Throughout the course of this site’s 10+ year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of ink covering the critically applauded and commercially successful duo The Kills. And with the release of albums like 2003’s Keep on Your Mean Side, 2005’s No Wow, 2008’s Midnight Boom, 2011’s Blood Pressures and 2016’s Ash & Ice, the duo — Alison Mosshart (vocals) and Jamie Hince (guitar, production) — have firmly cemented a reputation for crafting a scuzzy and swaggering power chord-based blues and garage rock sound and approach.
Since the release of Ash & Ice, the duo have been busy with their own, individual creative projects: Mosshart published a book of poetry and photography and released some solo material while Hince has been busy with production work. But the duo close out 2020 with the release of Little Bastards, a career-spanning compilation of B-sides and rarities.
The album derives its name from the affectionate nickname that the pair gave to the drum machine they used in their early days and a wry comment on the tracks eventual fate: in many cases, the tracks were crafted on to fill bonus-track space on CD singles, they effectively vanished with the release format that necessitated their creation. The material dates back from the duo’s first batches of 7 inch singles released between 2002 and 2009.
Newly remastered for release on CD, digital and on vinyl LP, it also marks the first ever vinyl pressing for some of the tracks. A significant portion of the compilation features covers — including their feral and sensuous cover of the oft-cover Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘ “I Put A Spell On You.” Continuing in a similar vein the compilation’s latest single is the serpentine blues number “Weed Killer.” Centered around slashing bursts of distorted guitar and Mosshart’s sultry delivery, the song is everything I love about The Kills: gritty, dirty blues rock delivered with an ass-kicking, name-taking swagger.
The recently released Sally Walker Hudecki-directed video features footage from a Kills show in New York back in 2012. It’s an accurate representation of the duo’s live show and a reminder of what many of us miss so dearly.