On the second floor of the Baltimore Museum of Art hangs a painting by Andre Masson– There Is No Finished World– a surrealistic and supine work of skeletal creatures, protruding in a gutsy and unraveled altered state of consciousness.
I used to stare at this painting, the time in the outskirts of this urban mass pouring slowly like years on end, at once becoming home to all the tensions of an apocalyptic mindset and an evolving earth, constantly illuminating the war between the grotesque and the beauty inside it, the dying and the living inside them.
Then I would sit on the steps of The BMA, and listen to The Kills.
In 1980, “Wendel” was awarded a platinum record for (his or her) role as drum machine on Steeley Dan’s album “Gaucho.” It wasn’t quite 1984, but already the line between technology and humanity had progressed into one beautified modern dystopia.
Enter Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince two decades later, the transcontinental spark of trendy, lo-fi production and sonic minimalism that became The Kills. Since 2000, The Kills have been finding ways to assuage hyper-anxiety with high-frequency drum-machine backbeats and a mystifying sensuality. They’ve poked and prodded through the boundaries of electronic pandemonium, crafting tracks that serve as a modern exposition of organized chaos.
Just as an Unfinished World exorcised bouts of nervous tension, so does the music of The Kills; their 2011 release, “Blood Pressures,” boils with frenetic energy, conjuring lust for the cacophony of a dynamic mind. “She come alive when she dying,” Mosshart sings in “Damed If She Do,” with a desperation underscored by ripping persistent guitar chords and the ever-eager soul of the drum machine.
Their follow-up to Blood Pressures is currently in the works, coinciding with their display of multimedia exposition; Hince is premiering his photo exhibition “Echo Home” in New York City, while Mosshart’s paintings, (her obsession for which sprung from time in her Nashville studio) have caught the attention of New York Times Magazine.
The duo is currently on a summer-long tour, opening for The Black Keys, Jack White, The Arctic Monkeys, and Queens Of The Stone Age. They’re headlining Cannery this Friday, May 30.