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Get your kicks with The French Kicks

by Archives September 5, 2006

New York band The French Kicks will be hitting Montreal, urging people to dance their socks off on Sept. 9.

They are known for poppy drum beats that long pegged them with the post-punk era, when The Strokes were still the new band on the block. Vocalist and keyboard player Nick Stumpf is getting ready for a three-week headlining tour across North America promoting their new album Two Thousand.

It’s the French Kicks’ third album, and Stumpf confessed it was not an easy one to make.

“There is an element of getting older each time you make a record, and it’s really hard to do. This one, particularly, was extremely hard to get done,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s really hard, and you have to fight it. This was one of those ‘hard and you have to fight it’ records.”

“We were challenging ourselves to do certain things that we hadn’t done before,” Stumpf said. However, writer’s block wasn’t the problem. The band threw away “hundreds and hundreds” of hours of work during the recording because they wanted to write a record that would be different from what they had done before.

“The more you’ve already done the harder it can be to find new territory,” Stumpf said.

By now, the band should be used to adapting to changes. For their first album, One Times Bell, The French Kicks were known for an unusual combo of drumming and vocals, a combination Stumpf had to give up because of the difficulties he had catching his breath during live shows. Since then Aaron Thurston has taken on the live drum duties, but Stumpf still plays drums during most recording sessions. On Two Thousand, Stumpf played the drums on eight out of ten tracks, making sure The French Kicks’ signature drumbeats are still in place.

For this tour, the Kicks are also welcoming a new guitarist after founding member Matt Stinchcomb left the band this spring. They also got a new label when their longtime partner Startime International was absorbed into Vagrant records, a less traumatic shift that, according to Stumpf, left them with “the best of both worlds.”

Although The French Kicks earned a steady following with their second album The Trial of the Century, Stumpf said he does not expect this record to lift them to stardom.

“When we play shows it’s something about it that reminds me of playing in front of a roomful of friends. It’s not the ‘it-thing,’ we’ve been around, so it’s not a buzz thing, people come because they dig it,” Stumpf said. “They like it or they don’t, but they’re there for the right reasons.”

The French Kicks will play at Main Hall Sept. 9. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

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