Monday, July 09, 2007


That these is a whole network of bands influenced by that triumverate of the Birthday Party/ the Cramps/ the Gun Club shouldn't surprise anyone right now. What is pretty interesting, though, is that there is something akin to an industry segment of musicians who've got some association with that aforementioned legendary Australian band through only minimal degrees of separation of shared band members. Same goes for the others mentioned. For example, the Bellmer Dolls undoubtedly fall into this category [Bellmer Dolls-the Vanity Set-Grinderman-Birthday Party; 4 degrees of separation].

What's pretty amazing is that there's quite a lot of good bands out there on that dark, bluesy tip; just a little thought in that direction can yield the likes of Piker Ryan, Dimi Dero, the Devastations, the Drones, Woman, Alice Texas, and that will run the whole spectrum of that sound. Though I don't know how much the "degrees of separation" scheme works once you include bands like LA's Lion Fever, or SF's the Holy Kiss, but you've got two damn good additions to that list right there. Obviously I like the Holy Kiss plenty enough to put out a record of theirs that compiles rare and out of print vinyl and compilation appearances. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm about to sing their praises.

It was Sweden's Release the Bats label that scored this Holy Kiss full length, and with "Shot Love on a Back Line," the Holy Kiss wrote quite a great album. They're ostensibly more blues-influenced than most of their compatriots (that is to say, their SF post-punk and indie brethren, or even the colleagues-in-spirit mentioned above), and of course they're treading some dangerous territory there, as most electrified bands sound trite and ridiculous when compared to depth and dynamism of a Son House or a Robert Johnson.

To avoid the boogie-rock trap, or the nostalgia-act route, some bands will meld feedback and dissonance into their guitars to build on the intensity; the Holy Kiss hold back on the noise-front, but manage to approach their songs with a more collected elegance. Where the Bellmer Dolls might come out and stab you with their jagged guitar lines, there is an ethereal quality to the Holy Kiss's guitars. Matty Rue Morgue's slide guitar dances around the notes, as in the opening to "A Dancehall Goodbye," where it maintains a calm vibrato until the chorus kicks in and explodes without ever sounding reckless. In fact, the guitars almost bounce off Nick Ott's pummeling drum beats, which masterfully calm into a heavy back beat in just the right places. It's undeniably held together by the steady low-end of Dawn Hillis's bass, as on songs like "A Slave Song," where it provides the foundation for a tense crescendo. One of the highlights of the album for me is surely Matty's voice, which retains the grainy quality of previous recordings, but manages to sound clear and unaffected throughout the songs.

They take these songs on the road in August, alongside New Yorkers Woman, who you will hopefully be hearing more about shortly, as they're quite deserving of some praise themselves. Check them out at the following dates:

August 2 @ Midway in New York with the Funeral Crashers
August 3 @ Cakeshop in New York with the Star Spangles
August 4 @ PA's in Boston
August 29 @ the Double Down in Las Vegas, NV with Jail Weddings
August 30 @ the Echo in LA with Old Time Relijun and Jail Weddings (All ages!)
August 31 @ Alex's Bar in Long Beach CA with Grand Elegance, Old Time Relijun and Jail Weddings
September 1 @ TBA in San Francisco
September 2 @ 12 Galaxies in San Francisco with Jail Weddings and Sixteens

Related Links:
Release the Bats Records
The Holy Kiss on myspace
Woman on myspace



Blogger frankie teardrop said...

i am certainly looking forward to sharing the stage with these gents next thursday. we're pretty excited about it!

9:41 AM  
Blogger danscheme said...

It'll be quite the nice match!

11:45 AM  
Blogger frankie teardrop said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:04 PM  
Blogger frankie teardrop said...

ps- didjya ever get a copy of deathrock mag in the mail from alex? thanks for the piece!

pps- i kicked up an mp3 blog. i was considerin' a black ice post soon!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Parisian Cowboy said...

damn, this looks good.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Parisian Cowboy said...

damn, this looks good.

11:49 PM  
Blogger danscheme said...

No, didn't get the mag from Alex yet. Did he send it up to my Montreal address? Looking forward to it, though!
Nice blog, by the way! I'll link it up here shortly.

Mr. Cowboy,
Ca me plait que the Holy Kiss. On peut trouver leurs CD a Manic Depression en Paris aussi!

10:32 AM  
Blogger frankie teardrop said...

i'll see what alex did regarding the magazine and try to get one in your hands! it looks great!

11:20 AM  

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