Getting Ready to Deal
By Lilly Nguyen
Posted September 5th, 2006
As we slowly inch towards the fall, KickNLicks continues its   preview of some of the season’s most anticipated music offerings.  Man are we getting excited.  Today we take a look at one of the most promising bands on the rock scene right now, The Killers.  They are following up their wildly popular first album, Hot Fuss, with the release of sam’s Town on October 3rd.  Keep a close eye on this one because if it is of the same quality as Hot Fuss, you can bet these guys from Las Vegas are in for one interesting year.  In fact, they just might be positioning themselves as the best young rock group in the world.
In case you have been living under a soundproof rock for the last couple of years, I’ll give you a brief introduction to who they are.  The Killers is made up of four young men from Las Vegas: Brandon Flowers (vocals, synthesizer), Dave Keuning (guitar), Mark Stoermer (bass), and ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums and vocals).  They also recently announced they will be adding one additional member to the team for their upcoming tour, which kicks off in October.  One of the things I find most fascinating about them is how normal these guys were before they hit it big.  A couple were students, one worked at a Banana Republic, and another was a bellhop at a casino.  If that doesn’t sound like the future of rock and roll, I don’t know what does.

Between 2002 and 2004, The Killers started to get their musical feet wet by playing small gigs around the world while working on
Hot Fuss.  That album was eventually released in the U.S. in June of 2004 and they definitely hit the jackpot with it.  The first single, “Somebody Told Me”, initially peaked at only #51 on the charts, but eventually made it to #3 in the UK after being re-released later in the year.  Other songs like “Mr. Brightside” and “All These
Things I’ve Done” were also enormous hits and had solid runs in the top 10 on the charts.  This success is due in large part to their very unique sound, which is heavily influenced by British music they listened to while growing up.  In all, The Killers ended up selling more than 3 million copies of that album.

Before we look to the future, let me start by saying how cool I think it is that these guys are from Las Vegas.  It is no surprise to me that a lot of great bands have been cropping up there recently (Panic at the Disco is another notable group from Sin City) because Vegas has all the perfect ingredients of a great music town.  Creative people from all over the world flock there, it is home to lots of available places to play, and most importantly, the whole town is bigger than life.  I can see why a band from Vegas would feel like they can conquer the world in such a short time.  This is a testament to the breadth of the American music scene and I expect to see a lot more talented acts coming from there in the future.Getting back to The Killers, these guys are scary good.  The thing that impresses me most about them is how they were able to produce such quality work for a first album.  If you look back at the history of most great
bands, you will see that first albums typically contain at best only 3 or 4 good songs.   If you are able to achieve that, you have set yourself on a very bright track.  However, somebody obviously forgot to tell The Killers this because they went out and hit a homerun on thier first swing with H
ot Fuss.  Of the 11 tracks on the U.S. version, at least 8 are good, with
4 or 5 of those being great.  The songs not only sound good, but they are completely original and represent a real departure from everything else which was playing at the time.  That uniqueness is the mark of true creativity and is exactly what good music is all about.
Frankly, their work has been so solid up to this point that I am almost worried for them because fans' expectations  are now through the roof.  However, it appears they are up to the challenge.  The Killers released the first single  from Sam’s Town on August 8th, “When You Were Young”, and it might be their best stuff to date.  It is everything  The Killers stand for and I do not think they could have chosen a better track as the first release.  The song has a
great tempo, a good message, and instrumentals that are out of this world.  When you hear it, you actually want to get up and dance (even though the subject of the song is quite serious).  This is a sensation rarely produced by rock music these days.  It is nice to see a band that realizes music can be fun and inspiring for a change.  In case you have not heard this song yet, you can watch the music video by clicking
here.  If it doesn’t get you excited for October 5th, I do not know what will.
The other cool thing about The Killers is that they are awesome live.  I have never had the opportunity to attend a concert, but what I have seen on TV has been impressive.  I don’t know if you caught them during last week’s MTV Music Video Awards, but let’s just say their performance made sitting through three hours of Jack Black bombing absolutely worth it.  It is amazing to watch how they are able to perform their songs with as much energy as is found in their albums.  That is no easy task proves they are the real deal.  In addition, I think Brandon Flowers is a great front man  because he is one of the rare singers whose voice sounds just as good live as it does in the studio.  When you add all of this up, you can see why we might be in store something very special here.
The music industry is already starting to take notice too.  Take for example the fact that U2 paid homage to them during a concert in Las Vegas by incorporating the infamous Killers lyric “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” into one of their songs.  Note to the music world: one of the all-time greats like U2 does not recognize a band unless they are really on to something.  Little things like that are the reason why I think The Killers have a good shot at
being one of the greatest bands on the planet.  While they are already very popular, if
Sam’s Town turns out to be as good as Hot Fuss (or dare I say better), they are liable to explode into something we have not seen in quite a while.  I’m talking off the charts.  

The release of
Sam’s Town, and the ensuing world tour, should be very interesting to follow.  While I am not quite ready to crown them kings of the world yet, there is no doubt that few other bands have shown so much talent as early as The Killers have.  I am not much of a gambling girl, but I am willing to bet that Sam's Town is going to be awesome.  It will be a lot of fun to see what kind of cards they deal us on October 3rd.