Earlier today, after This Is The Kit wrapped up an UK opening tour for The Barr Brothers, Stereogum broke news of the release date for their long-anticipated new album Bashed Out, which was produced by The National's Aaron Dessner. Before we say more, take a listen to the first music released, the album's title track.
"Kate Stables has been recording music as This Is The Kit for years now, but this is probably one of the first times youre reading about her," wrote Stereogum. "Bashed Out will be her third full-length album, and it will also likely be her breakout."
For those who have been following the band since they joined the label in 2012, This Is The Kit is the band project of one Kate Stables. Growing up in a green leafy English town, multi-instrumentalist Kate learned from an early age that great art takes time. The place I grew up is defined as a Roman Saxon medieval city, they started building the Winchester Cathedral a thousand years ago and have been working on it ever since she explains.
Over the past several years, that work has begun to pay off with accolades from well-placed supporters and a strong base of fans. Having won over Elbow frontman Guy Garvey who argued her last record should have been Mercury Prize nominated as well as his fellow BBC 6Music & Radio 1 DJs (Lauren Laverne, Marc Riley, Cerys Matthews, Huw Stephens, Phil Taggart), This Is The Kit has also been hand-picked to support the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Iron & Wine, Jose Gonzales and Alexi Murdoch a who's who of iconic folk-inflected songwriters.
This Is The Kit began in loose form in the mid-00s as Kate focused a childhood of creative experimentation on music, first moving to Bristol to continue her musical education, before upping sticks and leaving for Paris. It was there where her debut album Krulle Bol took shape, recorded and produced by PJ Harvey's long-standing musical collaborator John Parish. Her second album, 2010's Wriggle Out The Restless was made in France alongside members of Francois and the Atlas Mountains before final touches from TITK's extended musical family were added in Bristol, Belgium and several points in between.
The continuing expansion of TITK's musical family is where the story of Bashed Out starts beginning with a pair of intersections with the story of now legendary New York band The National. Kate's eldest sister Jane Stables was an early fan and friend to the band providing couches and floors for them on their first UK tour in 2002. That friendship is why in 2011, The National ended up at a small Hackney cafe watching This Is The Kit. Struck by what he'd heard, Aaron offered to reissue Wriggle Out The Restless (which had fallen victim to two labels going out of business) and support slots at New York City's Beacon Theatre and London's Alexandra Palace.
A demo exchange followed across the Atlantic and in early 2014, Kate flew to Brooklyn to flesh out her ideas into full recordings. Her past experience allowed her to quickly plug into an entirely new musical community and Bashed Out was swiftly completed. It features performances from Aaron, his brother Bryce Dessner, Benjamin Lanz (Beirut), Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, The Gloaming) and Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) alongside her regular cast of collaborators.
The resulting record is honest, human and humane and Kate's creative intentions are uncommonly pure. She explains: "The main reason for doing what I do is the exchange with other peoplemusical exchange yes, and other exchanges too. A hello and a handshake and the constant opportunity to learn from the knowledge and experience of others. As far as I can work out, the only thing worth doing in life is meeting, helping and swapping stories and experiences and resources with other people. Doing, making, learning."
To some, Bashed Out might mean broken. For This is the Kit, though, it is a statement of intent, how art happens, through happenstance meetings and accidental collisions and pushing through.