Kill Rockstars

Tamar Aphek - Signed to KRS + New Single

September 15, 2020

Tamar Aphek's album, All Bets Are Off, will be released on Kill Rock Stars in January 2021. 'Show Me Your Pretty Side' is the first single released and it is out today. Listen now. Preorder the album.

"Most of my songs reflect a quest to find an equilibrium between contrasts either love vs. hate in relationships, justice and injustice within society, war and peace between nations and so on. In my search to find some answers, I was inspired by the Nobel lecture of Martin Luther King (1964), who talked about the conflict between material and spiritual realms of human beings. My song is an inner dialogue between what I call the "good cop bad cop" which I believe exists in every person, so one person is asking his or her partner to take off the cover which conceals the pretty side."

Before she was 18, Tamar Aphek didn’t care about rock music. "It wasn’t until I first heard bands like Fugazi, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Jesus Lizard, Blonde Redhead, Unwound, Slint, Hella, Elliott Smith's Either/Or, that I started diving into history. I was fascinated by the minimalist sound based on asymmetric time signatures these bands had.”
Not that Tamar was a stranger to music - she went to a conservatory high school, played piano, and sang in a children’s choir that toured internationally. From her early childhood, Tamar showed a natural inclination for rhythm and pitch. Her four years stay in Egypt with her diplomatic parents widened and enriched her imagination and exposure to different dynamics and melodies.   
The decision to move from classical music to other musical genres was taken during Tamar's two years’ military service, where she embodied prophet Isaiah urge to 'beat swords into plowshares,' as she used to carry her guitar and play during night shifts.
Enrolling in law school at Tel Aviv University did not stop Tamar to plunge deep into the scene of indie music of Tel Aviv, succeeding to integrate smoothly, as a guitarist, in the already well established bands like ED in 2005. Two years later, Tamar founded an ensemble named Carusella, with Guy Schechter, former drummer of ED.
As the leader of the indie bands Carusella and Shoshana, Tamar become a prominent fixture in the Israeli rock scene. Her bands toured Europe and the US, she helped organize Indie Negev, the most prestigious festival in Israel, and she’s been crowned “Israel’s guitar goddess” by Timeout Tel-Aviv.
Within Carusella, and later Shoshana, Tamar demonstrated her creativity as a song writer, singer and guitarist. Within a short period of time she succeeded to break through, and become a leading figure and a prominent face of contemporary rock in the Israeli rock scene. Parallel to her performances in Israel, Tamar gained an international fame through dozens of international tours, both in Europe and the US, including some prestigious festivals like SXSW first with her two bands, and later under her solo personal project which carries her name - Tamar Aphek. 
As for her musical style - from the varied stages in her musical career, Tamar was adamant to break rules and conventions that characterized certain musical genres, pioneering the road to what was called world music, although Tamar prefers the term global music. Her openness to different rhythms, dynamics, melodies and tones might be attributed to her four years in Egypt through childhood which changed her whole worldview. Thus, composing and writing lyrics to her songs reflected a combination of personal philosophical vision with day today life experience.

Califone 'Needle In The Hay' - Elliott Smith Cover

September 11, 2020

Out via Jealous Butcher Records
Listen now.
Califone was the first artist to release a cover leading up to the 25th anniversary reissue of Elliott Smith's self-titled album. Out first as an Amazon Exclusive, 'Needle in the Hay' is now available everywhere. Califone released an additional cover to coincide with the release: John Prine's 'Crazy as a Loon.' 

"Matching his homespun folksy storytelling with the deconstructed warmth that has been coursing through Califone’s music for decades. It’s an excellent fit."
-Stereogum's Exclusive Premiere


Shutups - Can You Dance to a Feeling?

September 04, 2020

Shutups share new single and video for 'Can You Dance to a Feeling?' off of their upcoming EP, 5, out October 2nd. 
Don't miss their Kill Rock Stars' debut single, 'Death From Behind.'
"Oddball interpretation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
-Glide Exclusive Premiere
Stream it, watch it, pre-order the EP. 

Elliott Smith: Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition OUT NOW

August 28, 2020

You've heard the covers, seen the videos, streamed the live recordings, and, if you're like us, admired JJ Gonson's never before seen photographs. And it's all been leading up to today.
Elliott Smith's self-titled 25th anniversary reissue is out now!!! Listen to the beautifully remastered tracks and previously unreleased live recordings. Remastered by Larry Crane - Telegraph Mastering.

Portia Sabin - emeritus president of Kill Rock Stars:
"During the time I ran KRS, there was a constant demand for more pictures of Elliott and his world. On a whim, I asked JJ if she might have taken any more around the time that she shot the cover photo for the self-titled album. We’re all incredibly lucky that she had, and that she’s decided to share them with the world. I’m very proud of this LP book and everyone who worked on it so lovingly, and I hope it brings people as much joy as his music always does."
JJ Gonson - photographer:
"This project has shone a light on the deep joy that this record brings to so many people. I’m honored to be a part of it all, still, after all these years."
Larry Crane - producer:
"It was truly an honor to oversee the remastering of Elliott Smith’s second, self-titled solo album, and to mix and restore the live recordings from Umbra Penumbra."
Slim Moon - president of Kill Rock Stars:
"This was the first album I helped Elliott put out. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be involved with this expanded version that highlights Elliott’s personality and skill and helps keep his music fresh and alive for another generation."
To make things even better, all items shipped benefit USPS.
Browse the collection.

Portland Cello Project ft. Nafisaria Mathews 'Christian Brothers' - Elliott Smith Cover

August 25, 2020

The Elliott Smith 25th anniversary reissue is just days away. We've partnered with some wonderful artists from all across the musical sphere to release an alternate version of every song on the album. Portland Cello Project and Nafisaria Mathews share their take on 'Christian Brothers.' The strings and brass give it a whole new light. 
"The mood of the song seems to fit the mood of the world right now. The 6-bar phrase is as off-kilter-but-natural as my brain has been feeling."
Listen to the cover wherever you listen to music. 

Mi'ens - Rifft Valley

August 21, 2020

'Rifft Valley' is the latest single / video from Mi'ens' upcoming album Future Child. It makes you want to bang your head and float away. Listen to the track, check out the music video, and pre-order Future Child.
Guitarist/vocalist Kim Glennie on Rifft Valley:
“Rifft Valley” takes the listener on a mythic, winding journey with a skittery feel, awash with symbolism. We chose to weave heavy drums that lock in with an insistent bass line, discordant, distant loops, and technical guitar lines expressed alternately in precise angularities or freeform shredding.I was inspired by Rift Valley in Iceland, which marks the boundary between tectonic plates, as well as the site of early parliament. The lyrics are a commentary on the growing gap between rich and poor, and like the active volcanic fissure region, these social strata are uncertain and ever-changing.“The black cone” in the lyrics references the monument to civil disobedience in Reykjavík: “the few and what they own”. We are all small in the longer view of “geological time”. Guitar and loop fuzz within flexed and taut definition, galvanizing propulsive percussion and intensifying to a swirling, chaotic crescendo.The black cone/ The rift grows wide/ Geological timeThe black cone/ Divest and divide/ Growth and declineTechtonic states/ The black cone/ The few and what they own"

Prateek Kuhad 'The Biggest Lie' - Elliott Smith Cover

August 21, 2020

Prateek Kuhad's cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘The Biggest Lie’ is out now. The rendition hones in on the beautiful lyricism and guitar playing perfectly. 
"The Biggest Lie is one of my favourite songs from his eponymous album. A big reason I am a songwriter today is because of being impacted so deeply by the songs of Elliott Smith when I was in university. He was undoubtedly one of the finest songwriters of our generation."
We are very grateful to have the chance to work with Prateek, whose entire catalogue is remarkable. We’ve not worked with an artist from outside of North America in quite some time, and it’s so special when artists are able to ‘drop by’ KRS outside of the regular arrangements for releasing music. It’s an honor to be part of Prateek’s story.


August 14, 2020

'Alphabet Town' gets a brilliantly expansive take by Portland's Shaylee. It's available everywhere you enjoy music. 
Shaylee is the one-woman band project of Elle Archer, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. 
"On its own, Elle’s version is an impressive rocker, but what’s fascinating is the way she is able to present Smith’s work in a whole new light that feels simultaneously faithful and totally different."-Glide Magazine Exclusive Premiere

Palehound 'Southern Belle' - Elliott Smith Cover

August 07, 2020

Yesterday was Elliott Smith's birthday and Palehound delivered the perfect memento to recognize the occasion. The cover of 'Southern Belle' is available everywhere you enjoy music.
"Elliott Smith is one of my biggest inspirations because of songs like "Southern Belle." The lyrics are stunning in that classic way of his where he captures the two sides of everything: the beauty and the ugliness, the smooth and the gritty. I also think a lot of people forget how great of a guitar player he was. When I was learning to play the song I was taken aback by how punk the chord progression was, how complex and quick it was, while also maintaining the casual cool of a folk song. Only he could really do that."

"It stays pretty true to the original at first, Smith's delicate but slightly frantic acoustic guitar line basically intact, and Ellen Kempner does the near-impossible by replicating the clenched-teeth desperation in Smith's voice. But rather than staying acoustic throughout, Palehound's version explodes into life halfway through. Thankfully it's not over-embellished or shiny — this is how 'Southern Belle' would have sounded if Smith had taken Quasi into the studio to remake the track in the late '90s."
-Alex Ross - FADER Exclusive Premiere

Shutups Announce EP '5'

July 31, 2020

Shutups are releasing an EP, 5, October 2nd. The first single is out NOW. Presenting 'Death From Behind.' Pre-orders for the EP are available now.

MAITA - 'Coming Up Roses' - Elliott Smith Cover

July 17, 2020

MAITA covers Elliott Smith's 'Coming Up Roses,' making it the third cover released leading up to the upcoming self-titled reissue. It's available anywhere you'd like to listen.
"A soothing sound that mirrors that of Smith, and gives the track some additional punchy harmonies toward the end. With Maria Maita-Keppeler on vocals, MAITA gives fans of Smith — who lived in Portland for much of his life — something to be proud of."
-Brenton Blanchet - SPIN Exclusive Premiere.

Mi'ens - Mondlandung

July 17, 2020

Mi'ens single, Mondlandung, is out NOW!
Mondlandung is the final track from their upcoming album, Future Child. It expands on elements of post rock, noise and experimental in a sweeping and cathartic exploration, elaborating on guitar interplay and progressive song structures. The Mi’ens line up of Kim Glennie and Evan Heggen is bolstered by featured guest guitarist and collaborator Steffen Sidiropoulos, the addition of another guitar voice allows for complex and evocative songwriting with more dynamism, layered and textural arrangements, unfurling instrumental passages and vocal sections. The powerful mesh of slow-swirling, interwoven guitars and Moog over fluid tapping build to an expansive and immense finale. With lyrics inspired by the Apollo 11 moon landing and its code writer Margaret Hamilton, the listener is taken on a cosmic journey and encouraged to “seek on” in their own life pursuits. 
Mi'ens create all of their own videos and it takes us right into their upcoming album's world. Check out the music video
Mondlandung has all the melodious riffs you could ever want. Listen to the track and pre-order the album