Best of 2011

Posted in Music on January 1st, 2012 by Tom

My best of 2011 is all done, though a tad bit late. Apologies.

It was a good year for the blog though, with some 40-odd posts, nearly all music related, making this the year to beat in terms of content production. It’s still a little unevenly paced still, but we made it through the year without any huge gaps in updates, which I’m quite proud of!

Without further ado, I have linked to the big list of the top albums of 2011. Below, for purposes of aggregation, is my Hype Zeitgeist widget.

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Blood Pressures

Posted in Music on September 30th, 2011 by Tom

A few weeks ago I was completely stoked by the opening track off of Blood Pressures, ‘Future Starts Slow‘ (listen on the previous post), and at that time I was skeptical that the rest of the album could live up to it.

It’s always a happy day when I’m proven wrong about something like that.

There ended up being quite a few other standout tracks on the rest of the record, most of which are best enjoyed with a good deal of volume behind them. Mosshart’s vocals continue to astound and impress, and that back-alley wail of the guitars carries you through the album.

The opening noise-feedback of ‘Satellite’ initially annoyed me, but I came to enjoy it on account of the creative chorus and vocal composition. ‘Heart Is a Beating Drum’ has a lot of spunk to it, with a melody that, even through headphones, hits you right square in the chest and demands your attention. ‘Nail In My Coffin‘ borders on manic, with buzzing guitars and swirling distortion, as well as the “oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” chorus that makes the track my sleeper hit of the album.

‘Nail In My Coffin’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

‘Wild Charms’ is a segue track, abruptly slowing the pace of the album, but to good effect. A dour, down-tempo, short number here let’s us catch our breath, and the strung-out bassline of the proceeding song ‘DNA’ comes off a hell of a lot cooler because of it. The latter has gotten some good traction thus far in the music blogosphere, and the acclaim is well-earned.

Following that is another favorite of mine, the emotional, somewhat sensual ‘Baby Says‘.

‘Baby Says’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

The lyrics are coherent, but still vague enough as to elude any obvious narrative. This works to its advantage though, as most of what makes this song so captivating is in the phrasing and word choice. A sample of lyrics follows,

Baby says, she’s dying to meet you
Take you off and make your blood hum
And tremble like the fairground lights

Baby says, if ever you see skin as fair
Or eyes as deep and as black as mine
I know you’re lying

Baby says, a howl of romance I get
From all you sleeping dogs
You thugs of god
I’ll get one yet

The notion of “thugs of god” seemed a really cool, dark idea to play with, and the swinging, almost slow-dancey vibe of the song really, really impressed me. It has quite the cinematic feel to it, which I’ll admit I’m a complete sucker for.

‘The Last Goodbye’, perhaps the most exposed, vulnerable track on Blood Pressures grew on me in time. It seems out of place, and I guess it is, but the addition of strings give the track a different sound, which lends the album more texture than it would have claim to otherwise. The last three tracks are solid enough that I always listen to the end, though they’re perhaps not particularly notable in their own right.

Blood Pressures is an album that I likely would have hated a few years ago. On the first go, it seems flat and loud, with no clear ‘radio-friendly’ place to start. I’m glad I was able to get my foot in the door with ‘Future Starts Slow’, however, because The Kills have provided us with an incredibly rich album that also just outright kicks some ass. That’s the mental characterization I have of this music: a little dirty, even a bit violent, but all heart. That raw emotion channeled through Mosshart’s intoxicating voice makes for a force to be reckoned with.

And reckon you should. The album is worth your time, no questions asked.

The Kills – Blood Pressures


Single Shot: ‘Future Starts Slow’

Posted in Music on August 3rd, 2011 by Tom

So I heard this song while I was trawling through the blogosphere the other day, and it reminded me that I needed to follow up on The Kills.

Since I heard it, I’ve had ‘Future Starts Slow‘ stuck in my head almost constantly. There’s something simple and elegantly grimy about the track that I am just totally digging.

‘Future Starts Slow’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

No fancy guitar runs or excitable percussion, just a rock-steady drum-bass-guitar pace that gives pause only at the bridge, where for the briefest of moments the song changes tone. Blink and you’ll miss it though, because it’s back to form right after, and the song finishes strong.

It’s a really fun track, and I’m excited to spend more time with Blood Pressures.

The Kills – Blood Pressures