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A compilation of music from 417

Tag Archives: To Kill a King

To Kill a King have quickly become a favorite here at TDV.  Since releasing their debut album Cannibals with Cutlery, To Kill a King have come out with a new video for an old song.  “Funeral” might be their darkest song in meaning; a singer cries out for friendship for the sake of his parents and simply to have people at his funeral.  While the lyrics are somber, the music is actually quite uplifting.  A smooth electric guitar riffs over a boisterous chorus of “coming ’round and coming ’round,” creating an energy so strong it’s easy to forget this song is so morbid.  The video matches the song in an equally bizarre manner.  On the one hand, two parents grieve for their dead son (one with alcohol and tears, the other by reliving old memories), on the other hand there’s a hint of magical realism as the dead son is wheeled around by face-painted children and bridesmaids.  Strange? Yes.  But incredibly beautiful as well.  But, then again, that’s what we’ve come to expect from this amazing band.

-M. Kauf

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cannibals with cutlery

There’s a huge bias today towards bands using acoustic guitars, piano and swirling harmonies, especially British bands, towards the new folk categorization.  It’s easy to put To Kill a King into the same category as Mumford & Sons.  Or maybe Dry The River to match their edgier sound.  I myself was ready to place them into this category after hearing their Word of Mouth EP.  But Cannibals with Cutlery, the groups debut full-length has wiped away any last thoughts as to their genre.  The band stands in a category all their own, blending pop, rock, folk and even classical music to create one of the most unique albums to come out so far this year.

Usually it’s the music that jumps out at me first with a band like this.  I mean, there is a lot going on: synths, pianos, bass, guitar, drums, harmony after harmony, strings.  Basically, a lot for a five-piece band.  Take their opening track, “I Work Nights and You Work Days” for example.  It lulls gently into the album, using sparse but effective instrumentation like strings, quiet trumpet and a lone piano.  Drums are completely absent from the song, only adding to the delicacy as Pelleymounter sings of the loving two-worlds relationship, “And though you are asleep, it seems so natural, to kiss you as the sun comes up.”  This is the closest the album comes to a “typical” love song.

The stories of these songs are not the simple loves songs of most bands today.  Relationships aren’t just ended in heartbreak but tragedy.  Violence and questions of character appear constantly as in the brutal and powerful song “Fictional State.”  In one of the few songs to feature a female vocalist, singers make excuses for their broken love: “there’s no hole in my head, accusation I just ain’t the family type/falling short and you’ve got better plans, escape artist and you just undermine.”  The song gradually progresses from a worried father singing over acoustic guitar and piano, to a cacophonous mix of blaring trumpets, drums and heavy guitar and the song come crashing triumphantly to an end.  This is perhaps the greatest feat of the band.  To Kill a King, progress with ease from quiet beginnings as in “Fictional State” and the refreshing “Gasp” to booming choruses that swell and surround.

If you listened to their EPs or Ralph’s Balcony Sessions, you’ll hear many old favorites come alive under crisper, clearer realization.  “Funeral” and “Besides She Said” find new life on this album.  And, my personal favorite “Choices” is a stunning midpoint to the album.  I originally thought I loved it for its use of twenty-something musicians in the Ralph’s Balcony Session.  But, as a group in a studio session, the song seems to evoke more emotion than ever.  You can almost see the patient suitor: “he’s on your doorstep, waiting with flowers.  This garden is freezing, teasing, you’re leaving me for hours.”

But for every old song, the band has new surprises.   “Children Who Start Fires,” a metaphor for an unfaithful lover is a beautiful and clever acoustic number.  And the closing track, “Letter to My Lover (The Dylan Fan)” makes a fitting end to an album that constantly shifts and twists.  Never leaving you to catch a breath for one second, Cannibals with Cutlery touches on subjects few would touch in mainstream music these days, with a musical finesse most bands only dream of achieving.  The album is out February 24th, but it’s currently streaming for free if you want more than just my words and the few samples below.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this band.

-M. Kauf

To Kill A King – Gasp/The Reflex

To Kill A King – Choices


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“Skin, skin and bones is all that’s left/just me and you, two damaged fools”

Hey folk, sorry about the delay.  It’s been a busy week getting adjusted to life in a new country, but hopefully posts will start to be on a more regular basis in the coming weeks.  Today we’ve got a great new music video from To Kill a King.  If you follow this blog, you’ll know that we love To Kill a King here and we’re very excited for their upcoming album Cannibals with Cutlery.  This single, “Cold Skin” was previously featured in their amazing Ralph’s Balcony Session with an acoustic styling.  Now, the song has come into it’s own as one of TKAK’s harder hitting, rock-leaning songs.  Sure, there are still the group’s beautiful harmonies, but they’ve moved from the forefront of the songs to the background allowing a powerful guitar, electric organ and strong drums to take precedence.  Lyrically, this song is definitely one of the groups strongest sounding a wake up call to the singer and anyone else who will listen.  The video is a bit bizarre but, the face-painted children and tug-o-war wrestlers somehow seem to make sense with the song.  Check it out above, and look for their upcoming album February 24th.

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To Kill a King has been one of my favorite new bands of 2012.  Their music is unique, beautiful and diverse folk-rock.  And we were first introduced to them through the Ralph’s Balcony Session, “Choices.”  But recently, the entire Ralph’s Balcony Sessions were released on bandcamp.  This is a truly amazing collection of music and artist.  There are 19 songs,  each featuring another artist playing along with the band.  Not only is this a great way to hear a bunch of new and fantastic bands, but it is great to watch and listen to how these musicians interact.  Different personalities and styles make each song different from the next.  Above is one of my favorites from the session called “We Used to Protest.”  It features the whimsical Emily Wood, who soft-spoken voice fits perfectly with this stripped down To Kill a King Song.  Check it out above and download the whole album on bandcamp, it’s well worth it.

-M. Kauf

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Hey folks, sorry for the delay. I know it’s been a while since anything has been posted.  It’s been a hectic week, but we’re back with a vengeance.  Today we look back to a band that we featured recently called To Kill King.  On monday they released the music video for the debut song on their amazing Word of Mouth EP.  “Howling” is an impressive stop-motion film made non-stop over a weekend in an apartment.  It features the singer and his bandmates as lights shine around them, people party and the camera twists and turns.  On top of that, the song itself is a powerful folk-epic, shifting from a quiet night time ballad to a full on rocker.  Check it out above and if you haven’t yet, download their EP.

-M. Kauf

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I know we’ve been a bit heavy on the music videos lately, but this one here is something special.  To Kill A King, the writers of this song are of a similar vain as the band Dry the River.  At times, they’re as folksy as can be: beautiful harmonies, fingered guitar parts, soft mallet drums.  And, at other times, they’ll rock as hard as any band out there: belting out shouts of joy or regret, vamping on a hot and distorted electric, cymbals crashing.  They’re lively and dynamic and it is never more apparent than in this video.  During this Ralph’s Balcony session, To Kill a King perform their song “Choices.”  It starts w/ a single musician playing a guitar and singing quietly.  Then enters a female vocalist for a beautiful but short duet.  The song quickly escalates from there into an all out orchestrated explosion of sounds as many different group combine, emphasizing the complexity and wholeness that To Kill a King brings to their music.  Check it out above, and if you like it you can download their EP here.  This isn’t the sound you hear every day.

-M. Kauf

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