She Might Bite: “The Key”

When you do blues or folk right, it can have the punch of punk rock. When punk rock’s done right, it has the raw-nerve honesty and immediacy of good folk and blues. Kentuckian Tara Kimes takes that idea and runs with it. Kimes goes by the nom de rock She Might Bite, and combines the down and dirtiest bits of all three to make rootsy, punky rock with plenty of teeth.

On October 27 the Louisville-based artist releases a new EP called Don’t Entertain. Kimes’ sister Courtney joined her on previous outings like last year’s Feral demo and She Might Bite’s 2010 self-titled EP, but on the latest, Tara goes on her own, playing all the instruments herself with singer Alice Miller backing up vocals.

One of the EP’s tracks, “The Key,” has already made it into the world. It’s a haunting song. Kimes pounds out a stomping beat with drumsticks and a simple tambourine. A plonking bass moves it on forward. A swampy, hypnotic–almost tribal–guitar line punctuates the song, and sounds like R.L. Burnside jamming with Tinariwen. Then there’s Kimes’s voice. It’s hushed, but sinister, at least at first. She slowly injects more and more snarl into the words until finally she belts out with a down-home holler that’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. The stripped-down bit of backwoods folk blues gives way to the rock, and the song closes with some storming, grungy guitar stabs. It’s folky, it’s bluesy, it’s punky, and it’s got fangs.

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