this, it’s too difficult. Maybe it’s obvious which ones will mean the most. You can’t feel bad for the rest of time.

Impossible Tracks: I adore how menacing this one sounds. It’s got that thumping sound of Future Starts Slow on it, and again, it’s one you need to play insanely loud. “Oh you get what you give, I don’t regret what I did. Well if a real live liar can set you on fire, then don’t you settle for it?” It’s real mean this song, and it makes you feel so tough when you listen to it. I also love the line, “And we hold our smiles inside like we’re holding back the tide.” If I could write something as rebellious as that, I’d be pretty happy. I think this is definitely one of my favourites off the record.

Black Tar: The line, “London’s bloodthirsty” is enough for me to know that I am mad about this song. The imagery in the words is just nothing short of stunning, and it’s just a realisation of why I bloody love The Kills! I’ve never ever doubt my love for them, and I never could. There are just consistently mind-blowing and their lyrics have always been such a huge part of who I am- whoever that may be. Some things you don’t figure out, even when you’re 29. This song makes you want to get in a car, and drive off into the night without looking back.

Echo Home: This has the gentle tones of Baby Says but there is so much sadness in this song. It’s pretty tough to listen to. I’d rather have That Love on repeat than this one because there’s so much overwhelming sadness in it. Every word in this song is just truly gorgeous, and for me this is the one that holds the most weight. It’s the one you play when you miss something/someone that’s been gone for some time. Have hope, because sometimes if the universe doesn’t totally hate you- it all comes back to you again. For me, it’s the line: “And if I take a turn for the worst and I call you on the phone, will you echo home when I call? Won’t you echo back and make it alright.” I know I’m too sensitive for my own good at times, but this line has this wealth of honesty and fragility to it that just breaks your heart. I just adore every single word on this song, and the way Jamie and Alison’s voices fit so perfectly on this song so so much.

Whirling Eye: And now we reach the end of the record with one of the most rowdy songs on the record. I think they’ve saved this one until last so the listener realises they’ve not had enough, and goes back to the start again. The whole song feels like a whirlwind. It sends you into some immense spin that no one can pull you out of. It’s so hypnotic. Alison’s voice on Whirling Eye has this insane urgency to it that makes you feel like you’ve probably joined a cult. If those two are the leaders, sign me up now. It’s definitely a song to make you feel like a total rebel to and it’ll make you want to ditch everyday life and hit the dusty road as fast as you can. Who cares where you go, just get there.

I could have easily summed this all up with saying this is the best record I’ve heard all year or just condensed my love for it. But the thing is, The Kills pull something out of me that nothing else ever has. They hit you with this urgency and this need to get whatever it is inside you all the way out. They have no filter when it comes to doing so, so why should you or I?

 

I will always have a soft spot for Keep On Your Mean Side, No Wow, Midnight Boom and Blood Pressures but with Ash & Ice, I feel like something completely different. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s that feeling of an old friend coming back home, it had been a few years since Blood Pressures and to finally have something new is just a truly great feeling. They could create their own version of the phonebook and I would still be madly in love with it. Sure there are many bands that I feel a connection with, but with The Kills it is this secret connection in my brain bound by their songs that creates this. This doesn’t always happen, and when you feel it, you cling onto it. It’s your own way of getting through the day and slowly, but surely, finding some self-acceptance. Ash & Ice means a lot for a lot of reasons- none of which will be mentioned but all I know is that it is bloody great to have them back.

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THE KILLS-Siberian Nights.

25 05 2016

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“I’ll be chargin’ through your dreams.”

 

In just over a week everything will be just fine with the world as Ash & Ice by The Kills will finally be released. I plan on spending the rest of the year in the safety of my bedroom playing it on repeat, all the time. Obviously I’ll go to work. It seems that each record by The Kills comes out at such a vital time. Certain songs mean more at certain points. I can still carry the weight of the meaning in their older songs throughout daily life, and I do. It helps. Some of their songs make me feel alright with whatever I’ve done or said. Life is too short to be careful, or too careful.

The video to Siberian Nights was released yesterday, and I genuinely thought Heart Of A Dog was the song I’d be clinging to and devouring the meaning of it- completely and utterly. As someone who is rarely right, I was wrong in assuming I could cling. Now it’s over to Siberian Nights. The words are bold and to the point. There’s no cover up in the words- it’s direct and the right kind of creepy. For me, it touches on beautifully getting inside a person, having a massive hold on them. But in the same respect, needing that person but as soon as you have them, you’re halfway out the door. Or maybe you realise you need them a whole lot and nothing will make you turn away from them. You’ll posses them with your love, a look and by always being there. In their head.

The intro to the song sounds like a chase, maybe you’d find it being played in a dodgy Spy film. It’s the sinister feel in Alison’s voice in the first verse that really gets you. “I can whip you up like cream. I can drink your sudden tease. Is it too close for comfort? I can make you come in threes.” If I could ever put something like that together, then I’d probably burn all my notebooks. It’s such a powerful line. It’ll make you think of someone, and when you do- you’ll hope they hear. Back of their head, moving to the front. They are yours in all ways imaginable.

There’s a coldness and a comforting cruel tone to it, Jamie makes the guitar sound menacing but Alison’s voice becomes gentle in certain places which eases you. You feel like you’re chasing someone or something. Hunting them down until they admit defeat. Until they fall into a devoted admission towards you. It’s that type of passion and urgency that you find in The Kills all throughout Siberian Nights. It’s got the urgency of Cat Claw and the impending seduction of Last Day Of Magic, and so much more. I think I’m understanding the words more because my sleep pattern is so far from ideal, everything is borderline heightened. I’m so excited for Ash & Ice, and if the three songs we’ve heard so far are anything to go by- then it’s going to be nothing short of genius. However, we all know that Jamie and Alison create nothing less than perfect.

Their chemistry is envied by so many, and not many ever feel anything like that in their lifetime. It’s a mutual understanding that doesn’t require too many words. We all look for that, and when it hits you- you know. Maybe you can relate Siberian Nights to that. It makes you want to torment someone, just to let them know how close to their bones you are. Chances are, they probably won’t mind- it’s just easier to say no to the feeling than it is to go with it.

Siberian Nights is like that transition from lust to love. It’s under 5 minutes of burning, throbbing passion in song form. It’s everything I love about The Kills, plus so much more.





THE KILLS-Heart Of A Dog.

23 05 2016

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“It’s life or death why I chew through the chain.
It don’t matter my love’s the same.
Go so far but never long.”

 

I tried to get out the words out when Heart Of A Dog came out under a month or so ago. I wrote, re-wrote, got annoyed, probably took a nap and left it alone. I think that’s my approach to most things. Good and bad. Go to sleep and hope it’s better/gone by morning. Or just have another nap. Now is the time where I think I can get the words out.

In 2 weeks, I have to let go everything Blood Pressures means to me in order to make room for Ash & Ice. It’s pretty obvious how much Blood Pressures means to me, one or 2 know more than others. It was a record that was a solid crutch during a time where nothing was working out. You know how it is. Songs like The Last Goodbye, Pots and Pans, Wild Charms- they got me out of bed. Baby Says and Future Starts Slow became the songs I lived by. Keep On Your Mean Side, No Wow and Midnight Boom played vital roles in my life at certain times. Their first record is everything to me, but Blood Pressures did something to me that goes beyond words. I wasn’t sure I could let that all go. But then, Doing It To Death happened, and I had this feeling that the new record was going to do something special. However, Heart Of A Dog happened and it was like Alison and Jamie yet again got in my head and unleashed it all. Lazy emotions brought to life by two strangers. What else can you do but let them suck you in.

I love how Jamie again gives us that machine gun sound. He’s aiming for you and Alison’s words are the bullets. They fire out these phrases that smack you right in the gut, and you start to question where you’ve been placing your thoughts. You really thought nobody had heard a peep. But they did. For me, there are a couple of lines that truly mean a hell of a lot to me for their own reasons. I don’t need to get really into it, and the words do speak for themselves. “I need you. Don’t ask me why it is. I want strings – attached. Unnatural as it feels.” Hand on heart, I wish I wrote that line. I wish I had it in me to write something as brutally honest and as raw as that. We’ve all felt that way at least once. It’s a strange feeling to posses, especially when “needing” something or someone stumps you. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it truly stays with you. It goes from the back of your head to the front. Who knows what will happen.

If anything, I can fully relate to having the loyalty and heart of a dog. I’m probably as daft as one too. I always have this urge to wander off, but I know where home is. I think? If you feel something in your heart, then I always think you should go with it. That’s what I get from Heart Of A Dog, and it’s been one of the few songs I’ve had on repeat constantly recently. There’s something about the aggression in Jamie’s guitar and the delicate fury in Alison’s voice that makes me relate.

Another part of the song that really hits home is: “I get lost. But I always come around. It’s a strange fear, allows me to be found.” The wanderer will always return, and even amidst the fuck ups, honesty comes out. It has to. Sometimes you need someone to know what you’ve done, even if you’re cowering in shame. It happens to us all. Even if you’re not loyal to something or someone, you’ve probably got yourself into that kind of state. You’re always there even if you’re hiding yourself away. All it takes is one person to see through that. You’ll get there.

Although the song does sound aggressive, the lyrics are pretty vulnerable. The admission of feeling a certain way and letting the person know. Fuck..that can be massively scary and we all feel it. But it takes one person to pull out an honesty within us that other people have tried and do try to push down in us. Don’t let them win, I guess. Heart Of A Dog takes everything I love about Jamie and Alison, and out comes this 3 minute and 46 seconds worth of brutal honesty.

I’m completely and utterly ready for 3rd June. I’m ready for Ace & Ice to take over my life, to become some recluse that only wants to listen to this record and nothing else. We all need a band that has a hold on us. A band that gives us our own reality because nothing else will do.