Noisy moments

Seattle heavy-makers Kinski are back with first album in five years

Chico faves Kinski make a triumphant return to town. From left: Matthew Reid Schwartz, Lucy Atkinson, Barrett White and Chris Martin.

Chico faves Kinski make a triumphant return to town. From left: Matthew Reid Schwartz, Lucy Atkinson, Barrett White and Chris Martin.

Photo By Shane Williams

Kinski performs Saturday, May 25, 8 p.m., at Café Coda. Tropical Popsicle and West by Swan open.
Cost: $8.

Café Coda
265 Humboldt Ave.

It’s been six years since Kinski released a new record. Some people were even beginning to think they were no more. But at a recent Portland performance the Seattle four-piece was in fine form, and sounding properly loud—not just loud, but massive, like a passing freight train. Not only did it prove that Kinski was still with us, but it also reaffirmed what a powerful band they are.

There aren’t many bands that can rein in such out-there sounds. Kinski has always made space-rock with a pulse. But it was over the course of their past two studio records that the songs grew more structured and to the point. Kinski’s latest LP, Cosy Moments, is anything but cozy, but it is the most tuneful and straight-ahead record of their career, mixing the right amount of controlled chaos and pop sensibilities.

“We all grew up listening to melodic rock bands like the Beatles and Hüsker Dü,” explains guitarist-vocalist Chris Martin, illustrating their wide range of influences. “We just got burned out doing the more expansive stuff.”

Cosy Moments could be called Kinski’s punk-rock record. Two songs clock in at—gasp!—under two minutes. Those not-so-cozy moments are countered by instrumentals like “We Think She’s a Nurse,” which unravels at the pace of a sunset. The album was recorded in just a few days, a testament to the band’s trying out new material live for months, even years, before entering the studio. And while Cosy Moments stands out in many ways, Kinski’s familiar wall of sound remains.

“I kind of see it as part of a trilogy with Alpine Static and Down Below It’s Chaos,” Martin says, referring to the band’s previous two releases. “[Producer] Randall [Dunn] wanted to make sure there was a sonic thread.”

Without going into detail Martin says the band has dealt with personal issues over the past few years, which halted production of the album for a while. Bumps in the road are not entirely new to the band. Recording of Down Below It’s Chaos began just after Martin and bassist Lucy Atkinson ended their relationship. In the end, Kinski has emerged stronger. And possibly sounding better than ever.

“I think a lot of bands would have folded going through what we did,” says Martin. “We basically tried to reinvent ourselves and figure out why we do it in the first place.”

Over the years Kinski has shared bills with a wide range of artists, from Japanese space-rock monolith Acid Mothers Temple to some of the sloppiest garage-rock bands on Earth.

The band even got asked to open for Tool in 2007. Martin says they faced some unruly crowds during that short stint with the prog-metalers, but that the band would just knock out some short and fiery 30-minute sets and eventually win audiences over. “It was a total mindfuck,” Martin says of the experience, adding, “I don’t think we’ll ever get nervous in front of a crowd again.”

Essentially, there’s a little something for everyone—even Tool fans—in Kinksi’s music. And again, along with everything else that’s happened along the way, it only made them a better band. Go hear for yourself.