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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.