Swampy, rank sounds from the flood-prone back-blocks of some burned-out European town, this collaboration (cool aberration?) between Frenchman Dimi Dero and German Tex Napalm sounds like "Sour Mash" era Beasts of Bourbon.
Whatever they became, the Beasts of Bourbon were once the ultimate country-swamp party band, an alcohol and stimulant-charged amalgam of good time grime with a penchant for getting under their audience's skin. German-Franco duo Tex Napalm and Dimi Dero have studied the Beasts, and a few other unhealthy Australian influences, and apply what they've learned with devastating effect.
13th Street - Kevin K (Vicious Kitten)/Arbeit Macht Frei - Kevin K with Sour Jazz (13th Street Entertainment)
Kevin K ought to be huge: Think Stonesy street punk, imbued with the outlaw attitude (and sometimes lyrical obessions) of Johnny Thunders, with whom Mr K used to knock around. Temper those elements with some spiky melodies and you're halfway there. His last album (and first for Canberra's Vicious Kitten) "Magic Touch" was a grimy masterpiece. This one lacks some of its poignancy and more measured moments, but it's not far behind.
Things have been quiet on the Kevin K front in this part of the world (Australia) since the demise of Vicious Kitten, the Canberra label that was single-handedly instrumental in bringing his music Down Under. French label Lollipop looks to have picked up the slack with "Kiss of Death".
With Australian label Vicious Kitten no more, someone Down Under has to fly the flag for Kevin K, a true standard bearer for the New York Bowery music scene and someone with something to say. That Mr K does so with feet variously planted in his old stamping ground of New York City, his sometime home of Florida, occasionally Japan and, more often than not, Europe, with various local backing bands in tow, is an indictment of the wider musical world rather than an indicator of a guy with severe wanderlust.
Another Kevin K album, this one a “Best of” out of France, and the obvious question remains: Why isn’t Mr K in the firmament as one of underground rawk’s best-known stars? The guy’s consistency over fuck-knows-how-many albums is staggering, and all of these tunes are ‘keepers’.
Kevin K's nailed what he does. And that's make monstrously good rock and roll records. If you agree and you're a fan, pride yourself in the knowledge that you've found out what the rest of the world has yet to.
No sooner do I retrospectively lay my mitts on a copy of "Sealed Works" from a few years back than another - new - album comes gushing out of the pipeline, courtesy of the one-man music industry that is Kevin K. Like London buses, it seems there'll be another one along any minute. Of course the important distinction is that the ride with Kevin K is infinitely more interesting.
Mr Prolific is back - and for the last time with his French band The Real Kool Kats. It seems the demands of incessant touring and putting out four albums a year (without any diminution of quality) convinced everyone it was time to de-convene. While that’s a pity, this album is a fine postscript that stays true to their collective Kool Kats creed of dirty street punk rock delivered with the precision of a well-oiled switchblade.
It’s might be a truism that Kevin K is rock and roll’s best-kept secret. If you’re a regular here you’ll no doubt be sick of hearing it (and I’m sick of writing it.) But I have to say it again: Kevin K is rock and roll’s best-kept secret. So if you’re in the dark, just go with the flow and get acquainted. Trust me, it'll all be for the best.
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- Cool Ways - Kevin K and the Hollywood Stars (Rankoutsider)
- Deutschland - Kevin K (Kicking Records)
- Palm Trees and Humidity - Kevin K and the St Pete All Stars (self released)
- Firestorm - Kevin K & Texas Terri (Real Kat Records)
- Tramp Stamp - Kevin K (Real Kat Records)
- Lucky Hand - Chicken Snake (Beast Records)