ANNA CALVI: Ghost Rider (Suicide cover.)

6 09 2018

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This is something I should have written ages ago but you know, better late than never. If you’ve ever read any of what I’ve written, you’ll have seen a lot about Anna CalvI. There are so many reasons as to why I pretty much idolise her- the main one being how she is just effortlessly cool. However, another reason is that covered a song I really love by one of the greatest bands of all time.

A while ago Anna covered Ghost Rider by Suicide. If you’ve heard the original, you’ll know just how brilliant it is. It’s this ferocious song that just rips right through you like a motorbike zig zagging on the road. Swerving in an out of traffic. Flirting with danger. How could anyone ever cover this song? How could anyone cover this song and still make it as amazing as the original? Could anyone? Of course. Anna Calvi’s cover of Ghost Rider is this wild and raw version of a song that, you never thought anyone could ever take on. You didn’t think anyone could take this song on. Alan Vega and Martin Rev made music that was so out there, so ahead of its time and so gritty. What has Anna done with this song? Pull up a chair. Here we go.

Her recorded version of this is around the 2.40 mark. There’s a live clip that I’ve obsessed over today that’s about 6 minutes. Irrespective of the duration, Anna makes this song sound like someone coming for your soul. The heart is throwaway here. The soul is what she wants between her teeth with the remains of you dripping off her guitar. That’s the beautiful feeling that Anna gives you with her music, and my god she enhances this with her take on Ghost Rider. The way she uses her guitar as a machine gun on this song is insane. It makes me want to throw stuff, break stuff and just go bananas. The intro to this song has always been something that covers me in goose bumps, but Anna does it in a way that just makes you turn to jelly. Her voice is almost like a whisper, then she lets out those yelps that just grip you. I love how Anna and Colette from TwoFiftyFour both have vocals that can be really delicate then can be straight up loud and powerful in such a beautiful way. It reminds of Shirley Manson. These three have such distinctive vocals, and I’m pretty sure all three of them could take on a song by Suicide and turn it into a masterpiece all over again. I’d love to hear Shirley take on Dream Baby Dream and Colette take on Johnny. Imagine!

Suicide had this sound that just made them really standout, and to take on their songs you better be tough and fearless with it. Anna takes on Ghost Rider and makes you feel like Suicide have covered it. She makes it her own and turns it into this monster emerging from the depths of a lake or a forest, and will eventually rise to give chase. Suicide make it sound like a smutty New York alleyway encounter. If this doesn’t appeal to you, then why on earth not. I love music that has this unclean feel, and Suicide always gave me that. I loved how their music always made (and still does) me feel like nothing else has. It is unlike anything I’ve ever heard, and that’s why I adore Anna’s version of Ghost Rider. Time and time again she makes me feel like I’m finding her music for the first time. For a band or singer to have this ability is something we should never take for granted.

The way how Anna sings Ghost Rider is so different to how it was sang by Alan Vega. Alan’s vocals are quite clear and prominent. Anna takes the song, sings it softly but you can hear this urgent breathing coming out as she sings. It sounds like she is being chased as she sings this or maybe she’s the one doing the chasing. I’m going to go with the latter. It’s like she is running after someone, telling them this tale and every time those yelps come out of her and her guitar just turns into this electrifying force, you feel as if she has caught up with you and done whatever she wants with you. She rips you soul from within and takes over it by the end of the song. Her songs have always felt like a film to me, so cinematic and Suicide have always done this too, I feel. I can totally see why she took this song on. It’s like it was made for her to cover. She goes beyond doing the song justice. As someone who is pretty much obsessed with Suicide, I am utterly in awe of Anna’s cover of this incredible song. It was one of the first songs I heard by Suicide, so it holds a bit of sentimental value to me. To hear a singer I absolutely adore take on a song by a band I am forever in awe of, and make it their own. To make them take this song someplace else and make you forget it is a cover just blows my mind.

We live in a world now where Alan Vega is no longer with us, and it’s something that’s pretty hard to take in. When he died, the loss really hit me. When I listen to Anna’s cover of Ghost Rider it eases the loss and longing for a band that are no more because she just makes it something else. She turned it into her own masterpiece.





ANNA CALVI: Hunter.

31 08 2018

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Of all the records that have come out this year, and will come out this year, I am so sure that none are going to have such a hold on me as Hunter by Anna Calvi does. With one listen, I was hooked. It’s as cinematic masterpiece. Multiple listens, and my queer heart could burst with sheer joy at this beautiful masterpiece. Without sounding clichéd, this is Anna’s best record to date. Nothing can shadow this glorious piece of art. The songs are vulnerable and show sides to human nature that most would shy away from. The only way for me to get my thoughts down about this record is to just go in track by track. It’s going to be really long, but I’m not sorry for that at all. It deserves more than just words from a fan like me. It’s a perfect record that will just blow your mind in ways you didn’t think were possible.

If you’re going to stick with this, then get comfortable. Maybe play the record as you read this. Ready?

As A Man: The intro to this sets the mood of the whole record. The way it starts so intense and moody, then all of a sudden Anna’s voice comes in and possess you. She can do vocals that soothe you but she can also be utterly brutal with how bold she makes her voice. She reminds me of Shirley Manson. She isn’t afraid to show all emotions and voice them in a way that has a grip on you. The video to As A Man was released yesterday, and it is again, another work of art. I think this is such an important song, well the whole record is, because it touches on gender and sexuality, and society’s take on it all. I can truly connect with so much Anna says on this record, and this song truly shows the strength in her vocals and her lyrics. It’s so powerful and so important.

Hunter: This is the second song to be released off the record, and the video captures every emotion in this song possible. It fucks with gender, it fucks with society and it challenges you. That’s how it should be. Nothing is ever how it should be, and having these thoughts and feelings expressed in this way by Anna is beautiful. Her vocals on Hunter are so gentle. You almost feel like this is a lullaby for those who are free in who they are and those who are on the edge of doing so. It is such a gorgeous song that explores everything to do with love, lust, passion and all that it entails. You shut your eyes whilst listening to this and you can imagine someone, or yourself, freely exploring the world around them and who they are. Again, it is such an important song and the video does the song justice. The video really does expose the song to its very core and is so stripped back and open. Like I’ve mentioned already, it’s a work of art.

Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy: Sometimes when a band or singer have a lead single from their new record, it can get overlooked because it doesn’t seem new anymore. However, Anna has not fallen for this on the record. Hearing this song on the record with the previous and others following fits so well. I feel like this record is the journey of someone exploring freedom, feelings, sexuality and gender. This song is such an important part of the record, and it’s just an important song in general. Let people be fragile irrespective of their gender, it shouldn’t be that one gender can be tough but the others have to be weaker. It doesn’t work like that. I love the romanticism in this song, and it is something that has always been obvious in Anna’s music. She’s like Nick Cave in that she takes her views on love etc., and portrays them in a way that is unconventional to some but me personally, it is what I truly connect with. I still can’t get enough of this song.

Indies Or Paradise: Back to my Nick Cave reference quickly, this song has the same eeriness that Stagger Lee has. It’s got that raw darkness and massive sound to it. It’s one of my favourites, although I can’t possibly pick one for sure. I love how it’s such a dirty feeling song. It’s got this sweat-soaked smuttiness to it that I absolutely adore. It feels like stepping into something you normally wouldn’t and she exposes these strange feelings of lust and passion in such a grand way. Then she just annihilates the guitar after the two minute mark, then she almost whispers the words and you feel like she is behind you whispering in your ear. It’s insane- I love how this song has so much to offer the listener. There’s the heavy drums and the intense guitar, but all along it is Anna’s voice and lyrics that make it. It’s her words. Her words are like my favourite poets (think Rimbaud and Poe) and her voice is such a joy to listen to. Play this to your lover.

Swimming Pool: We’re now at the halfway mark of the record, and this is the song that could easily be performed without music, and delivered as a poem. The song makes you feel as if you are by the sea on a clear summer’s night. The sky is pitch black and the stars are the only source of light. Beside you is the one you love. The only one you’ll ever love, your backbone, your soulmate, your universe. It’s such a gentle and ethereal song. With this record, Anna really shows us how phenomenal she is as a guitarist. I mean, if you’re a fan you know this already but she’s gone next level on this. She’s always been on a different level to anything else I’ve ever heard before, and this song is such a beautiful and soothing song. It just oozes reassurance and unconditional admiration, and love. It is such a beautiful song that gently wraps itself around you, and cautiously tugs at your heartstrings. The lyrics are just beautiful, and Anna’s voice on this song is nothing short of magnificent.

Alpha: There are two songs on this record that I am ridiculously excited to write about. Obviously I’m excited to write about the whole record, but two songs this morning in particular stuck with me when I heard them. I really really hope Alpha is released as a single because the video to this would be wild. It’d just be the wildest and insane video. The way Anna toys with gender on this song is wonderful. She questions so much on this song, and does it in a way that makes you do exactly the same. I love how powerful this song is, it’s easily one of the most powerful songs on the record, and you’d think it’d be the most vulnerable given the amount of questioning, but it’s definitely the toughest song on the wrong. I love how she basically roars out, “I divide and conquer” towards the end of the song, and just launches into such a powerful guitar break that is probably going to be amazing to see live.

Chain: This is another one I hope Anna releases as a single because the video would be so amazing. Chain massively toys with sexuality and gender, and I just love it. I love how obvious it is, but not in a clichéd way. I love how Anna sings: “I’ll be the boy you be the girl I’ll be the girl you be the boy I’ll be the girl.” So simplistic, but there’s something about it that just oozes the beauty in being free of labels. I adore how open the song is, and you can take it in whatever way you want. It’s definitely one of those songs that make you feel fearless and like you can take anything, and anyone one. There’s another line in the song that I love, “And in the golden light the sun began to set on her red lips and her words.” It is such a captivating line, and I think it might be my favourite lyric on Hunter. There’s so much in that line, and it’s sung so beautifully. The whole song is just out of this world. Anna’s voice is unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. Its part operatic, part punk and one of a kind.

Wish: Five minutes and sixteen seconds of euphoric joy. This is the other song I have been so excited to write about. I nearly got run over on the way home from work listening to this, its fine. I was totally engrossed in the song. I love how it has this dramatic build up, and the way Anna sings on this song is so intense. I love the line, “My mind is free…” There is something so magical about this line and the urgency in Anna’s voice throughout this song just leaves me in awe. It’s definitely a song that’ll make everyone go nuts when she plays it live. It’s got something about it that just screams urgency, need and the intense desire to be heard. I just love it so much, I don’t think my words can do this song justice. There are so many reasons as to why this is such a great song, but the main one is just how it goes off from the 3 and a half minute mark, then it calms down. It’s like a storm erupting and how it becomes tame towards the end is like the calmness after a thunderous downpour. It’s a song to play loud so your neighbours and beyond get into it. It’s a song I could happily talk someone’s ears off about. I’m obsessed with it.

Away: The more I read Anna’s lyrics, the more I am certain she is a poet. She’s not just a singer or musician. She’s a poet who gets to the very heart of you. She delves deep into the soul and is unafraid to expose human vulnerabilities. I have so much love and respect for her, and this record is just an exceptional piece of art. Away is a gentle song, and it is one of the quieter moments on the record. Imagine being in the studio as this was recorded. It’s the kind of song that would just reduce you to tears. If I saw her sing this live, I’d just cry. I’m not ashamed, I’d breakdown but it’d be a moment I was happy to be in. There is something really special about this song, and I hope it isn’t overlooked by anyone who listens to it, because these quiet moments show just how strong Anna’s voice is and how she can make herself sound fragile even when her voice is the most powerful thing you’ll hear.

Eden: I don’t want this record to end, but Eden is a gorgeous song to end on. There is so much innocence in this song, and it really comes to life in this line: “On your bed so small, with your heroes on the wall. In the fading light.” I love how this makes you think of the innocence of a pure and unfiltered love you have for your person. I love how it has this beautiful wonder about it, and how having such intimate moments like this cause you to pick up on details such as photos of people you admire are on the wall, and your love stares upon them as you are lying close together in this small space. It is just so beautiful. So beautiful. Like I said, I don’t want this record to end but this song is the perfect ending to such a magnetising record. For me, this song expresses the journey of falling in love and always being in love with that one person. It’s such a personal, intimate song that really hits you in the gut. I hope she’s super proud of this song because she captures something so pure here.

I’ve been a fan of Anna since I first heard her cover of Jezebel, I think. I was hooked and I knew I had found a singer I could connect with. I knew I had found someone who I would always connect with and couldn’t wait to hear more of. I’ve used Anna’s music as a crutch and an escape route many times, but Hunter doesn’t feel like an escape route. It feels like a form of security and place of acceptance, and I hope it gets to those who need it. I hope it gets to those who are questioning themselves, and they find their way in this record and become fearless hunters. I know she’ll never see this but, Anna- this is the best record I’ve heard in a long time, and I have so much love for this record and I cannot thank you enough for creating something I can identify with that I’ve not really felt before. Grazie x





ANNA CALVI: Hunter

31 07 2018

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There is so much I can write about Anna Calvi and still never feel it is enough. She is one of those artists that creates continuous masterpieces and for me, is just up there with my holy trinity- Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen. She paints the world in a way that is so relatable. In a way that is full of passion, eeriness, brutal truths and seductive poetry. She is someone you’d want to be in the presence of constantly singing these glorious songs and annihilating her guitar right before you. I’ve loved her for so long, and she blows my mind every single time I hear her voice and every single time I read her lyrics, which give off the same darkness and rawness that is found in Poe. She’s out of this world, and she’s shown this again on her new song, Hunter.

What I adore about Anna is that she challenges all that is expected, she goes against what is boringly typical. She is fascinating to listen to, and I just have to see her on her tour in October because I’ve been waiting years and years to see her. I want to be right at the front, and gaze in awe at her as she unleashes hell with her voice and guitar.

Hunter starts with the wonderful line, “I dress myself in leather.” Straight away you know something is going to happen in this song that you’ve not felt or heard before. It is has a brilliant sinister feel to it, but the softness of her voice in this song balances out the fear. I’ve always found such comfort in Anna’s music. We always search for something or someone to relate to in music, and I remember when I first heard Jezebel in 2010. It was over for me. I get goosebumps now just thinking about it. She has this sacred feel to her music, and for me, she is all I want from a singer and a songwriter. I know that Nick Cave is the one person I’d love to sit down and talk about their words and music with, but my god she is joint first with him.

Hunter explores what is constantly ignored or deemed as inappropriate. Anna challenges this lame norms: “I wanted simplicity, I wanted something quietly brave, quietly defiant. I wanted there to be intimacy. I wanted to find a place between beauty and ugliness.” There is so much beauty and intimacy in her music, and Hunter truly captures her ability to do so in all its glory. I’m so excited for her new record (which is also called Hunter) and for the journey she takes us all on with these songs. Hunter allows you to feel as if you’ve stepped into something you haven’t experienced before. She shows you this form of freedom that others try to steer us away from. If you cannot be free in your mind, sexuality and gender- what’s the point?

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Hunter is a wonderfully tender song that you cannot help but connect with. With this song, Anna eases any doubts in a persons mind to explore and find out who they are. It is a safety net. To sum it all up perfectly, Anna says: “Hunter is about exploring one’s pleasure in all possible ways, free from any shame. It’s about finding a safe space where this is welcomed and supported.” Wherever this safe space may be, never let anyone take it from you.

Hunter will be released on 31st August via Domino Record co.





ANNA CALVI: Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy.

6 06 2018

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Time is precious. Time can be cruel. Time can be kind. Over time, good things can happen. This is apt for the new Anna Calvi single, Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy. She is someone I have idolised since I first heard Jezebel in 2010. I was hooked on her voice. She reminded me of the ones I had loved (and still love) before her- Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and PJ Harvey. Now she’s back and I can’t pretend to even try hide my sheer joy about this.

Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy toys with everything that is supposed to be “normal.” But the thing is, nothing is normal. Nothing has to be how it always has been. It’s important to challenge ideas, ideals and people. What’s the point if we live in a world of repetition and blandness? This song 100% shows us just why Anna is a genius. I may lob that around a lot, but my god she totally is. The love I felt when I heard here back in 2010 has come rushing back. It feels like falling in love at a billion miles an hour with no concept of time and space. It’s the best feeling. This song evokes all kinds of happiness and questions. It totally messes with how society views sexuality, gender and everything else. Freedom cannot be dictated, and Anna expresses this so beautifully here. I cannot wait for the tour and her new record.

The song oozes private moments that you share with the one you love. Those proper intimate moments that nothing and no one can interrupt or take from you. It’s these moments that become sacred and vital for the soul to be comforted. It’s a modern love song that messes with what you’ve come to expect from love, lust and passion. It’s such a fantastic song that needs to be played all the time and as loud as you can handle, and allow the song to take you over like an outer-body experience. I’m happy to keep listening to this over and over until her new record, Hunter comes out.

There’s something about this record, and song that Anna has said which resonates with me a hell of a lot, “I’m fighting against feeling an outsider and trying to find a place that feels like home.” This is such a beautiful and relatable quote, and I think it sums up her music completely. She’s unlike anyone else and she pushes and tests us with her charming way with words. Her words provide comfort and safety, but at the same time she takes you away from all that you know and challenges you. I simply adore this about her and her music. Her words are powerful and poetic. She is a walking, talking, singing, breathing masterpiece. I really cannot do her music justice by writing words about her. I really can’t. From about the 2 minute 45 second mark in the song, she hits this note. This note will shatter you and make you feel so alive. Her voice is so powerful, and she can be harsh and delicate at once.

She has the darkness of Poe and the romantic side of Rimbaud. She isn’t afraid to show fragility and feel vulnerable with her music and words. She does it in a way that evidently isn’t forced. None of it is an act- it’s all her, and that is exactly why you connect with her. If you feel like I do about her music, or even about another musician- you’ll know that these feelings are something to treasure and adore.

Hunter will be released on 31st August 2018 via Domino. Next February she will be playing a massive show at the Roundhouse in London on 7th February. But if you cannot wait until then (understandable!) you can see Anna and her amazing band in September/October:

SEPTEMBER
27th Belfast, Empire
28th Dublin, Tivoli Theatre
30th Glasgow, St Luke’s

OCTOBER
1st Manchester, Ritz
3rd Newcastle, Boiler Shop
4th Birmingam, Town Hall
5th Brighton, All Saints Church
6th Bristol, SWX





THE KILLS: Kissy Kissy

7 09 2016

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For the past few days I’ve constantly had Kissy Kissy in my head by The Kills. Maybe it’s because my mind has slowly caught up with the fact that I’m seeing them in a couple of weeks. First stop will be Manchester- the first night of their UK tour, followed by their London date which is the last date of the tour. I am more than happy for someone to fund me doing the whole tour. My ultimate dream has always been to follow a band on tour and write about it. But I’m not William Miller. This isn’t Almost Famous. It’s just a 29 year old with a wasted dream. Get in line. So, with Kissy Kissy firmly placed in my head I thought I would write about why it’s in my Top 10 songs by The Kills. I don’t have a solid list, but I know for sure that Kissy Kissy is right up there.

For me, part of my love for Jamie and Alison is the aggression in their sound. The way Jamie can make his guitar sound like a machine gun and Alison can snarl her way through some of their most rowdy songs has always left my mind blown and my heart firmly out of my body, flailing on the floor whilst taking its last few beats. Their music means THAT much to me. From hearing their first record around 13/14 years ago to now getting stupidly excited when I hear Impossible Tracks. It goes beyond being just a love for a band. It’s most definitely a crutch, and one I am not ashamed to lean on. I probably go to music before a person. Then I go to a person, and listen to some music. I like to get different opinions. With The Kills I’ve always felt like I’ve found some form of home there. I like things to be unorganised and a bit rough. That’s how I like my music- a complete opposite of me. I want the aggression, the fury and the rage. I want it all blasting in my ears. Kissy Kissy sums up all of that, and really for me, sums up the sound of The Kills. The guitar and the drum machine ricochet like a gun. The verses are repeated like bullets being reloaded. It’s the perfect song to unleash any frustration to. Getting out that anger that someone causes you is sometimes a good thing. Me? I don’t. I won’t ever raise my voice and I’ll avoid confrontation. I’ll just go home and play The Damned. Kissy Kissy.

The intro sounds like a snake winding it’s way towards you, the drum machine has this gripping tick tock sound. It feels like Jamie and Alison are coming for you, and everything is closing in on you. Tick tock, goes that irritating clock on the wall. You’re so sure it is moving too fast. Tick tock. Tick..fucking tock.

Some may regard the lyrics as being too repetitive or having no depth. Don’t listen to them. The Kills have never ever needed to fall in line with pretentious words to conjure up anything in the mind. They go beyond you seeing things in your mind, they make you feel it in your body. You feel as if you’re living the songs. If you walk down the street listening to Future Starts Slow or Fuck The People you feel instantly cooler than you are. You feel something quite powerful. Do it.

The way they sing “It’s been a long time coming” that sounds so beautifully sinister. A lot of their earlier songs have this sinister feel to them, as if they are coming for you. Just lurking in the corners until you slip up- then they pounce upon you. As if there could be anything better than that. A lot of their songs do hold a sentimental value to me, and I can easily relate them to a time or place. But with Kissy Kissy, it just seems to be always in my head on a loop. The way the guitars and drum machines sound ferocious and their vocals match this in a way I’ve not really heard before, it just makes me feel like I’m hearing the song for the first time every single time I play it.

I love that they still have it in their setlist, I can’t imagine a show by them without this song being played. The live version of Kissy Kissy is incredible and taints how you hear it on record. They let themselves go completely and the way the words are snarled and the way the guitar unleashes this beautiful burning rage leaves you wishing you could compose something like that. It is songs like Kissy Kissy that just reinforce my love for Jamie and Alison, over and over again. Certain songs by them I go back to just to reinforce my love for them, and Kissy Kissy is easily one of them.

From looking at recent setlists, I’ve got a handful of songs that I cannot wait to witness live and I’m pretty sure that Kissy Kissy is going to be one of the ones I’ll remember until my memory fails me. There’s something so powerful and so raw about it. So typically Alison. So typically Jamie. The way they look at each other when they sing it, the way Jamie struts with his guitar as if it is a weapon. The way Alison throws herself around with her guitar and spews out the words. The way they sing the song together. Everything, just everything about it- I cannot get enough. The song whirls around my head most days and I’m more than happy with it staying there. It feels like it could be in a blood bath scene in a violent film or it can be equally at home in my head. It was one of the first songs I ever remember hearing by them, and it is one of the great moments on their debut, Keep On Your Mean Side. Just under 6 minutes long, Kissy Kissy is a timeless and rebellious anthem for us outcasts. Stay on the outside and play it loud.





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.