Black Kites
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Black Kites


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"Band of the Week: Black Kites"

Band of the Week: Black Kites

I'm a bit biased when it comes to picking my band of the week. I tend to stay local and name bands that I can see every Tuesday, or people that have been recommended to me, or the occassional European I just happened to stumble upon. This week though I'm going to the left coast for my band of the week, which is really an odd thing for me. You see I'm not a big fan of California. Between earthquakes, forest fires, smog, and Austrian governors its just not the type of place I could ever picture myself living in, but if there are a lot of bands like Black Kites out there I may have to rethink that policy.

Black Kites describe their sound as shoegaze and that's pretty much dead on. Listening to the four songs on their Myspace page I could easily picture myself bobbing my head up and down with my arms folded to their music. Then again I could also picture moving around a bit thanks to the steady rhythms that provide the tempo for their version of sad bastard music. I guess that kind of makes it the best of both worlds, its introspective and deep but can also get the blood pumping a bit and make you move about.

The vocal dynamics between Alan Petherick and Nicki Nevlin really grew on me as I listened to their tunes more and more. I've always been a fan of the male vs. female vocals within single songs, and their voices are perfect fits for this type of music. Niki is sharp and overpowering, while Alan seemingly croons his words to the listeners. It makes for interesting music that should not be missed.

Black Kites currently have an EP available on iTunes which you should all go and download, and they are working on a follow-up EP to be released sometime this year I believe. Anyway, if you are on the left coast I'd suggest checking them out live, and if you're not hopefully a song or two will suffice for now. -

"Black Kites All Wrong EP"

US based band the Black Kites are a four piece who take inspiration from a range of bands like Jesus & Mary Chain, Velvet Underground, Stereo Lab & Neu! Their three track ep ‘All Wrong’ has all the hallmarks to make this band a real indie rock sensation. Whether it’s the dreamlike guitar swirls, the twinkling keyboards or the velvets style cool of the vocals, it’s all here.

Opening track ‘All Wrong’ uses some atmospheric theramin style noises, twinkling guitars and some really loose jazzy drumming. Things skip along nicely until the huge loud guitars crash in with thudding drum explosions. The boy girl vocals work to great effect, Evelyn Reyes vocals soft and sugary pitted against Alan Petherick’s gravely almost Eels like delivery.

‘All Wrong’ is a fantastic song, full of out of this world imagery, atmospherics and all wrapped together in sweet guitar pop.
‘Glass Parade’ starts with some picked bass and more strange backings and haunting backdrops until the snarl of the guitar kicks in. The band make use of some dual vocals again until Reyes gets stuck into the huge chorus which could be lifted almost from a U2 song. There’s even some Beatlesesque guitars to bring things back into the verse.

Last track ‘Sadie’ is ghostly, it’s jazzy drumming and faster paced pickings show a really cool ‘Velvets style. “And do I love you?..... depends.” Sings Petherick. He’s got the attitude and cool to pull off these songs. Sadie really takes flight in the chorus, Reyes opting for the soaring backing vocal. Petherick wants to be Lou Reed here, but who fucking doesn’t. This band rules!

I love all three tracks here. There’s something really jazzy, light and honest about their music. They most importantly understand the quiet loud thing a la Pixies showing explosive chorus’s which are sing along and euphoric. Think of bands like Imperial Teen, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and velvet Underground and you are literally there. This is one impressive cd. This is how pop should sound. - The Plastic Ashtray

"All Right"

I've got a lot of plans this week. But first I've got to write a piece about a band I've just discovered. I suppose it's accidental, but they are from Los Angeles and they're called The Black Kites.
Alan Petherick and Nicki Nevlin started about two years ago as a duo with just guitar, bass and a drum machine. By the eind of 2005 The Black Kites were joined by singer and keyboard player Evelyn Reyes. It took another year until drummer Marcel Feldmar turned up. Both girls are also member of the band Nevers.

The Black Kites make nice guitar rock and they are influenced by Jesus & Mary Chain, Stereolab and The Cure, to name just a few. After the EP "Paper Heart" they released their second EP "All Wrong" with Filthy Little Angels a few weeks ago. This EP contains three beautiful songs and you can download them for free. You can do this through the blog of the label I've just mentioned or through these links: "All Wrong", my favourite track "Glass Parade" which lasts over 6 minutes and "Sadie". -

"Black Kites All Wrong EP"

Ah, yet another band with the word “black” in their name, but this band lives up to it, with guitar-propelled, soaring choruses and "swept-across-the-prairie", downer vocals. This EP is available on Black Kites’s own record label, Filthy Little Angels, and is comprised of the songs “All Wrong”, “Glass Parade”, and “Sadie”.

Black Kites are comparatively new on the scene, starting out in 2005 in L.A., and they sound like Stoned And Dethroned-era Jesus And Mary Chain hanging out with Mazzy Star. They forgo the narcotic lulls of those bands in favor of a more brisk pace, yet still hold on to a slight alt-country twang to their tunes.

Alan sings and sing-talks in a dry, plain, dispassionate tone, similar to Jim Reid of Jesus And Mary Chain, minus the Scottish accent. Evelyn’s melancholy, nocturnal vocals and inflection recall a less nasal and drowsy Hope Sandoval and a stronger, less breathy Sophie Zelmani.

The tunes are melodic and follow the "verse, chorus, verse" pattern, but do wander away once in a while, especially on the choruses, which are filled with driving guitar rhythms that give the songs a more expansive vibe. These songs may start off slowly, but the build up on the choruses, achieving atmospheric lift-off.

“All Wrong” has an old-time, country feel, with Alan’s laconic vocal delivery, as he straight-forwardly and nasally sings against bell-tone and organ keyboard notes. The verses are quiet and toned down, as a laid-back Alan and Evelyn trade vocal lines. The song soon develops more urgency on the choruses, as guitars kick up the dust and cymbals are smashed, as Evelyn weaves her amber-colored vocals in and out of Alan pointed exclamations. “All Wrong” calls to mind Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Sometimes Always”, a duet which features Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star as guest vocalist.

The next song, “Glass Parade”, is the high point of the EP, with an unshakable chorus of Evelyn’s dulcet, "mourning dove" vocals and shimmering, dynamic guitars. The song starts with sweet, rounded, watery guitar notes that hover in the air as Alan talks almost inaudibly. The guitar strum and beat soon take over and lead into the chorus, with Evelyn exclaiming in a heartbroken tone, sounding like a sharper and more airy Hope Sandoval, as swelling guitars and bell-like keyboards add depth, all bright and upbeat, and a chugging, underlying rhythm propels the song along. The sound fills up with short, circular, reaching guitar crescendos, almost The Church-like in its expansive feel, and backed by a rapid-beat marching drum, guitar twangs, cymbal shimmer, and bell notes. The fast marching beat gradually falls away, leaving only the calm vibe of bell tones and twangy guitar notes.

The closer “Sadie” is reminiscent of the previous song, with the same instruments and similar tempo, but with different vocal patterns. Alan starts sing-talking unassumingly against drums, guitars, and bell-note keyboards. On the choruses, as the guitars rush in, he exclaims in short phrases as Evelyn sings around his voice in a crying, plaintive tone. This song has less dynamic modulation than “Glass Parade” – it’s mostly all brisk-tempo, steady beat, guitars, keyboards, and cymbal shimmer from start to finish.

-Jen Stratosphere Fanzine
- Delusions of Adequacy

"Black Kites All Wrong Release"

Black Kites 'All wrong' EP. Perhaps the best of the five and unless I'm seriously mistaken or else cocked up the calendar front this should be available on Friday 22nd June.

In a word this EP is stunning. Black Kites are a LA based quartet who to date have had one acclaimed EP release firmly tucked under their collective guitar straps which I can tell you now that we are mightily miffed at ourselves for missing.

Featuring three slices of swirling skin peeling sun bathed shoe gazed grandeur bled through with softly shimmering sheens of summer glazed psyche pop, Black Kites masterfully navigate the finite nuances of the once derided but of late reinvigorated scene often compared in passing to Slowdive, which arguably I can understand though admittedly they do lack the gossamer affected ethereal and divine somnambulance of Readings finest preferring instead to sound like the Psychedelic Furs (especially brought to bear by Alan Petherick's Richard Butler vocal double take) as though instead of being in awe of all things Bowie have instead cultivated their craft via the vinyl output of the Velvets and wired in a toned down and streamlined appraisal of Ride's first three landmark EP's along with a smidgeon of the heart heavy, hand holding, wide eyed sweetly innocent vocabulary of the late 80's twee scene with touches of latter career Jesus and Mary Chain.

None more so is this exemplified than on 'Sadie' - the refined majesty of it all lending itself to the spectral grace and soft psyche amour as crafted by House of Love's Terry Bickers.

Elsewhere the opening salvo - 'All wrong' cuts deep with astral planing swathes of kick back, one minute serenely daydream exacted out by overlapping boy / girl vocals, intertwining keys and curvaceous sky piercing riff cascades alternating to bouts of crunching turbulence and locked down sheens of frustrated tension

Best of the three in our humble opinion is 'Glass Parade'. Driving stellar pop that shifts through the gears with unerring grace to leave exhaust trails in its wake, decorated with 60's motifs, laced longingly with loops of honey dipped glacial cascades that sound like they were hoodwinked from Will Sergeant's back pocket during the Bunny men's 'Flowers' sessions, dreamscapes of beckoning romance containing tiny pockets of euphoric eruptions - all said and done possibly the coolest thing we've had on our turntable in a fair old while and very much calling to mind that lost in action gem from yester year 'Nothing of you' by the much missed Corn Dollies - think I'm going to cry at the joy of it all. - Filthy Little Angels

"The latest band to trundle off the FLA production line of future rock and pop greatness are..."

Black Kites began their initial flight (groan!) back in 2005 when Alan Petherick and Nicki Nevlin started playing shows armed with only a guitar, a bass, some charming vocals and two retro drum machines. They attacked the Downtown L.A. art show scene with a vengeance, even though most of their shows ended up starting at around 3 am. Near the end of 2005, they fortunately acquired the multi-talented Evelyn Reyes (of Hona Lee) to provide some enchanting vocals and stargazing but dynamic keyboards to the music. Adding a drummer was the final step to take, and after playing many shows from Silverlake to Torrance, that step was finally cemented in the last days of 2006 when Marcel Feldmar, a recent transplant from Seattle (and Black Nite Crash) stepped in to hit the kit.

Black Kites have been described as Pink Floyd on speed but they sound more like the result of a head on collision between The Jesus and Mary Chain and Sigur Ros. 'All Wrong' could melt the hardest heart, this is music that could make a trappist monk renounce his vow of silence and sing for joy. Black Kites are ready to fly! - The Devil Has The Best Tuna

"Black Kites EP"

The Filthy Little Angels record label is one of those quilty pleasures of mine. I can always trust them to give me kitschy, outrageous rock and punk by some fun if not always good bands.

So imagine my surprise when I listened to the All Wrong EP by the Black Kites and found a tight quartet of talented musicians from the Los Angeles area. There is nothing camp or even punk to this, just good hard rock with some psychedelic influences. The band refers to themselves as “Pink Floyd on speed” but I detect more of a slightly mellowed out Sonic Youth. Comparisions aren’t really fair since this band has their own refreshing sound.

The EP barely makes 15 minutes with three tracks but they are really nice songs. The Black Kites have the advantage of two good vocalists in Evelyn Reyes and Alan Petherick. Tasty background and solos are provided by the instrumentation of guitar, piano, electric bass, and drums. Those who are looking for a new worthwhile band will be quite pleased with this excellent debut EP. I will be eagerly awaiting a full album. - Free Albums Galore

"Los Angeles Times Buzz Band"

There’s a fine line between magic and mush when it comes to the brooding strain of dream pop that L.A. quartet the Black Kites makes. And the X factor is often chemistry.

“This is not a sound we were necessarily going for,” singer-guitarist Alan Petherick says of the project he started with bassist Nicki Nevlin. “It ended up being a natural evolution — when Evelyn [Reyes] came in, her voice changed a lot of things.”

Reyes’ willowy vocals, paired at times with Petherick’s and layered onto rhythms laid down by Nevlin and drummer Marcel Feldmar, gives the foursome’s “Paper Heart” EP a cinematic sheen, and it’s meditative without being mopey. “It’s meant to be uplifting,” Petherick says. “We went for a feeling that’s anthemic and spiritual but not in a cheesy way.”

The EP, along with 2006’s “All Wrong,” was released in England on indie label Filthy Little Angels, and the Black Kites are looking to digitally release their music in the U.S. “In this day and age, it’s all Internet and all do-it-yourself,” Petherick says - LA Times


All Wrong EP released on Filthy Little Angels. Now playing on many online radio stations. Playing in Los Angeles on KROQ, Indie 103.1, KXLU, and



The Black Kites began their initial flight back in 2005 when Alan Petherick and Nicki Nevlin started playing shows armed with only a guitar, a bass, some charming vocals and two retro drum machines. They
attacked the Downtown L.A. art show scene with a vengeance, even though most of their shows ended up starting at around 3 am. Near the end of 2005, they fortunately acquired the multi-talented Evelyn Reyes (of Hona Lee) to provide some enchanting vocals and stargazing but dynamic keyboards to the music. Adding a drummer was the final step to take, and after playing many shows from Silverlake to Torrance, that step was finally cemented in the last days of 2006 when Marcel Feldmar, a recent
transplant from Seattle (and Black Nite Crash and Blaise Pascal) stepped in to hit the kit behind the songs that could make a sad person dance.

Taking inspiration from an eclectic variety of sounds (Velvet Underground, Jesus & Mary Chain, Stereolab, AC/DC, the Cure, the Birthday Party, Sigur Ros, Neu!, Tav Falco, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, and various showtunes, to name a couple), the Black Kites successfully released a sweet little EP that has gotten some nice feedback and even found its way into the realm of iTunes. Managing to combine a love of
swirling and atmospheric shoegaze and an affinity towards feedback and delay with a driving sense of rhythm and gritty rock'n'roll pop hooked
melodics, this quartet are poised to attack the country with what promises to be an exceptionally entertaining and musical live show.

With plans to record another EP in the spring of 2007, this band is one to keep your ears and eyes open for... because they sound so good, but
also because they photograph well, they like their noise, and their red wine, and they enjoy going to dive bars as well as fancy art events.
It's most likely that nobody in the band has a twin, they have been described as sounding like Pink Floyd on speed, and you will very probably like them when you hear them... but life's full of empty promises.