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The Key Studio Sessions: Acid Kicks

Sean Hamilton recalls the origins of his dreamy prog-punk band Acid Kicks: “Basically, I was trying to figure out ‘How do I play bass to this bass?'” Such are the dilemmas of a guitar-free act – the Kicks bill themselves as “three bassists, one drummer and the search for the punk rock American dream,” one of the finest taglines I’ve heard in forever. Given their self-imposed limitations, the Philly-based act has built a remarkably dense, dynamic sound for themselves. Recording their Key Studio Session last week, I was able to dissect the interplay: Hamilton plays rhythm bass chords in a sharp, punchy, aggressive manner; Ben Contois plays lead bass licks that run the gamut from guitar solos an octave down to eerie organ-sounding arpeggios; and Marshall James Kavanaugh plays bass-bass, all washed out and rumbly as he delivers a robust Ian Curtis-esque vocal. (Holding the beat down is Joseph Idell, a drummer well-versed in krautrock-style syncopation.) Give a listen to the half-dozen tracks they recorded for us below, check out their excellent Life Dreams 7″ here, tune in to the Key Studio Sessions hour on XPN2 tomorrow at 7 p.m. to hear the band discuss their love of the low end, and catch them in concert at Pi Lam’s annual Human BBQ on April 7.

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head