SXSW Round-Up: The Kills Put On The Best Show Of SXSW By A Band Not Named My Morning Jacket…And Why Jenny Lewis Isn't the Hottest Woman In Indie Rock
Unlike Sasha Frere-Jones, my main gripe with indie rock don't stem from it's lack of blackness. More than anything, I have trouble dealing with the idea that Jenny Lewis is indiedom's official pin-up girl. No joke, I think she won first in the 2006 Stereogum poll and came in second in 2007. The winner last year, of course, being Feist, therein proving the voters themselves have bad taste in both senses of the word. Nothing against J-Lew though, she's certainly attractive and the fact that she was the star of The Wizard gives her enough street cred to play Super Mario Bros. 3 at my house anytime she wants. But let's all be honest with ourselves, Jenny Lewis looks like the kind of girl who fakes it every time. Granted, my only evidence is that last godawful Rilo Kiley album that had her singing the world's least believable sex songs. But really, you could almost hear her yawning.
VV from The Kills, doesn't need to write tacky and tawdry pop songs about porn stars because everything she does is indistinguishable from the notion of sex. She could recite the phone book and you'd be turned on. To say nothing of the back of the LA Weekly. On-stage, this notion is inescapable. She's got a a damaged, Suicide Girl beauty, raven hair, cream-colored skin. That prettiest girl in art-school look, immaculately put-together. silverly jangly bracelets, skin-tight black jeans, leather jacket, and a robin hood hat slung low over a searing stare.
From the moment The Kills took the stage at Antone's, you half expected VV to rip off her jacket and strip, instead she grabbed off her hat and flung it behind her, all id, grabbing the microphone violently, spitting on-stage, lost in her velocity of her own mind. Wavering from a luring purr to a plaintive howl, her voice full of life and death and a whiskey-washed, nicotine-scorched blues. Another guy plays on-stage. I think he goes by Hotel but his real name is Jamie. Apparently, he used to date Kate Moss or something. You won't notice. Of course, the songs themselves are great, inverted blues riffs, staccato drum machines, grimy, stabbing guitars, urgent, sounding tunes that ring with a smoky air of desperation. Midnight Boom, the Kills' third jaunt, is a great record, one of the best released this year and with Sleater-Kinney gone, VV is probably the best female front-woman in rock. Plus, I imagine she's incredible at Super Mario Bros. 3.