What folks are saying about Kentucky Knife Fight…
“Jason Holler is aptly named. The fiery frontman of these Midwestern rabblerousers, whose style can be best described as Old 97′s by way of Tom Waits, can bottle up or throttle up equally well, leaving a bloody trail of tunes in his wake. Nothing survives here, not even the paper flowers.
Hush Hush, the band’s third record, showcases Holler’s talent for country-fried wailing alt-country that is their signature, while tempering that raw power with some pure Southern darkness. Opener “Paper Flowers Three” is submerged in murky piano lines and a roomy hiss like it’s taking place in an abandoned hotel on the edge of a town called madness. The Paper Flowers narrative recurs throughout, allowing the album’s murderous subject matter to glisten through the darkness.
Kentucky Knife Fight’s strength has always been the ensemble playing: the one-two knockout of Curt Brewer and Nate Jones on dueling guitars, gutbucket bass courtesy of Jason Koenig and tied-to-the-traintrack drums from James Baker. This time around, the effect is further uplifted by well-placed guest vocals form Bruiser Queen’s Morgan Nusbaum and The Blind Eyes’ Seth Porter.
Kentucky Knife Fight’s Classic revenge-therapy lyrics pierce the veil between alt-country and death metal. And that’s where Holler and company really hit their mark–this collection of tunes splits the difference between Nick Cave’s murder balladeering and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady’s seedy characterizations, knocking back stories of addiction, love, pain, death and all points in between.”
Jason Robinson, Eleven Magazine
“Kentucky Knife Fight is evolving with a seriousness of intent more apparent with each and every move by the band. Videos are being made, touring continues, and the band’s third and newest album, Hush Hush, is the group’s best-sounding, most cohesive, and most original-sounding release to date.”
Thomas Crone, St. Louis Magazine
“Hush Hush: Wherein the St. Louis-via-Edwardsville band marries its bluesy barroom blitzes with a cinematic scope. For its third full-length, the quintet remains clouded in cigarette smoke and dark-tinted glasses, but there’s a touch of the auteur with how the album is assembled.
Take, for instance, the 45-second “Theme for No One,” which introduces “Love the Lonely” with a bit of spacious mood music. The “Paper Flowers” suite is more ambitious: The triptych is spread out throughout the album and presented in reverse order, opening with a piano-and-Mellotron vignette that owes a little to Frank’s Wild Years-era Tom Waits. It’s a disparate form of storytelling for a band that prefers a bash-’em-out style of song craft (and there’s plenty of that on Hush Hush), and the bookends of the album find singer Jason Holler turning his twangy yelp into an intimate whisper.
That delivery, paired with the hillbilly-noir ambience the band has more or less trademarked, shows the marks of growth that weren’t readily evident on last year’s “Misshapen Love” / “Love the Lonely” 7-inch (both of those tracks appear here). By the time the stabbing cellos kick in at the end of “Paper Flowers One,” the movement feels complete.
As mentioned, there is plenty of Kentucky Knife Fight’s trademark boogie and swagger alongside its more art-directed interludes. The punctuated boogie of “Father” might be the best of the bunch here, showing a band that can inject a little looseness and rock song dynamics. A breathless coda finds Holler spitting a recurring quatrain as the band hammers away in the background.
Guitarists Curt Brewer and Nate Jones remain sonic foils on most tracks, with one offering spindly leads and the other handing out big, brash strokes. “Love the Lonely” mines this interplay especially well, treading some intersection of jazz, blues and classic rock tropes. The title track picks up some of the languor from “Lonely” and turns it toward a more straight-ahead rocker, with some greasy organ filling in the cracks. Hush Hush is the album that the band needed to make; it doesn’t abandon Knife Fight’s core sound but widens the lens with a greater focus on storytelling and mood setting.”
Christian Schaeffer, River Front Times
“On Hush Hush, their third long-player, Kentucky Knife Fight continue to mix dark country with even darker blues, and bring to mind bands like Gun Club, Gallon Drunk and Dream City Film Club, together with songwriters such as Nick Cave and Tom Waits. That’s good company to keep, and Kentucky Knife Fight show more than enough promise to hold their heads up amongst those esteemed names.
Vocalist and wordsmith Jason Holler (the band write the music) delivers his lyrics with a dirty, unctuous snarl, whilst his bandmates whip up a boogie storm or keep it slow and sleazy. Lead single “Misshapen Love” definitely falls into the former camp. It’s brazen soulfulness hovers between the garage and the dance floor, just so long as there’s a wall to bounce off. “Love the Lonely” arrives on a slow train before releasing the brakes, and on the splendid title track, the entire band take the opportunity to showboat, but it’s a cracking song with a stuttering rhythm and post-punk feel, and might just be the best thing on a consistently fine album.”
Phil S, Leicester Bangs
“Kentucky Knife Fight rips through vintage blues and primordial twang with an obsessive compulsion to play each show louder, harder and darker than the night before. Led by acidic vocalist Jason Holler, the band’s music is as serious as a homicide or a hanging, and yet it’s also wickedly fun, an overdriven blast of electric guitars and a floorboard breaking rhythm section. The band is ambitious: Its recent music video for “Love the Lonely” melds the lo-fi and brooding spirit of the music with all the well-choreographed, surrealist-noir aesthetic that a decent Kickstarter budget can buy. With recent successful regional tours and plans to release its third studio album this summer, Kentucky Knife Fight’s furious rock & roll seems unstoppable.”
Roy Kasten, River Front Times
“Every lyric, every lick on the guitar, and every single tattoo scattered throughout Kentucky Knife Fight screams about cutting the crap and getting down and dirty. Every song inspires you to be wild and free (and sometimes a little bit naughty), and at the end of “Love the Lonely,” I kind of want to be a vindictive bitch that steals souls and pours evil love potions everywhere. St. Louis NOW has the distinct pleasure of being the birthplace of Kentucky Knife Fight, who’s musical genre is a melting pot of blues, rock, and sex.”
Kaylee Goins, KMNR
“For some reason Kentucky Knife Fight seems like the quintessential St. Louis band to me. I’ve never been to St. Louis and I’m not too familiar with its music scene, but I feel as if Kentucky Knife Fight is representative of my perceived St. Louis sound.
With lead singer Jason Holler’s signature snarl over rambling drums and sharp guitar riffs it’s easy to picture myself in a grimy St. Louis bar rocking out to KKF while putting back a Bud or two or five. Fresh off of their first vinyl release with the single “Misshapen Love,” the group rocked the MidPoint stage in Cincinnati last month. Look for these guys to do big things this year!”
“On their new single, ‘Misshapen Love,” Kentucky Knife Fight sweat and swagger through horn-drenched, guitar frenzied Soul Punk anthem that should have been the soundtrack to every road trip this past summer. Aptly named Jason Holler possesses a set of pipes that sound like Alice Cooper right about the time he was yowling about being 18, and the rest of the band burns like bourbon, sometimes as a drink in a glass to smooth out the rough spots and sometimes on rags and boxes as an accelerant in an insurance arson. Kentucky Knife Fight will raise a hot blister on the most jaded Punk ass.”
“When trying to introduce a band like Kentucky Knife Fight in words it’s tempting to fall back onto tired metaphors that evoke booze-soaked blues, shady bars, and a life lived on the edge of society. To do so would, in a sense, be accurate but it would also be a huge disservice to the sound and energy that the band has crafted through countless hard-fought, sweaty, impassioned gigs. Kentucky Knife Fight’s unique blend of twang-tinged, muddy, sensual blues rock stomp can only be truly experienced live. And with the band’s frequent touring throughout the Midwest and South (including a stop at this year’s Twangfest/KDHX SXSW day party in Austin, TX) more and more folks are being converted. You may show up on Wednesday night of Twangfest at The Pageant to see Hayes Carll but you’ll likely go home talking about Kentucky Knife Fight.”
Chris Bay, Twangfest website
“Kentucky Knife Fight lives up to every ridiculously lofty thing that’s ever been said or printed or spray-painted on an alley wall about them. Garages all over the Midwest are bitterly jealous that KKF’s raw and razor sharp riffs aren’t pouring out of them, other bands marvel at how so little can sound so bloody great and the Earth wonders how it can be as cool as Kentucky Knife Fight. By the way, it can’t be done.”
Midpoint Music Festival.com
BEST ROCK BAND 2013 Riverfront Times Music Awards
BEST ROCK BAND 2012 Riverfront Times Music Awards
BEST ROCK BAND 2011 Riverfront Times Music Awards
On KKF’s 2011 RFT showcase performance:
“Folks were literally lined up outside, waiting for their turn to get in during KKF’s set at Hair of the Dog. The capacity crowd coupled with the band’s energetic performance created a sticky, sweaty environment, which definitely added to the feel of the show. While some couldn’t take the heat, most stuck around, clearly enjoying Knife Fight’s unique amalgamation of musical sub-genres; you’d be hard-pressed to find music better-suited for a bar like that.”
On KKF’s first show in Dallas…
“Kentucky Knife Fight’s performance was both polished and executed flawlessly. They opened with a song, “Dream so Sweet”, from their newest album, and it became readily apparent what they were doing, though unintentional. They were stealing the show.”
The Music Enthusiast
The Wolf Crept, The Children Slept
Best Album (self-released), 2009 Riverfront Times Music Awards
“KKF exhumes the shriveled-up corpse of ‘70s punk, cuts it open, and stuffs it full of swaggering rockabilly rhythm. For good measure, it throws in a touch of honky tonk. The lyrics skim through the vulgar lives of shady men driving to places they shouldn’t go, hanging out with the wrong women, drinking too much, and then going back and doing it all again. All that and a killer piano solo.”
MP Johnson, Razorcake.org
“On its first full-length, the Edwardsville quintet Kentucky Knife Fight serves up a platter of greasy, blues-derived rock and booze-drenched alt-country. The music is perfectly tailored for a night at the tavern, and singer Jason Holler turns the songs into sermons of the damned, where the only salvation comes from the vices that bring us low.”
“Kentucky Knife Fight have just released their debut CD, ‘The Wolf Crept, The Children Slept’ which is an amazing collection of rock songs that pull from influences such as the Stooges and Bob Dylan while never sounding like a throwback outfit.”
“Imagine the Replacements suffering through sweltering Midwestern summer nights instead of cold Minnesota winters, and infused with a little less punk and a little more dirty twang, and you have Edwardsville’s Kentucky Knife Fight. The band’s debut EP (recorded live at the Stagger Inn) shows a lot of promise both in songwriting skills and live chops. The Wolf Crept, The Children Slept more than delivers on that promise: It’s one of those records where everything just feels right, from the old-timey woodcut on the front cover (done by Matty Kleinberg of the Firecracker Press) to the sequencing of the songs. There is little fat but plenty of gristle, as “Lil’ Sister” kicks off the disc with a dose of swaggering scuzz-rock that is as creepy as it is infectious. Not since Dylan’s “Oh Sister” has incest sounded so good.”
Christian Schaeffer, Riverfront Times