Once upon a time, at a record store near you, a mother refused to purchase her son a copy of the Killers' Hot Fuss because she was worried about the band's violent name. But had she taken the time to sound out those glossy guitar hooks and flashy disco beats, she would've bought sonny the disc, burned herself a copy and skipped an Everybody Loves Raymond rerun to see the Killers live. So for that paranoid mother, here's a list of other "killer" bands that, despite their murderous names, aren't scary at all.
THE KILLS: Okay, so I lied a little. You might find VV hissing "Wanna fuck and fight in the basement?" over a lo-fi guitar-and-drums track slightly frightening. Girl singer VV (real name Alison Musshart, who fronted Discount until the band split in 2000) and guy singer Jamie Mince built their duo out of tedious trans-Atlantic exchanges of cassette tapes until VV made it to the U.K. for the Kills to record their brilliant Keep on Your Mean Side at London's Toe Rag Studios. With just an onstage tape machine and a few guitars, these two are more powerful than any band with a wall of Marshall stacks and a hurricane of emo haircuts. www.thekills.tv
THE KILLINGTONS: On their recent California Life EP, front man JK presents an edgier, more upbeat side of longtime locals the Killingtons, though he hasn't abandoned his signature banshee vocals and those lush guitar lines. Besides finally establishing a Myspace profile, the Killingtons became Clear Channel Entertainment's first Artist Development project last year--today a bunch of oversexed 15-year-olds, tomorrow the world! www.myspace.com/thekillingtons; www.thekillingtons.com
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ROCK KILLS KID: It's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Rock Kills Kid stand out from the rest of SoCal's indie punk bands. Maybe it's the darker vibe of their self-titled EP on Fearless Records, or maybe it's their resemblance to the Cure and Bad Religion? But their catchy, kid-friendly melodies and lyrics are a guilty pleasure of anyone over age 21, as well as a regular non-guilty pleasure for the barred-from-the-bars set. www.rockkillskid.com