Kinski, "Guest Girl Vocalist" (Kill Rock Stars)
Kinski have been stalking Seattle's rock circuit for 20 years now, so it's relatively easy to take them for granted. Yes, they play out often, both opening for amazing touring acts (Acid Mothers Temple, Träd Gräs Och Stenar, Oneida, and, uh, Tool) and headlining at various venues. You've likely grown accustomed to their sound—dense, distorted, burly rock that moves swiftly, powerfully, and (mostly) linearly to headbanging pay-offs, like some sensible hybrid of Ramones and Sonic Youth. You can always trust them to give 110 percent and to raise your pulse rate.
What you don't expect from Kinski are vocals from stalwart bassist Lucy Atkinson. So when she takes the mic on "Guest Girl Vocalist" (an archetypal Kinski-esque self-aware title), it's a bit of a shock. The song's one of the standouts from the new LP, Accustomed to Your Face (out October 12), their first since 2015's 7 (or 8). Initial listens lead one to believe that Face is Kinski's pop record, with guitarist Chris Martin singing earnestly on songs like the Pavement-esque "This Is the Weekend We Take the House Apart" and "Fun Couple." However, "Guest Girl Vocalist"—which clocks in at a compact 1:57—roars with Road to Ruin and Daydream Nation bravado, stops and starts on a dime, and finally careens off the freeway, shooting sparks in all directions while paraphrasing the Buzzcocks' "Boredom" at one point, as Atkinson expresses exasperation (with her tour mates?). One can imagine KEXP's Sonic Reducer program giving it plenty of love. "Guest Girl Vocalist" is one of the band's most cathartic jams in their two-decade existence.
In other Kinski news, their 2001 album (which happens to be my favorite), Be Gentle with the Warm Turtle, is slated to be reissued via Kill Rock Stars on Black Friday Record Store Day on November 23. The fourth side of the two-LP set will include two bonus tracks from the time period: "My New Worry" and "Teen Center" (from the Hall of Mirrors comp).