Kill Me Tomorrow

Somewhere Tony Wilson is laughing, and Ian Curtis is probably rolling in his grave. Or maybe every other band has always been compared to Joy Division and we just never noticed until sitting through 24 Hour Party People. Leading the pack is Interpol (the apple, for now, of the Big Apple's eye), junk-store Joy Division in trendy suits and trendier haircuts, turning Curtis' candid affection into candied disaffection.

On the other side of that comparison is San Diego's Kill Me Tomorrow, who throw Joy Division between the blades of a Cuisinart along with a handful of nails and screws and then run it all through singer-percussionist-keyboardist-knob twiddler Zack Wentz's console of switches and cymbals and pedals. The group, which also includes Wentz's wife, K8 Wince, on vocals and bass and Dan Wise on guitar and vocals, piles a symphony of cacophony over '80s pop tracks and then sets the whole thing to a dance beat. In short, it's noisy and catchy, poppy and grating, and you can dance to it, if the spirit--of Curtis, of anyone else--strikes you. Fitting since--though the Joy Division comparison turns up like the bad penny in every rock crit's pocket--they're just as often thrown together with nods to post-punk adventurers Sonic Youth.

But don't try to get a firm grip on the music: Keeping up with its evolution, Kill Me Tomorrow has a new single with the songs "I Require Chocolate" and "Rats for Sale," the former of which is like Wentz doing his best Curtis droning in front with Wince providing some "Mary Christ"-like Kim Gordon shrieks in the back--all of which is complemented by thundering toms and crashing cymbals and sounds like electric wind and the clicking of wooden spoons. One foot planted in the past and the other looking for someplace to step where no one has before, Kill Me Tomorrow lives up to the annoying comparisons it's been shackled to.

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Shannon Sutlief