At the start of 2020 several US publications began running glowing reviews of ‘Speed Kills’, the breakneck debut album from Chubby & the Gang, a West London punk troupe comprised of members of various bands associated with The New Wave of British Hardcore, among them Violent Reaction, Abolition, Big Cheese and more. At the time, the band - helmed by local electrician Charlie Manning - had developed a cult following in the UK, largely rooted in the cross-pollinating nature of the punk scene, select shows including dates with Sheer Mag and an impending, last minute US run with Royal Hounds.
‘Speed Kills’, produced by Jonah Falco of Fucked Up, would go on to be called “the best punk-pop LP in recent memory” by Paste Magazine, a debut that “comes alive with liberating energy” in an 8.0 review from Pitchfork and full of “massive barroom gang choruses, power chords at breakneck tempos, rock spelled R-A-W-K and visceral gratification” as Stereogum put it. Impressive going for a band at the time with no publicist, no big budget label backing and no industry clout per se, beyond increasingly fervent underground support.
Following the quietly blossoming success of ‘Speed Kills’ earlier this year, Chubby & the Gang now find a new home on Partisan Records (IDLES, Fontaines D.C., Laura Marling, Fela Kuti) who reissue the album in remastered form with the unreleased cut ‘Union Dues’ included to boot and with new music on the horizon.
Chubby And The Gang Rule OK?
All Along The Uxbridge Road
Can’t Tell Me Nothing
Trouble (You Were Always On My Mind)
The Rise And Fall Of The Gang
Hold Your Breath
Bruce Grove Bullies
Blue Ain’t My Colour
The Kills have compiled an extraordinary career spanning b-sides and rarities album titled, appropriately, Little Bastards. The songs date back from the band’s first 7-inch singles in 2002 through to 2009. All of the material has been newly remastered for release on 2 x LP, CD & Digital and marks the first ever vinyl pressing for some of these tracks.
The compilation includes the unreleased and never-before-heard demo “Raise Me” from the 2008-2009 Midnight Boom era. Other highlights include “I Call It Art” from the Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited covers compilation, the brilliant Midnight Boom digital bonus track “Night Train,” a blistering performance of “Love Is A Deserter” from an XFM radio session and a handful of classic American roots songs performed with the kind of bruising delivery they’re famous for: Howlin’ Wolfs’ “Forty Four,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell on You” and Dock Boggs’ “Sugar Baby.”
Barry says: It always amazes me when a band releases a b-sides album that could easily have held an album’s worth of material. In the case of the new Kills retrospective, ‘Little Bastards’ (named after a presumably disobedient Roland 880 sampler) it could easily have been two albums worth.
1. SUPERPOWERLESS / Last Day Of Magic 7” - 2008
2. PASSION IS ACCURATE / Love Is A Deserter CD Single - 2005
3. KISS THE WRONG SIDE / Cheap And Cheerful 7” - 2008
4. RAISE ME / Unreleased Demo 2009
5. NIGHT TRAIN / Midnight Boom Digital Bonus Track 2008
6. HALF OF US / No Wow 7” - 2005
7. LONDON HATES YOU / Tape Song 7” - 2008
8. I CALL IT ART / Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited Compilation - 2006
9. FORTY FOUR / Black Balloon 7” - 2009
10. LOVE IS A DESERTER / Recorded For XFM - 2005
11. THE SEARCH FOR CHERRY RED / Pull A U 7” Single - 2003
12. MAGAZINE / Love Is A Deserter 7” - 2005
13. BLUE MOON / Future Starts Slow 7” Single - 2011
14. JEWEL THIEF / Fried My Little Brains 7” Single - 2003
15. BABY’S EYES / The Good Ones 7” Single - 2003
16. I PUT A SPELL ON YOU / Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Cover - 2009
17. RUN HOME SLOW / The Good Ones CD Single - 2005
18. WEED KILLER / Black Balloon 10” - 2009
19. THE VOID / No Wow Expanded Edition CD - 2005
Over their almost decade-and-a-half career, The Kills have released four records. Each one a restless, reckless enigmatic art statement that bristled with tension, anxiety, sex, unstudied cool and winking ennui, yet not one of them sounded like the previous one. Ash & Ice is the follow up to 2011’s critically lauded Blood Pressures and was five years in the making in part due to Jamie Hince’s five hand surgeries, which resulted in him having to re-learn how to play guitar with a permanently damaged finger.
Unlike earlier albums, which have largely been written and recorded at Key Club Studio in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the bulk of the recording for Ash & Ice took place in a rented house in LA and at the world famous Electric Lady Studios in NYC. The album was produced by Jamie Hince and co-produced by John O’Mahony (Metric, The Cribs), and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele, Arcade Fire, Amy Winehouse) and Tchad Blake (Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys).
It was during Hince’s recuperation from surgery that he first started sketching out what would become the songs for the album. To shake up the writing process, Hince booked a solo trip on the infamous Trans-Siberian Express for inspiration while Alison Mosshart, now residing in Nashville, TN, wrote some of the most affecting, poetically candid lyrics that she ever has, painting word pictures that mine the dangerous terrain between romantic obsession, prophecy and tough love. Where previous albums had an air of detachment and emotional austerity, underpinned by an uneasy self-awareness and unexpressed anger, the 13 songs on Ash & Ice are more understated, less tempestuous and more affecting because of that, exposing the kind of push-pull you feel when you find yourself in a complicated but all-consuming relationship. Ash & Ice is The Kills at their emotionally charged, arresting best. Prepare to be slayed.
Barry says: The Kills return with their newest album since 2011's 'Blood Pressures' and this might just be their most intricate and emotive offering yet. Further emphasising their innate ability to pluck at the heartstrings whilst soothing the soul. Mossheart's vocals are as sultry and emotive as ever, and the instrumentation is just as you'd expect : raw, honest and beautiful.
1. Doing It To Death
2. Heart Of A Dog
3. Hard Habit To Break
4. Bitter Fruit
5. Days Of Why And How
6. Let It Drop
7. Hum For Your Buzz
8. Siberian Nights
9. That Love
10. Impossible Tracks
11. Black Tar
12. Echo Home
13. Whirling Eye
The Kills - Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart - are back with a new studio album, "Blood Pressures", the highly anticipated follow-up to their critically acclaimed third album, "Midnight Boom".
The 11 tracks find The Kills embracing a fuller sound and becoming more adventurous in the studio, while the lyrics are honest, heartfelt and sometimes just plain heartbreaking.
As one of the most vital, striking bands recording today, The Kills' vividly unique "rock" is at once effortless, edgy and timeless.
Andy says: Superb return to form: song after top song. Mega sound too. Everything you love about The Kills on one album.
David says: How contrary are The Kills? That they've managed to find the time to make an album at all is an achievement, what with Alison Mosshart touring and recording as Dead Weather and Jamie Hince preparing for life in the tabloids as Mr Kate Moss. But that “Blood Pressures”, their fourth and best album to date, should swagger so effortlessly, well...
The band's trademark Delta sleaze, boogie-box blues could never be described as original and, yes, they're certainly walking a road that many have walked before them but, if you're of the opinion that there's never been need for any more than three chords, a pair of skinny jeans and a decent pair of sunglasses, then look no further: this is the album for you.
1. Future Starts Slow
3. Heart Is A Beating Drum
4. Nail In My Coffin
5. Wild Charms
7. Baby Says
8. The Last Goodbye
9. Damned If She Do
10. You Don't Own The Road
11. Pots And Pans