13 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Although Where It Lives was released as a digital-only offering by the Bristol, England–based This Is the Kit, these songs were actually recorded by singer Kate Stables in her home without any accompaniment. But who needs a band when you can track mercurial three-part vocal harmonies as flawless as those on the bluesy, electric guitar–based “With Her Wheels Again”? Stables swaps the amplified six-string for acoustic arpeggios on the following folkie number, “We Need Our Knees,” where she sings one beautifully stark vocal track over nimble fingerpicking. Echoes of Vashti Bunyan emanate from “Two Wooden Spoons,” where Stables’ buttermilk-smooth inflections flow alongside more dexterous folk guitar playing. Although she's wonderful as a guitar player, there’s something even more magical when Stables picks up a banjo. Check out “Creeping Up Our Shins,” where that unmistakably traditional tone plucks and flutters around her quivering voice. It’s an uncanny pairing that resonates with an undeniably symbiotic chemistry. In “Do More Dancing,” she exercises more restraint on the banjo, letting her lilting vocal melodies carry the song.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Although Where It Lives was released as a digital-only offering by the Bristol, England–based This Is the Kit, these songs were actually recorded by singer Kate Stables in her home without any accompaniment. But who needs a band when you can track mercurial three-part vocal harmonies as flawless as those on the bluesy, electric guitar–based “With Her Wheels Again”? Stables swaps the amplified six-string for acoustic arpeggios on the following folkie number, “We Need Our Knees,” where she sings one beautifully stark vocal track over nimble fingerpicking. Echoes of Vashti Bunyan emanate from “Two Wooden Spoons,” where Stables’ buttermilk-smooth inflections flow alongside more dexterous folk guitar playing. Although she's wonderful as a guitar player, there’s something even more magical when Stables picks up a banjo. Check out “Creeping Up Our Shins,” where that unmistakably traditional tone plucks and flutters around her quivering voice. It’s an uncanny pairing that resonates with an undeniably symbiotic chemistry. In “Do More Dancing,” she exercises more restraint on the banjo, letting her lilting vocal melodies carry the song.

TITLE TIME

About This Is the Kit

Alternative-folk act This Is the Kit's rise to recognition was a slow and steady one. The name was essentially an alias for British musician Kate Sables, along with regular contributors among the ever-revolving ones. She 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 here 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. Sables moved to Bristol in 2003, and spent more time invested in music and less time on conventional jobs. It was here 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 Sables 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 and Wine, and Sharon Van Etten. Their fourth record marked a shift from the previous album, as it was recorded in her adopted home of Paris. They reunited with Parish to produce the record, and it was released through Rough Trade. Moonshine Freeze was released in 2017, with the title track acting as the lead single. ~ Bekki Bemrose

ORIGIN
Bristol, Avon, England
FORMED
2003

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Played