Posts Tagged ‘Kill’

Blaggers Records – 2nd June 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

London ‘synth-punk passion project’ Kill, The Icon, fronted by NHS Dr Nishant Joshi have been building their presence nicely in recent with a series of strong singles, kicking off with ‘Buddhist Monk’ in late 2021, and the trio have been kicking ass with pissed-off, politically-charged sonic blasts ever since, and gaining significant airplay and critical acclaim in the process.

The bio and background, for those unfamiliar with the band, is worth visiting, as the context of the music is important. As much as Kill, The Icon are a part of a growing swell of artists who are using their music to not only channel their frustration and to voice their dissent – in a way which can’t get them arrested, at least not at the moment, no doubt to Suella Braverman’s irritation – Joshi is also very much an activist.

Joshi made national headlines during the pandemic, being the first frontline NHS doctor to go public with concerns that staff were not being protected. In true punk rock style Joshi and his wife then launched a legal challenge against the government. They won the case, making huge change and were recognised by The FA and England’s football team. Fueled with frustration, in the summer of 2020 KILL, THE ICON! was born as an extension of Joshi’s activism.

You certainly couldn’t accuse these guys of being all mouth and no action, but of course, the power of music as a unifying force should never be underestimated, particularly when our government’s modus operandi is to divide enfeeble the populace. It wasn’t just Brexit, which say the country not so much split and cleaved in twain: now there is a war being waged on benefit claimants (or scroungers and fraudsters, as they’re portrayed, dehumanising society’s most vulnerable in the process); a war on woke (anyone who is opposed to racism, misogyny, homophobia is the enemy); a war on migration… everything is cut between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and the smaller the splinters, the less the likelihood of meaningful, coherent opposition, especially when even so much as having a placard in your car boot is likely to lead to a pre-emptive arrest.

While the four tracks on Your Anger is Rational have been released as singles in the run-up to its release, with ‘Danny Is A Hate Preacher’ landing just ahead of the release date, packaging them together as an EP presents a precise statement of what they’re about.

It’s ‘Heavy Heart’ that’s up first, a no-messing ballsy banger that calls out the racism that’s not only rife but seemingly accepted post-Brexit, and the second track, the gothy ‘Deathwish’ (accompanied by the first AI promo video) steps up on this, with its refrain of ‘No blacks! No dogs! No Irish!’. ‘They used to whisper / And now they shout’, Joshi observes, and sadly it’s true. For a time, it felt like we had progressed from the casual racism of our grandparents – I remember feeling uncomfortable hearing my late grandmother talk – without malice – about ‘darkies’ and ‘coloureds’, and feeling a certain lightness of being at the sense we had moved on, stamping out the BNP and becoming more inclusive… but then the right has risen again with Farage and UKIP and Britain First and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and in the blink of an eye there are flag-waving racist cunts everywhere and Christ it’s fucking ugly.

And as much as Your Anger is Rational is a unified work musically, it’s lyrically and thematically that it really comes together. With a hard, driving bass to the fore, ‘Danny Is A Hate Preacher’ explores how indoctrination from an early age spawns the next generation of wrongheadedness, how violence begets violence, and I’m reminded of Larkin’s ‘This Be the Verse’. Your parents really do fuck you up. And now it’s not just parents taking kids to racist rallies, kids are being moulded by ‘influencers’ like Andrew Tate, and again, adults are buying into and propagating this obnoxious shit too: I’ve had to defriend a number of people on Facebook for sharing his content. My anger is, indeed, rational: we’re surrounded by cunts.

The last track, ‘Protect the Band’ is slower, more measured, but again, it’s a bass-dominated grinder with a monster groove, and it’s all pinned tightly together with some sturdy drumming and it’s a magnificent dismantlement of corporate hierarchies and the way they oppress workers into subservience. Protect the brand! But will the brand protect its staff? Will it fuck.

As much as Kill, the Icon are punk in aesthetic and sentiment, they’re very much new wave in their sound and approach. And while they’re strong on the punchy slogans and lyrical repetitions, KTI are more articulate and more nuanced than your average rabble-rousing punkers.

There isn’t a weak track in here. Musically, sonically, lyrically, they’ve got everything nailed and it’s tight: there’s no waste, everything is measured and weighed for maximum impact, but it’s still delivered with a coolness and a real groove, which makes this absolutely killer work.

your anger is rational

21st April 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

You know you’re onto something when you get banned from a platform, and so it is that the promo for ‘Heavy Heart’ got canned from VIMEO, usually one of the more forgiving platforms, and you have you ask ‘why?’ It features clips of various failed British Prime Ministers – notably Theresa May’s infamous grooves and various right-wing twats like Farage and Fox and Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson my arse), pontificating and being pelted with milkshake: nothing untoward, just news footage. So what’s the issue? Perhaps the platform took issue with the featuring of the visage of that out-and-out fash Suella Braverman. But more likely it was starving families juxtaposed with Churchill, toting a machine gun while smoking a cigar, because fuck me, that exposé of the dark side of British politics is hard to swallow for some. No-one wants to contemplate the possibility that Churchill was a twat – an aristocratic political defector and an imperialist – which makes Johnson’s idolisation make deeper sense.

Nishant Joshi’s words which accompany this release are a grim indictment on ‘Great’ Britain in 2023 – the nation which chose to leave the EU (albeit by a slim margin, and that’s something that can’t be stressed enough) on the basis of an ‘advisory’ referendum in 2016. Because ‘the will of the people’? Half the country didn’t even bother to vote because it was a non-issue for them, and only a slender majority of those who did made it happen. But it’s that slender majority who were the most vocal.

He says ‘I was faced with racial slurs when I was younger, but nobody has uttered a racial epithet to my face for many years. But, I know the racists who existed in the 90s are still alive and well. They didn’t die out all of a sudden, and neither did their ideas. So, the point of this song is that everyone acknowledges that racists exist. But nobody will ever admit to being racist – so where did they all go? My answer is that they all wear disguises: as politicians, right-wing journalists, and talking heads for shady think-tanks. The brazen racism has retreated into the shadows, and subtle racism has taken over.’

Will Self said it best when he said ‘Not all Brexiters are racists, but almost all racists will be voting for Brexit’. And that sad fact is, we live in not only a divided society, but, post-Brexit, a more overtly racist society. The referendum outcome has emboldened people to espouse their racist views, with racially-motivated attacks not just affecting blacks and Asians, but also Eastern Europeanss, notably Poles, etc.

Fuck’s sake. We’re a mess. Who do we think has been picking out strawberries and delivering our coffee in Starbucks and Costa thee last decade? The people shunting stacked-up trolleys for click and collect and home deliveries from the supermarket? Large fries?

In Britain, capitalism itself is institutionally racist in a century-long hangover from the empire.

‘Heavy Heart’ kicks straight in with a buzzing, fuzzing, gritty bass and kicking drums that yell urgency. And yes, this is urgent, and it and locks into a throbbing groove that really grabs you hard, a magnificently poised dance / punk hybrid. Just as punk gave voice to a generation frustrated and marginalised, so, sadly, what goes around comes around, and once again, it’s music which is a powerful medium for channelling that frustration. We need change, and it’s voices like Joshi’s which give us hope. And in the meantime, Kill, The Icon! give us a unifying energy, and exhilarating tunes.



Blaggers Records – 24th February 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Having recently signed to Blaggers Records, Kill, The Icon! Unveil the first taste of their debut EP in the form of single cut ‘Protect the Brand’ – a song they describe as being ‘loosely based on David Fincher’s Fight Club’.

As Chuck Palahniuk wrote in the novel on which the film is based, ‘You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis.’ This is capitalism laid bare: the workers defining themselves by brand allegiance, working all hours to eke out a living and make themselves feel better by buying shit they don’t need with money they don’t have. It’s a fucking con, and it’s never been more transparent as energy companies rake in record profits while people struggle to afford to stay warm and feed themselves, blaming the so-called cost of living crisis on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and mass strikes taking place across the UK while rail companies siphon off millions to pay execs and shareholders while claiming there’s no money for staff wages, and the NHS coffers are bare for paying their staff because they’ve haemorrhaged billions on redundant PPE provided by companies owned by government chums like Michelle Mone.

The trouble is, it’s taken too, too long for the general populace to twig that they’re being shafted, and the government has been quietly bolstering its powers to dismantle protest and limit rights – not just workers’ rights but human rights since Brexit – that pushing back against it all is incredibly difficult. And many still don’t even see corporate brainwashing for what it is as they obediently trudge back to their offices at their own expense for two or three days a week for the ‘hybrid office experience’ corporations are insistent is essential for both productivity and wellbeing.

This realisation is the narrative of ‘Protect the Brand’, a song which the band explain is ‘viewed through the lens of an overworked and underpaid office worker who is tasked with mind-numbing, repetitive jobs until he finally engineers his own sacking. The Worker stumbles through a crisis of realization, as he starts to question the purpose of work within a capitalist framework.’

It’s driven by a mega-dense bass, and the vocal is a perfect counterpoint, a monotone that chops between corporate inanities and anti-corporate vitriol. It absolutely works, and creates a tension that doesn’t entirely resolve. Once again, Kill, The Icon! are on the money and nail the zeitgeist. Listen up, and listen good.

thumbnail_protect the brand artwork 1200 1200

11th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Anthony Bourdain’s death by suicide in 2018 really affected people. Colourful and multi-faceted, Bourdain drew comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson, and was described as being “the original rock star” of the culinary world. As such, he was an icon to many.

Punk duo Kill, The Icon’s second single – which lands just months after their high-impact debut, ‘Buddhist Monk’ – is a tribute to the man who was more than a chef, but an author and cultural commentator, and I suppose there’s an emerging theme here, of cultural icons and iconography, of figures who have an impact and leave their mark.

It’s a short, sharp blast of industrial / punk crossover that also nabs elements of 90s noise – the dingy riffery and bending blasts of feedback are reminiscent of not just the obvious grunge reference points, heavier and lesser-known acts like Pitch Shifter and Fudge Tunnel, and equally, this sprawling, abrasive sonic attack hints at the kind of nihilistic fury of the likes of Uniform.

‘No pain, no gain’, Joshi half sings, half shouts, a mantra that’s probably killed more people than its saved. How’s your heart attack?

It’s driven by a bass with a serrated edge, the semi-spoken vocals making a nod to Justin Broadrick in their delivery as Nishant Joshi spits lines that draw influence primarily from Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series.

As singles go, ‘Bourdain’ packs in a hell of a lot, while generally packing some force. It’s punk and more, and we’re digging the more to the max.

Artwork - Kill, The Icon