COURTESY OF LAST.FM
Throughout the years, there have been many musical power duos (the White Stripes, the Black Keys), but none have shared the same dangerous chemistry as indie rock duo the Kills.
Made up of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince (and a feverishly dedicated drum machine), the band is a garage rock dream, conjuring up bewitchingly scuzzy tunes since 2000. This upcoming Valentine’s Day marks the 10th anniversary of their first ever live show, so the band is hitting the road for a very special tour and is set to play at the 9:30 club Feb. 2.
Their story is a thoroughly rock ‘n’ roll tale. At age 19, Mosshart heard Hince playing music in a hotel room above her when she was on tour with her band Discount. She introduced herself and the pair started to send each other music through tapes in the mail, until Mosshart left her native Florida a few months later to live with Hince in England.
Over the years, their music has gotten smoother, far from the bare bones and bluesy rock they released in 2003 for their debut album, “Keep on Your Mean Side.”
Back then, it was all about snarling guitar strums paired with Mosshart’s ever-present coaxing and moaning vocals. Everything was tinged with a devil-may-care punk attitude and the music gave the impression that it was recorded on little to no sleep after a night full of whiskey and cigarette breaks.
The release of 2008’s “Midnight Boom,” delivered “Sour Cherry,” the utterly simple and addicting track that got a mainstream boost from shows like “Gossip Girl” and “90210.” This album was the first of a few to step away from the bluesy, post-punk arena and instead delivered smooth, melodic indie rock. The only thing that remained constant is Mosshart’s powerful vocals, which are hypnotically beautiful but can shriek with the best of them.
In between the “Midnight Boom” years and their latest release, 2011’s “Blood Pressures,” Mosshart and Hince have kept themselves busy. Mosshart formed the band the Dead Weather with Jack White (The White Stripes), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes, The Raconteurs).
Hince kept himself busy with girlfriend turned wife, the style icon and supermodel, Kate Moss.
Both of these high-profile ventures only got “Blood Pressures” more attention once it was released.
The album offers an obviously more mature sounding Kills. While there is still a sense of wild abandon, it’s not quite frenzied as it was before. Everything’s tightened up, and Hince’s guitar work is less fuzzy and guttural and more rhythmic.
Their live shows are always electric; Mosshart’s ferocious on-stage persona is restless, always loping around the stage with a feline intensity. Hince is the militaristic counterpart, staying in one place, but always making intense eye contact with the crowd.
After nearly a decade of performing live, it’s fair to say the Kills have developed the perfect formula for a mesmerizing concert.