Monday, November 30, 2009

T Party Express: Kitchens of Distinction

The T Party Express has a question for you. Do you remember where you were the first time you heard the band Kitchens of Distinction?

Maybe right here, right now, this is your introduction to the alternative trio from South London that recorded four albums from 1986 to 1996. If it is, then I have done my job.

Perhaps you have heard of Patrick Fitzgerald? No, not that Patrick Fitzgerald, but the bassist and lead singer of KOD. His voice sounds familiar, especially if you listen to modern rock radio. There is an uncanny aural resemblance to Paul Banks, the lead singer for Interpol.

I remember the first time I heard KOD's 1991 single Drive That Fast. I was in Bogart's, a cool little club in Long Beach, California, that hosted artists on their way up the wobbly ladder of success and on their way down the swift slide to oblivion. Nirvana played there in 1990 just before Smells Like Teen Spirit broke big. I missed that concert, but enjoyed seeing Concrete Blonde, Screaming Trees, Evan Dando, Julianna Hatfield, Poi Dog Pondering, Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper of the Church, Material Issue and - last but not least - Jellyfish in such an intimate venue.

Bogart's would show music videos in between live sets - the sort of videos that played randomly on MTV's 120 Minutes but never during the channel's prime time rotation. When the first images of Drive That Fast appeared on the monitors, my interest was immediately caught by the chord-driven guitar lines and Fitzgerald's dry, astringent vocals.

During the 1980s, the rock music industry seemed like a factory for mass-produced hair bands with loud amps that wanted to emulate Van Halen - Eddie, that is. Meanwhile, Johnny Marr of the Smiths single-handedly resurrected the Roger McGuinn school of jingly, jangly lead guitar licks. The Smiths' 1987 breakup left a void that clamored to be filled. KOD never became the second coming of the Smiths, but Drive That Fast has been a cherished favorite for 18 years - and counting.

The lyrics advocate free love between consenting adults as long as it's mutually convenient in the "I like you, but hey I don't want to tie you down or make you uncomfortable" way that never seems to produce long-term happiness. Kids, free love ain't free. Somebody always pays.

Drive That Fast by Kitchens of Distinction (1991).

Previous stops:

Vapour Trail by Ride (1990).

We Gotta Get You a Woman by Todd Rundgren (1970).

I Saw the Light by Todd Rundgren (1972).

Hello It's Me by Todd Rundgren (1972).

Cold Morning Light by Todd Rundgren (1972).

It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference by Todd Rundgren (1972).

Can We Still Be Friends? by Todd Rundgren (1978).

Time Heals (1981).

Weather with You by Crowded House (1991).

No Blue Skies by Lloyd Cole (1990).

Wicked Game by Chris Isaak (1989).

Blue Skies by Eva Cassidy (1996).

What a Wonderful World by Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua (2008).

Pick Yourself Up by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (1936).

Special by Garbage (1998).

The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys (1985).

Empty Me by Chris Sligh (2008).

So Long Self by Mercy Me (2006).

Here's Where the Story Ends by the Sundays (1990).

Broken by Lighthouse (2009).

God Shaped Hole by Plumb (1999).

The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King (1970).

Love and Regret by Deacon Blue (1989).

Real Gone Kid by Deacon Blue (1989).

My Book by the Beautiful South (1990).

A Little Time by the Beautiful South (1990).

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by Stars (2005).

This Woman's Work by Kate Bush (1989).

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division (1980).

Reptile by the Church (1988).

Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello (1979).

Tears Run Rings by Marc Almond (1987).

Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen (1984).

Love Lies Bleeding by Elton John (1973).

Last Time Forever by Squeeze (1985).

Conjure Me by the Afghan Whigs (1992).

Debonair by the Afghan Whigs (1993).

Hallelujah by Jason Castro (2009).

Total Recall by the Sound (1985).

Fly by Jars of Clay (2002).

Train in Vain by the Clash (1980).

It's My Life by Talk Talk (1984).

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