When: Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m. 2012
Few musical acts that are routinely called "sexy" are actually capable of evoking carnality, rather than merely conforming to a vague, media-generated ideal of sexiness (take for instance every moan in Britney Spears's catalog). For their past few albums, transatlantic duo the Kills have managed to generate a mood that's as raw and unflinchingly raunchy as a Polaroid nude. Singer Alison Mosshart, with her goth foxiness and obsession with sex-as-death-as-sex imagery, is crucial to the equation, but much of the credit goes to multi-instrumentalist Jamie Hince—with "Satellite," from last year's Blood Pressures (Domino), Hince proved himself capable of writing stripper rock on par with Warrant's finest work. —Miles Raymer
Stripped-down indie-punk bands fronted by a male-female duo are no longer breaking the mold—tandems like, say, headliners the Kills grabbed the wheel of that bandwagon back in the early aughts. But Hunters, led by guitarist-vocalists Derek Watson and Isabel Almeida, have elbowed their way into a spot in Brooklyn's crowded, dingy underground. Though the band's debut five-song EP, last year's Hands on Fire (Aagoo), has taken a little polish from some sleek rockers—Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs mixed it, and former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha produced—it's got the same air of DIY desperation as sweaty 90s basement grunge. Watson and Almeida's charismatic connection gives the music much of its personality, and they're hardly bashful about rolling around on the ground and getting filthy—just check out the album art. Hands on Fire is dark and ominous throughout (in a garage-y kind of way), and hands-down the best cut is the opener, "Deadbeat," which stomps along with a thick, evil Melvins riff as the pair trade vocals, escalating the level of dirty sass with every round and eventually peaking with swirling noise and heavy guitar dives surrounding Almeida's almost breathless pleas. Now it's time to see how it all works on a monster stage. —Kevin Warwick The Kills headline; Jeff the Brotherhood and Hunters open.