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Kitchen’s Floor - Deadshits / Regrets / Bitter Defeat b/w Down / Live in Brisbane

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Artist: Kitchen’s Floor

Album: Deadshits / Regrets / Bitter Defeat b/w Down / Live in Brisbane

Label: Easter Bilby / R.I.P. Society / Negative Guest List / Quemada

Review date: Aug. 27, 2013

Across both albums by Brisbane’s guitar/punk/grot outfit Kitchen’s Floor, there’s been the tendency to floor it, to really blast it out, hitting the metal percussion as hard as possible, smearing the guitar and bass into overdriven 1990s-style statements of abandon and force. But on the band’s singles, the only constant between them being the presence of Matt Kennedy – without whom there’d be no band – he fills out the quota for thoughtful, compact expression in different modes. Sometimes this means Kennedy works these songs out on his acoustic, that the various configurations of the band reinforce whatever dynamics are driving the space around his braying, matter-of-fact vocalizing and heavy-handed strum. In a lot of ways, what I’m trying to describe is one guy playing with a rotating set of musicians, but in every one of these circumstances, Kennedy allows these choices to change the personality of his music, while still retaining what makes them Kitchen’s Floor songs. Again, that might not be much to ask, but down at the level of 300-count pressings and cassette tapes, it’s nearly a miracle to find a band that allows for this much range of emotion into one project, rather than segmenting it into two or more outlets.

All of these records are pretty excellent. Deadshits comprises the band’s 2008 demo, then a duo of Kennedy and drummer Julia Morris. All of the songs can be found on their debut album, Loneliness Is A Dirty Mattress, though some will prefer these more settled versions, which are likened to a down-market Swell Maps for an overstimulated, oversaturated generation – instead of fretting over submarines, they’re downing them. The Regrets EP appears here in a reissue from the 2010 edition, three songs which seem to follow a descent into the more subdued nature of the live set from that time, ably captured on Negative Guest List’s Too Dead To Notice cassette and covered here that year. Some of the tracks from that release were hammered out in loud rock trio style on their Look Forward To Nothing LP, and revisiting them on this set (now on vinyl, rechristened Live In Brisbane) reinforces the durability of these all-weather songs, sentiments changing palpably between the versions. The “Bitter Defeat” single once again pulls back to an introspective mode, returning to Andrew McClellan’s organ from the live set in lieu of bass guitar, and providing a subdued counterpoint to the album that preceded it.

The songs from these four releases, combined, feel like they could fit together in the same space, the façade of noise and aggression peeled back to expose both an uncertainty of being, and a stability and confidence from the perspective of the performances, which create a sort of indirect tension between releases. It’s a great way for Kennedy to keep his body of work as open and personal as possible, and is a significant part of why I come back to this band’s music. It seems rare to find anyone playing music in this niche who seems to understand – or care – that there can be multiple sides to a band’s sound without diluting what that band is about. The cover art may be flat black and white, but there’s a decent amount of expression within.

By Doug Mosurock

Other Reviews of Kitchen’s Floor

Look Forward to Nothing

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View all articles by Doug Mosurock

Find out more about Easter Bilby / R.I.P. Society / Negative Guest List / Quemada

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