Kitchens of Distinction
Kitchens of Distinction
The Kitchens' first single, "The Last Gasp Death Shuffle" (which featured Swales on lead vocals and bass, as well as guitar) was recorded in just one day on an eight-track in a Kennington basement, and was released in December 1987 on the band's own Gold Rush Records. It was named a single of the week in the NME, and led to the band signing with the British indie label One Little Indian Records; it was around this time that Fitzgerald, a medical doctor, put his career on hold to devote himself fully to the band. Their first singles for One Little Indian, 1988's "Prize" and 1989's "The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule", made it onto the "NME Writers' 100 Best Indie Singles Ever" list, published 25 July 1992. Their first full-length album, Love Is Hell, was released in April 1989. Fitzgerald's impassioned, wordy, often bluntly personal vocals careened over what sounded like a mass of swirling guitars, though the band only had one guitarist.
Swales' chiming, effects-laden style of playing drew him comparisons to the guitarists of The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, and A.R. Kane. KOD's melodic yet abstract sound was a precursor to the shoegazing scene of the late 1980s/early 1990s. Despite the promising start, the band faced a subdued reception from the mainstream music industry, generally due to their lyrical content. For instance, "Margaret's Injection", on the 1989 Elephantine EP, was a fantasy about killing then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Also, Fitzgerald was openly gay, and his lyrics were unapologetic, especially on tracks like "Prize" and "Within the Daze of Passion". Even the more indie-focused television programs like Snub TV and Rapido failed to give them much coverage, although Snub TV played the video for their 1991 single "Drive That Fast". Likewise, they were not offered a John Peel radio session, although they eventually did get one after asking Peel personally, following a Glastonbury performance which he appreciated. Kitchens of Distinction sometimes performed "secret" gigs under the alter ego Toilets of Destruction. An example was at The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town on 6 August 1990, where the band appeared in drag and played ABBA, David Bowie, and Bauhaus covers. In 1990, they signed with A&M Records in the US, and went into the studio with producer Hugh Jones (Simple Minds, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Undertones). Their second album, Strange Free World, was released in February 1991, and spawned some moderately successful singles in "Drive That Fast" and "Quick as Rainbows", both of which were very well received by college radio in the US.
The band went back into the studio in 1992, again with Jones at the helm, and their third album The Death of Cool came out in August that year; it was named in honour of the passing of Miles Davis, who had released an influential album titled The Birth of the Cool in 1950. A&M balked at the band's choice of "Breathing Fear" for the first single, due to its touchy subject matter (gay bashing), so "Smiling" became the album's initial single in the US. The band toured extensively, including a high-profile slot opening for their US labelmate Suzanne Vega, whose album 99.9F° came out within a few weeks of theirs. Later in 1993, KOD began work on their fourth album, co-producing it themselves with engineer Pete Bartlett. One Little Indian rejected the album twice, and eventually, both label and band agreed to bring in up-and-coming producer Pascal Gabriel to work on a couple of tracks.
One of the label's complaints about the album as the band originally submitted it was that they felt it lacked a potential hit single, so Gabriel produced a new song ("Come on Now") that the band had written after the rest of the album had already been recorded; Gabriel also remixed two of the album's other tracks (the opener "Sand on Fire" and first single "Now It's Time to Say Goodbye"). The resulting album, Cowboys and Aliens, was released in the UK in October 1994, and although the band admitted that they enjoyed working with Gabriel, the changes did nothing to help the album's dismal sales. When the album saw its US release in early 1995, it was largely ignored by the same alternative rock radio and media that had championed them just a few years before. By the end of 1995, both A&M and OLI had dropped the band. Shortening their name to Kitchens O.D.
and signing to the London-based indie label Fierce Panda Records, they issued a single, "Feel My Genie" in May 1996, which was named "Single of the Week" by Melody Maker, but they officially disbanded that summer after a farewell gig at London's Kings Cross. In September 2012, Fitzgerald announced that he and Swales had recorded and were in the process of editing ten new songs. The reunited trio of Fitzgerald, Swales, and Goodwin released their fifth studio album Folly, their first new album in 19 years, on 30 September 2013 Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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