This Is the Kit
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About This Is the Kit
Alternative-folk act This Is the Kit's rise to recognition was a slow and steady one. The name is essentially an alias for British musician Kate Stables who, along with a cast of both regular and revolving contributors, has been creating a unique style of literate, rhythmic indie folk since the mid-2000s. Although early records were met with a modicum of support, it was 2015's critically lauded Bashed Out LP that earned the group their first significant success. A major push from influential BBC 6 DJs and tours with the National and Iron & Wine brought Stables' music to a wider audience who stuck with them on later releases like Moonshine Freeze and 2020's Off Off On.
Stables was born and raised in the English town of Winchester, and was absorbed by music at an early age, learning both trumpet and guitar. It was there that she met Rozi Plain, who would become both a solo artist and a regular member of This Is the Kit, along with Jesse D. Vernon. Stables moved to Bristol in 2003, and spent more time invested in music and less time on conventional jobs. It was there that she met many of the musicians she would collaborate with in the future, and also where she cut her first record, Krulle Bol, with John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) in 2008. She eventually made the move to Paris, and gave up other employment altogether so she could focus on her music career.
This Is the Kit got their first publicity boost when Rob da Bank's Sunday Best Recordings label selected the track "Wooden Spoons" for their Folk Off compilation album. The song was received so warmly that the label then decided to release the track as a 7" single. Their sophomore effort, Wriggle Out the Restless, followed in 2010, but despite the strong single "Spinney" and favorable reviews, it didn't really build up their profile. It would be five years until the tide turned for Stables and company, but 2015 proved to be a breakthrough year for the band. The previous year they had begun to record what would become their third album with the National's Aaron Dessner. He recruited a number of notable musicians to come into the studio and work on the record, including his brother Bryce, Matt Barrick (the Walkmen), Benjamin Lanz (Beirut, Sufjan Stevens), and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, the Gloaming). Bashed Out was released in 2015 on Dessner's Brassland Records label to widespread critical acclaim.
That year, the band received support from BBC 6 DJs such as Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, who hosted an episode of Music Box devoted to them. They toured extensively in support of Bashed Out, and regularly supported acts like the National, Iron & Wine, and Sharon Van Etten. Reuniting with Parish, this time in Stables' adopted home town of Paris, the band's fourth album, Moonshine Freeze, was released in 2017 through Rough Trade, again receiving widespread acclaim. Working this time with producer Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman), Off Off On was written primarily while on tour with the National and found Stables reflecting on themes of travel and personal introspection. ~ Bekki Bemrose
- Bristol, Avon, England
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