The Kills – “Live at Third Man Records”

I discovered The Kills thanks to Spotify. I input one of my favorite bands, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Spotify came back with one of those, “if you like BRMC, then you’ll like The Kills”. And it was right! Oh so right. So the other day when I saw on Facebook that Jack White’s label, Third Man Records, released a live LP by The Kills recorded at Third Man, I had to place my order. Mail order always makes me nervous, especially after the USPS destroyed my copy of Sub Pop 1000 a while back, and given that Live at Third Man Records was due to arrive during some high temps in Seattle (yes, we do get hot weather here…. exactly one week a year), I was a bit concerned I’d have a wavy pile of junk when I opened the box… but it was all good. Maybe one of these days I’ll break down and actually order some stuff from overseas…

The Kills are guitarist Jamie Hince and singer Alison Mosshart. Hince keeps the guitar tuned down and the sound moody, while Mosshart… oh Mosshart… sings in that deep, passionate voice that makes me really love this band. Hince and Mosshart are perfect together, from the song writing to the harmonizing, it’s like they were meant to be together on stage. Their initial collaborations took the form of mailing tapes back and forth between Florida (Mosshard) to England (Hince) to exchange ideas, and some cuts from these tapes even made it onto their ablums. That, my friends, is dedication. And all that hard work paid off in four fantastic studio records, and now this great live album.

Six of the eight tracks on Live at Third Man Records are from The Kills’ 2011 studio release Blood Pressures, with “Tape Song” being pulled from Midnight Boom (2008) and “Kissy Kissy” from Keep on Your Mean Side (2003) to round out the set list. I’ve got to give Third Man credit, because the sound quality of the live set is exceptional – I had to to turn up the volume a bit from where I had it set for The KLF records I was listening to earlier in the day… but there was plenty of room on the volume knob to get where I wanted to go with ultra clean sound. In fact I liked it so much I went onto their site and ordered live records by Cold War Kids and The’s as well.

The Kills stay fairly true to their studio versions on Live at Third Man Records. Their recorded stuff has always had that raw, live sound to it, so this isn’t a huge departure, though Hince’s backing vocals sound a lot better than normal. Mosshart is, of course, awesome, oozing sexiness and energy and anger and power, especially on “Tape Song”. And on “The Last Goodbye” she’s unbearably amazing, sounding like a modern Edith Piaf and showing that she does indeed have an impressive pure singing voice to go along with her normally punky sound.

If you haven’t listened to The Kills before, you owe it to yourself to at the very least check them out. Get on iTunes and listen to some clips, especially “Future Starts Slow” and “Heart is a Beating Drum”, and maybe “The Last Goodbye” if you feel like shedding a tear.

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