Kitsa Stream Dead by Dawn in Full; Album Out Saturday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 21st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

kitsa dead by dawn

Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rockers Kitsa release their debut album, Dead by Dawn, this weekend in collaboration with Music Abuse Records and at a release show joined by Mos Generator and Chameleons. The event page is linked below, should you be in the area, and the eight-track release, which will be on CD and vinyl in addition to the download, is a cause worth supporting, with a direct take on ’90s-style grunge and alt rock put through a filter of modern and heavier tonality. In its melodies, its flashes of Southern-via-Pacific-Northwest semi-twang, with the title-track representing well what the band calls a Nazareth influence (fair enough, not arguing) and feels like the path there came via Jar of Flies era Alice in Chains or how Jerry Cantrell always leaned a little country.

On Dead by Dawn, it’s part of the pastiche, not the whole sound, and if you’re listening to opener “Seeds of Famine,” you might wonder where the hell I’m getting this from. But elements there of crunch in the guitar of Chris Pound (Deepwater) and the groove built around his chugging riff by bassist Jeremy Deede (Teepee Creeper) and drummer Randy Fort (Abused) give vocalist Skot Davis a righteous backdrop for the hookcraft in “Seeds of Famine,” which even before the sun turns sepia on subsequent the title-track gives hints of open spaces in the shift into its chorus. The character of that emerges across the album works across two sides — four cuts per — and saves the outright heaviest moments for cuts deeper into the procession like “Hate” and the penultimate “Journeyman,” which roll out thick and lumbering ahead of the faster, not-a-Misfits-cover finale “She.”

And in “She,” as well as its side-A-capper counterpart “Wasteland,” Kitsa proffer melodies reminiscent of C.O.C.‘s Blind while setting forth on their own take, particularly in the layered guitar work of “She” and the churning movement of a midsection that straightens out to make the record’s last shove before the guitar solo brings the end. The ultra-catchy “Downhill” — which reminds listeners where the shit goes and which is one of those songs Kitsa just might have to play at every show for as long as they’re a band — blends brood and a midtempo groove-rock nod en route back to its next chorus. These familiar aspects are hints more than direct sonic references — at least so far as I can tell — and bolstered though the vocals of Davis, whose low-in-mouth burl on “Dead by Dawn” touches on Chris Cornell in “Dead by Dawn,” taking a route to get there that will be recognizable to fans of Sasquatch, while subverting whoa-momma-hey-yeah-baby frontman caricature in his balance of dudeliness and range.

That same flexibility also adds to the impact on side B, as they pick up from the lighter strum of “Koi” into that brief instrumental’s bluesier stomp before “Hate” announces its arrival with immediate largesse in its riff. The heft subsides in the verse but is never far off, and “Journeyman” — which along with “Downhill” and “Wasteland” was one of three initial live demos re-recorded for the LP — awaits with reinforcement with a fervency of snap to its drums and a tension in its early going that makes most of the second half of the song feel like a payoff. It ends with Davis declaring himself the titular character and gives over to “She,” which is the longest inclusion at 5:31 and in summarizing much of what Kitsa have put forth as their sound on their first proper release, it leaves off with a sustained hum of distortion after one last showcase of dynamic pace and knows-where-it’s-coming-from songwriting.

If you read the first sentence above, there were two hints dropped even before Mos Generator were directly mentioned as regards an association with that band’s founding guitarist/vocalist, Tony Reed (also Big Scenic Nowhere and sundry concurrent projects), in “Port Orchard” and the association with Music Abuse RecordsReed produced Dead by Dawn, and the pro-shop sounds captured are balanced in the mix so that a detail like the headstock strum early in “Hate” can shine through even some of the otherwise most consuming moments. Suited to the ’90s vibe, the recording brings atmosphere and impact alike, and is only one more factor in helping distinguish Kitsa on their debut.

You can stream Dead by Dawn in its entirety on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

KITSA is a rousing heavy rock act hailing from the salted aura of Port Orchard, Washington. Launched in 2022, the band’s music is deeply rooted in weighty riffs, spanning various genres over several decades, with a deep nod to Pacific Northwest grunge.

With Elder, The Sword, Down, Alice In Chains, and Nazareth cited as some of their influences, the foursome of KITSA comprises members from eclectic bands, including Devilbilt, YEDD, Teepee Creeper, Pivot Point, Earthwreck, and Abused. In April 2023, KITSA released three incendiary live demo tracks recorded by Jeremy Deede and Tony Reed at Devils Child Records.

Later in 2023, the band set out to record their full-length debut, ‘Dead by Dawn.’ A melting pot of musical forces, the record features an assortment of sweet, sweeping vocal harmonies on the title track “Dead by Dawn,” the live fan favorite “Journeyman,” and a classic rock banger “Seeds of Famine.” Dead by Dawn is transcended by hard-hitting muscled tracks like “She” and “Hate.”

Dead by Dawn – Tracklist:
01. Seeds Of Famine
02. Dead By Dawn
03. Downhill
04. Wasteland
05. Koi
06. Hate
07. Journeyman
08. She

Dead By Dawn was produced by the venerable Tony Reed, with all songs written by KITSA. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Reed at APL and HeavyHead Recording Co. in October and November of 2023. The album’s intimidating artwork was created by the gifted Jerry Padilla and Rob Lorenz.

Upcoming Live Dates:
Feb. 24 – Bremerton, WA @ The Charleston – Record Release Show (w/ Mos Generator, Chameleons)
Apr. 06 – Bremerton, WA @ Redwood Theater (w/ Pike vs The Automaton, Wizzerd)

Release show event page:

Kitsa are:
Skot Davis: Lead Vocals
Chris Pound: Guitar, Vocals
Randy Fort: Drums
Jeremy Deede: Bass

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Kitsa on Instagram

Kitsa on Bandcamp

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