All their songs are about drinking, dancing, or crying. But they really just want to drive around with you, in the afternoon, with some Joy Division on the radio.
KttSoF, early press release, '05
Slimane has listened to [the "Hedi Slimane" single] but says, "I could not hear or understand the lyrics at all."
read the full article here
Nick Paumgarten, "Pretty Things," the New Yorker, 3/20/06
Something about this band's website - no, let's face it, EVERYTHING about it - smacked of unbearable pretension.... this one song is a legitimate garage noise rager, insistent of rhythm and steadily building into Stoogely chaos by the end. They get so much mileage out of one note, it's somewhat astounding. It's a freakout, blinding rock chaos that's worth sharing.
Doug Mosurak, review of "Hedi Slimane," Dusted Magazine, 01/06
... [Pasquale] Timore says it's definitely time for something new. His band refuses to go on stage without button-down shirts and ties ... if the duds get ruined, he says, so be it. 'I'd rather destroy a really nice shirt on stage than save it and wear it to my sister's wedding."
"Everybody that's in a rock 'n' roll band wants to be sitting in a chateau in France with models and Gucci pants on. That's why we do it."
read the full article here
Michael Agosta, "Alternative Styling," Women's Wear Daily, 9/8/05
A few weeks ago, Hedi Slimane, the menswear director for Dior Homme, had his assistant ring up local noise combo, Keys to the Streets of Fear.
"The first thing we asked was, 'Are you suing us?' and the kid was like 'no,'" says guitarist, Patrick Grenham. "I mean, the song compliments his sexual prowess and his tight pants."
Turns out, Hedi just wanted a copy. Then Women's Wear Daily wanted one, then British Vogue.
And for good reason: "Hedi Slimane," the band's 7" debut, might be the most terrifying homage to a men's designer in haute couture (or punk) history. Both versions (one French, one English) are unforgiving blasts of hair-scorching noise, asthmatic feedback and unfettered fashionista fellatio.
"I like his pants," Grenham says. "When he first started doing menswear at Yves Saint Laurent, I got a bunch of their ties at Filene's Basement and was like, 'This guy is the shit.' Then we were writing a song and needed lyrics - so we decided to yell about our love of Hedi Slimane."
Their ardor certainly comes through, even though the words are, for the most part, unintelligible. "It's not wholly sincere. I mean, the lyric, 'I want to fuck like Hedi Slimane' - I'm pretty confident that Hedi Slimane is fucking, like, 17-year-old German boys. That's not our bag. But I bet he fucks them like a rockstar."
For their upcoming "Fashion Release Party," the group ravaged the "Riot Rack" at 21st Century, a Manhattan reseller of damaged high-end couture. After investing in what would be $4,000 of women's fashions, the duds were further abused with Streets of Fear silkscreens and "flashed up" with leather scraps to make them "more rock & roll." In addition to being modeled by mannequins onstage, the brutalized specimens will sell for a neat $100 each at Stel's - a cozy, high-endish boutique on the Newb.
If this all sounds a bit too precious, don't worry; it's not. "We're not exactly rolling in Dior," Grenham says; and by the sound of the 7", the Keys seem to take as much pleasure in tearing rock to tatters as they do in trashing upscale blouses. Grenham seems especially enthused that their release show will allow for both:
"It's gonna be a fucking shit riot."
Michael Brodeur, "Keys to the Streets of Fear: One Hot Outfit," the Weekly Dig 8/3/05
Self-described "savage-rock punkers," Keys to the Streets of Fear believe in style. They believe in sharp neckties, collared shirts, and cleanly cultivated sideburns. They believe, as frontman Pasquale Timore puts it, that "T-shirts on stage are bullshit." But above all, they believe in Dior Homme fashion designer Hedi Slimane.
KttSoF are so transfixed with Slimane - the 37-year-old createur de mode whose suits have draped everyone from Brad Pitt to Karl Lagerfeld to Madonna - that this Friday at T.T. the Bear's, in Cambridge, they'll be celebrating their debut vinyl single, titled "Hedi Slimane." A distortion-drenched homage to the Dior Homme designer, the muffled track's English lyrics consist of four verses:"I want pants like Hedi Slimane/wanna dance like Hedi Slimane/live in France like Hedi Slimane/I wanna fuck like Hedi Slimane" Even with the last line, the sludge-punk song got hyped in British Vogue and Women's Wear Daily.
The last line is also the primary reason that the vinyl single is bilingual, with versions pressed in French and English. "We didn't know if anyone would play it on the radio with such an obvious, screaming swear," drummer Guiseppe Ferraro (a/k/a Joe, who's also a kit-pounder in the Curses) explains while loitering in a back alley behind Stel's, the Newbury Street boutique where KttSoF will be selling their own 10-piece fashion line starting this weekend. "So we just translated it into French, because we figured nobody would know what the hell we're talking about."
The band's Web site (www.streetsoffear.com) asserts that they're "the most stylish heterosexuals you know." Even when three of the four members of KttSoF are hanging out beneath a fire escape, sucking down PBR cans and wearing Chuck Taylors (Slimane's been known to pair his clothes with Converse), they're all right angles and tucked shirts. Ferraro, a former haberdasher who once had to cut off his pants after he'd tailored them too tightly on his body, is dressed in a tie and neatly cuffed jeans. Timore, who bears an uncanny resemblance to sometime scribe Patrick Grenham, leans against a brick wall in a pinstriped shirt. Two-string guitarist/vocalist Elio DeLuca wears a zipper-slashed leather jacket with a popped collar. Their absent counterpart, a bassist named Sam who's gone fishing for the weekend, has a long-standing reputation as a stylish dude. Recalls Timore, "Sam introduced me to tight pants."
"clothing that looks like the girl who wears it goes to filthy rock shows and then goes home to do filthy things."
When it came time for the Boston-based outfit to consider merchandise, they weren't looking to wholesale T-shirts. Instead, the foursome decided they'd rather have their own "extremely limited" line of "hot fast-action ladywear" that'd sell for around $100 a piece. So Timore went shopping at New York department store Century 21 and handpicked discounted articles - things like a red sleeveless turtleneck, a tan sweater, and a ruffled skirt, designed by the likes of Martin Margiela and Diane von Furstenberg. Then, they got Jamaica Plain designer/seamstress Robin Chalfin to add leather strips and tears, creating a 10-piece collection they describe as
Back inside Stel's, co-owner Tina Burgos is arranging a display window of headless mannequins in KttSoF gear. "Can you roll up one leg like a bike courier?" asks Timore, pointing to a big-breasted mannequin in expensive jeans. "I want her to look like she's riding her bike to Hotville."
Timore takes a sip from his PBR can and then sighs. "You know, seeing a girl walking around Boston in a T-shirt with our band logo doesn't do much for me. Seeing a girl walking around in something from our fashion line - that would be so hot."
Camille Dodero, "Savage Rock with Runway Style," the Boston Phoenix, 8/4/05
(note: Pasquale really does use the word "hot" this much)
"... [a] great set that found frontman Pasquale leading the band in a drunken cluster of noisy-as-shit blues/garage rumblings. But these weren't no Jack White compositions - think Jon Spencer after a particularly intoxicated . . . er, inspiring trip to Twisted Village."
Chris Nelson, "Out" (re: T.T.'s show 8/5/05), the Boston Phoenix, 8/11/05
Hedi Slimane has been known to seek inspiration from the rock scene. Now, Boston-based indie rock group Keys to the Streets of Fear is returning the tribute with a song dedicated to the Dior Homme designer. "Hedi Slimane" is to be released as a 7-inch vinyl record on Aug. 5. The song features lyrics such as "I want pants like Hedi Slimane" and "I want jeans like Hedi Slimane" followed by the chorus "I want to ---- like Hedi Slimane."
If that's too risque for U.S. radio stations,there's always the French version, also on the record. "One of the main reasons we did the song in French and English is so that it could get played on the radio here, since no American DJ will figure out the French words," said lead singer Pasquale Timore (wishful thinking).
Beyond entertainment, the group has fashion ambitions. To celebrate the song's release, it has approached costume designer Robin Chalfin to rework 10 Antwerp Six outfits purchased at discount stores such as Century 21. Chalfin took apart the pieces and put them back together, adding materials like leather and silk. They will be exhibited at Stel's boutique in Boston next month.
"Hedi Slimane is rock 'n' roll," Timore said. "He and Raf Simons are these little obsessions of ours. Our drummer is a former haberdasher and we are really into tailoring."
Women's Wear Daily, "Fashion Scoops," 7/21/05
(note: they got the lyrics wrong. and you really can't understand what we're saying.)
I have never seen Keys to the Streets of Fear and not thought of the phrase "train wreck." Not that that's a bad thing. They're kind of a noisy mess made by people who have serious musical ability and who know when not to be serious. And, in fact, the rhythm section is really solid and driving, whether plodding slow and dirty or careening fast and wild. The vocals are mostly screamed, and give the impression of drunken raving, a style which lends itself to a fairly rudimentary PA system. The guitars are a stew of noise and feedback, with a weird kind of tortured beauty in the two-string leads.
This reaches a kind of peak in their sort-of cover of "Save the Last Dance for Me," when, if you pay close attention, you can actually detectsomething like the mutilated corpse of that song's melody in what the guitar lead is doing. It's a very cool effect. Since I'm sitting close to the band, and they're extremely dynamic performers in a crowded space, I assume I'm going to take a guitar head to the face at some point in their set, but in fact they manage to avoid hitting me at all, so the night is really a complete win.
Steve Gisselbrecht, re: Cellar show 6/17/05, a collection of little reviews
topmost photo by Bill T Miller
all others by Andrea Fischman