No doubt about it – The Kills are back. It has been a long five years waiting for new music from the rock and roll power duo Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince. Indeed, obstacles and side projects delayed their process, but oh, how they have overcome. Freshly healed and eager to hit the road, these two take on 2016 with zero hesitation. This year is their oyster as they head out on a major world tour whilst promoting their fifth studio album Ash and Ice which officially releases June 3, 2016. Having survived the blistering desert heat and raging wind at weekend 1 of Coachella, they take refuge in Los Angeles during the festival’s lag week. First stop was downtown’s own art deco gem The Mayan Theater where they played one of Mosshart’s all-time favorite shows as she shared during the band’s interview with Jason Bentley of KCRW. Wednesday night marked the latest installation of KCRW’s intimate Apogee Sessions in which they curate a private interview and performance for a select audience to get up close and personal with artists. Five years, six surgeries, and a whole new attitude later, it is safe to feel that The Kills are not only here to stay, but they still have more than enough ruggedly enticing and sinfully delicious grunge to offer.
Jason Bentley opens the evening with a “Happy 4/20” greeting, instantly bringing a smile to everyone’s faces. During the interview, he inquires about the band’s recent Coachella and Mayan experiences. Mosshart happily asserts that the show at The Mayan, “was maybe my all-time favorite show that we ever played… It sounded perfect. The lights weren’t annoying. I never felt my legs. Not even once.” It appears they have come back with a bit of a vengeance since guitarist Jamie Hince wounded his hand so badly that the tendon popped out, requiring surgical intervention and forcing him to re-learn to play the guitar. The long road to creating Ash and Ice may have been a treacherous one since Hince is known to be the mean one in the studio. However, the first single and glimpse into the album “Doing It to Death” is worth the trouble. Bentley curiously inquires about the song’s lyrics “double sixing it, night after night,” to which Hince clarifies that it is a dice reference, “Because once you roll a double six, you’ve got to roll again… Metaphorical dice.”
Though the small stage does not necessarily provide the amount of space that typically encourages The Kills to bring whoever and whatever they choose on stage, they still find a way to translate their larger than life sound on a smaller scale. The best new tracks in real time include “Heart of a Dog” and “Whirling Eye.” They carry the gritty yet satisfying attitude that makes this band so appealing. Mosshart recklessly whips her hair about, embodying every ounce of a powerhouse female frontwoman. Hince eagerly gets ingrained in the performance by taking his playing to the floor at the end. The two truly put on a stellar rock show, no matter what the size. It is all about the music. KCRW airs the interview and performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic Wednesday May 18th.
Hard Habit to Break*
Heart of a Dog*
Doing It to Death*
*new songs off Ash and Ice