You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Album Review: Samantha Fish’s ‘Kill or Be Kind’

At a time when rock music remains in a deep recession — to put it politely — there are few more encouraging sights to see than a badass, slide-guitar-wielding female from Kansas City lobbing some blueswailing rock and roll.

That’s exactly what Samantha Fish has been serving up for the better part of a decade, particularly on “Bulletproof,” the lead single from her fourth studio album and debut for Rounder Records, “Kill or Be Kind.” It’s probably the best new rock song we’ve heard all year, and maybe for a few years: Based around a remarkably simple three-note slide riff, the song and the singer roar and blaze across a surprisingly long and suspenseful five-plus minutes, going quiet on the verses and erupting on the choruses and snarling on the song’s extended instrumental break. While she stomps on the Jack White pedal maybe a little too hard (particularly when she sings into the distorto-microphone on the chorus), well, Jack himself has had the pedal set at around six for the past few years, so it’s a refreshing take on a tried-and-true sound.

Things get calmer from there, as Fish shifts into a more conventional blues/soul mode, with lots of Otis Redding/ Stax-style horns. This album is a largely successful effort to branch out her songwriting and styles a bit from the blues side of the tracks (there’s plenty of snarling rock and roll on her 2015 album “Wild Heart,” which, along with the more acoustic 2017 follow-up “Belle of the West,” was produced by Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi All-Stars). Songwriting collaborators here include Jim McCormick (Luke Bryan, Keith Urban), Kate Pearlman (Kelly Clarkson) and others, and producer Scott Billington (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Solomon Burke) brings his diverse background into giving the album a unified sound. The songs generally move between horn-speckled, midtempo R&B, rockabilly, slower ballads like “Dream Girl,” and the occasional jaunt back to the snarling rock that opens the album.

It’s by far her most mature and diverse album and is a smart long-term move — but damned if Fish doesn’t sound most at home when she turns up her amp and wails.

Album Review: Samantha Fish’s ‘Kill or Be Kind’

More Music

  • Fall Out Boy - Patrick StumpLeeds

    Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump to Release 'Spell' Soundtrack, Hear First Single Here

    Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump continues his extensive work in the film/TV soundtrack realm with the release of “Spell,” which comes on Nov. 1 on Milan Records through Sony Music Masterworks. The soundtrack features Stump’s music from Crush Pictures’ psych-thriller, including the ballad “Deep Blue Love.” a soulful, blues-tinged ballad performed by Stump and [...]

  • Nancy Matalon

    Spirit Music Group Names Nancy Matalon VP of A&R, Announces Additional Hires

    Publishing company Spirit Music Group, which recently saw a $350 million recapitalization, has made some key staffing moves. Nancy Matalon, a veteran A&R executive who’s worked wit the likes of Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Public Enemy and Echosmith, among others, has been appointed vice president of A&R. In addition, Spirit has promoted Melanie Santa Rosa to [...]

  • Little Shop of Horrors review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

    With its strains of kitschy doo-wop and its sci-fi B-movie inspirations, the quaint 1982 musical “Little Shop of Horrors” hardly seems a thing of modern-day revivalism, even despite its touches of S&M. Yet this year alone, not only is there an Off Broadway production of the blackly comic “Little Shop” featuring Jonathan Groff of Netflix’s [...]

  • BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to

    BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to Be Produced by Management Firm's New Shingle, ModestTV

    The BBC has confirmed its Little Mix talent show, which the pop band’s management firm, Modest!, will produce through a new banner, ModestTV. “Little Mix The Search” will be exec produced by Andrea Hamilton, who has partnered with the management outfit to launch the new operation. Her entertainment show credits include “The Voice” and “Strictly [...]


    Midland Turns L.A.'s Dormant Palomino Club Into a Honky-Tonk Brigadoon

    Would it be too much to ask Midland to give up its burgeoning-country-star status and move west to become the humble house band at a newly reopened Palomino club in L.A.? It doesn’t seem a lot to beseech for a good cause, however unlucrative it might be for the group’s fortunes and fame. The famed [...]


    Idina Menzel, Bebe Rexha Take the Stage for Justin Tranter's 'Beyond' Benefit Concert

    We’re here, we’re queer and we’re writing your favorite songs was the theme of Beyond, the third annual benefit concert that Justin Tranter and his CAA agent, Jenna Adler, organized to benefit GLAAD at the Sunset Room in Hollywood on Wednesday night (Oct. 16). Beyond a music showcase, its mission is to highlight the annual [...]

  • Taylor SwiftMTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals,

    Vivendi's Third Quarter Results Up Nearly 17%, UMG Still Rising

    Vivendi saw its third quarter revenues increase by 16.7% to €3.97 billion ($4.4 billion) compared with the third quarter of 2018, once again boosted by the growth of Universal Music Group, while Canal Plus Group remained stable. For the first nine months of 2019, Vivendi’s revenues reached €11.3 billion ($12.5 billion), an increase of 14.6% [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content