If your musical tastes run to Gram Parsons, Blind Blake, Etta James, Audioslave and Jack White, then you may want to catch British band Kill It Kid when they batter the stage tomorrow night in Bangkok, or the following night in Chiang Mai.
Bandleader Chris Turpin describes the four-piece's music as "reconditioned delta bottleneck, Piedmont blues, Chess-era R'n'B, alt-country, rough diction and throated notes in affected songs played through radio valve amplifiers".
Named after the last tune recorded by early blues master Blind Willie McTell, the band was formed in Bath, England, in 2008. After recording an EP with John Parish (Eels/PJ Harvey/Tracy Chapman) as part of a university music course, they signed to massive UK independent label One Little Indian Records and recorded their debut album in Seattle, Washington, with producer Ryan Hadlock (The Gossip/Johnny Flynn/The Strokes).
Fired by the raw, pulsing single Pray On Me, the group's second album, Feet Fall Heavy, is a masterpiece of dirty blues guitar and dual male-female vocals framed by the spare production of London producer Leo Abrahams. Recorded in just 10 days, the album has received high marks from British critics. The BBC noted that the rich, soulful vocals by Turpin and bandmate Stephanie Ward "mix deadly hooks and a galloping sense of rhythm to create sonic dynamite".
The songs and performances sound so salty and seasoned that it's hard to believe the band members are barely in their 20s.
Since the album was released, the band has mercilessly toured Europe and America, where they racked up a buzz-confirming performance at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, last year.
Speaking by telephone from Bath, where Kill It Kid had just returned from playing in Switzerland, Belgium and Holland, Turpin explained how the band came up with its unique sound.
"I have a real crush on pre-war blues, work songs, spirituals and gospel music," he said.
Godung Mini Concert & Press Conference
Wednesday 28 November 2012
Tiger Beer Park - In front of Central World
17:00 until 22:00
Thursday 29 November 2012
Fabrique Pub & Bar Rouge
18.00 Doors Open
19.00 Abuse The Youth
21.00 Kill It Kid (UK)
"Basically these are the earliest recordings of American music. It's so pure, and so raw, especially old shellac records pressed by Columbia, Okeh and Victor. They're part of what some people call the 'Great American Songbook', which I was introduced to by The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Woody Guthrie and The Bluesbreakers.
"We were an acoustic band when we started out, more focussed on country, but then we started looking at British blues, and really wanted to re-invent that in our own way."
Kill It Kid's softer side shines in country gospel-influenced songs such as Send Me An Angel Down and Lord Hear Me Now. Although the titles and lyrics suggest religion, Turpin is quick to dispel any notions that they are a spiritual band.
"It's a borrowed feeling more than it is religion. The language of religion and of suffering and pain are so closely related. There's a natural juxtaposition between the constraints of religion and the failings of human beings. We take that language in a different direction. Relative to that, it isn't religion."
In reference to the Lomax field recording samples interspersed throughout Feet Fall Heavy, the bandleader and guitarist says: "Sampling voices from old blues records was my idea, not the producer's. We wanted to make a statement and to make it clear where our roots lay. The idea is to read it back, in our style."
Recruited by A&R legend Seymour Stein, known for breaking acts such as The Ramones, The Smiths and Madonna, the band recently signed a contract for their third album with Warner imprint Sire Records.
"We have 25 new songs, and we're still writing," notes Turpin. "We're playing some of the new tunes live already."
Turpin, a self-confessed gearhead, dotes on his collection of guitars, amps and effects.
"Especially vintage American amps, which I love," he says. "I have a 1960s Supro Thunderbolt, a 1956 Fender Tweed Deluxe, and a blackface Pro Reverb. Guitar-wise I use an old Teisco a lot. I also have a really great Bill Nash Telecaster, and a nice Les Paul. Recently I put together a Stratocaster using early Supro pickups."
Asked about their imminent visit to Thailand, Turpin said: "This will be our first time in Thailand, in fact our first time in Asia. Three of us have no idea what to expect. Our bassist [Dom Kozubik] is a real traveller, though. He's in love with Thailand and Thai culture, and has told us a lot about it. I know it's gonna be fantastic."
Support bands for both Kill It Kid shows will be charming retro rocker Hugo and indie balladeers Abuse The Youth.
Kill It Kid, Hugo and Abuse The Youth will perform tomorrow at TigerCamp Beer Park in front of CentralWorld, and on Thursday Nov 29 at Fabrique Pub&Bar Rouge, Chiang Mai. Visit www.godung.com.
About the author
- Writer: Joe Cummings
Position: Bangkok Post Correspondent