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Album Review

K-Holes leader Jack Hines was a member of the Black Lips for a few years before he left the band, relocated from Atlanta to New York City, and launched his latest project, and it's not hard to spot the influence of his old friends on the K-Holes' first album. However, while the Black Lips have a way of making their dingy morass of sound seem somehow fun — not at all wholesome or healthy, but fun — the K-Holes' self-titled album makes it clear from the start there's something creepy and dangerous going on in this music, and this is party music that carries the stench of damnation and decay with every note. Sara Palmquist's often-atonal saxophone lines recall a sleepier version of what James Chance was doing with the Contortions, and the steady pound of Cameron Michel's drumming is big enough to hold things in place when Hines' guitar begins to drift off into a cloud of random noise and flailing notes. Add the alternately furious and agonized wails of Hines and fellow vocalist Vashti Windish, and the implacable subsonic bass of Julie Hines, and you get an album you could dance to (well, sometimes) if songs like "Swamp Fires," "Werewolf with a Tan," and "The Gutter" didn't sound so much like the long march to Hades. If the Black Lips often come off like a frat rock band gone horribly to seed, the K-Holes suggest the Birthday Party's more inept but equally driven cousins, and for all the similarities between the two bands, the K-Holes have accomplished something on their first album that the Black Lips haven't managed and probably never will: creating rock & roll that will unnerve you and make you uncomfortable while you sip your beer and tap your foot. If you want fun that's certain to upset a few of your friends, the K-Holes are a must for your next party.


Formed: 2010 in New York City

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

New York City's the K-Holes took their name from a hallucinatory trance state often compared to a schizophrenic episode that's brought on by abuse of the drug ketamine. That might seem like a strange name for a rock band, but given the K-Holes' dark, murky swamp of sound, it's also curiously appropriate. The K-Holes were formed by guitarist and singer Jack Hines, who was a member of the Black Lips from 2002 to 2004. Hines, an Atlanta native, left the Black Lips to spend more time with his new wife...
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K-Holes, K-Holes
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