B-sides & rarities collections are always odd beasts, a ragtag assortment of songs deemed not good enough for the regular albums, out-of-left-field contributions to compilations, some live versions of already-released tracks, etc. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck said in the liner notes to one of the greatest ever b-sides records, Dead Letter Office, “Listening to this album should be like browsing through a junkshop. Good hunting.” The hunting is very good in the wild fields of The Kills’ Little Bastards.
Almost entirely from the first decade of this century/millennium, and almost entirely b-sides, Bastards doesn’t have the too-wide range of many such collections, thanks to The Kills’ signature sound. At over an hour and twenty tracks, there is more than enough material here, which might mean that a few pieces could have stayed on the cutting room floor, but also that there are stand-outs as good as anything on their regular full-lengths. The record opens very strong with the killer Kills “Superpowerless”, one that definitely should be in their live repertoire (when we can have live shows again). Other highlights include the rhythmic press of unreleased demo “Raise Me” (QRO review), the compellingly stark “Half of Us”, cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic “I Put a Spell On You” (QRO review), and the wonderful kiss-off “Weed Killer”.
The Kills’ Alison Mosshart has been having a busy quarantine pandemic (QRO 2020 interview), including her first-ever solo releases. Now she & Jamie Hince have found just the right time to put out a great b-sides & rarities collection.