Black Kids

Black Kids: prepare for take off

It’s 1999; the music media has descended upon Jacksonville, Florida.

A band from the area sporting three quarter length chinos, backturned caps and basketball vests are set to become one of the biggest bands on the planet. They’re peddling vile, shlock rap-metal and about to douse the airwaves in a plague for the next twelve months by inventing New Metal. They were Satan’s own dangleberries; Limp Bizkit.

Almost ten years on though, and again, Jacksonville has thrown forward an exciting new band. Only this time they’re as far removed from the aforementioned joke as possible (a good thing), and there’s no cod-rapping, crotch-grabbing twunts involved (an even better thing). Black Kids; four suburban teens causing US bloggers to soil their undercrackers at the mere mention of the band, evoked a hype so stratospheric the band’s CMJ show saw an influx of media types not seen since Win Butler and his doom-pop henchmen arrived in town.

Made up of brother and sister combo Ali (keyboards) and afro-sporting frontman Reggie Youngblood, Black Kids (also comprising bassist Owen Holmes,

drummer Kevin Snow and second keyboardist Dawn Watley) are, by November 2007, still to ink a record contract, have played less gigs than a watch-less Pete D and are yet to record a full-length album. So, is the commotion turning them into entourage-ravaged egotists?

“We’re somewhat ambivalent about it,” muses Reggie. “On one hand, what people expect of us is somewhat unrealistic. On the other hand, we would probably still be dickin’ around Jacksonville without the hype. We’ve spent the majority of our lives in Florida. Two of us were born here, the rest of us are kinda, erm, illegal aliens…”

If songs featured on their free-download E.P ‘Wizard Of Ahhh’s’ are anything to go by, B.K won’t so much arrive in 2008 as kick your door in, hijack your tweeters and demand you to hit ‘Repeat’ quicker than Mika phoning Songwriter’s Helpline. It’s an EP which not only combines the youthful immediacy of five pop loving Floridians but also boasts an inspired retro backbone marked ‘Good Taste’.

“Speaking for myself, mainstream R&B, like Michael Jackson, Prince, New Edition (the first cassette I ever purchased was by Bobby Brown), but then there were hair metal bands, which I equally loved (Poison was the second cassette I ever bought). As a band, we love so many groups: Hefner, Sparks, Magnetic Fields, Clash, Orange Juice. It goes on forever.”

Eclecticism is a vital component in Black Kids’ sound

Eclecticism is a vital component in Black Kids’ sound, with tracks such as ‘I’ve Underestimated My Charm Again’ sounding like an adolescent Jonathan Richman fronting Talking Heads (before lilting into a 50’s-style jamboree). ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend’ meanwhile, makes us imagine what Arcade Fire may have sounded like had they spent their youth roller-skating to Cure albums. Sadly though, the band have yet to record an album.

“I suppose we could feel pressured about recording the album. We’re actually very anxious to record anyway…but hopefully in January,” reveals Reggie.

Black Kids: prepare for take off.

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.