It’s going to be interesting to see how much success Alison Mosshart’s attitude can handle. Mosshart was fronting a solid Florida punk-pop group called Discount beginning when she (and the rest of the band) was still in junior high. Precociously hip, she already had that charismatic aura of someone who knew too much and wanted to throw it all away. (Discount’s first record was entitled “Ataxia’s Alright Tonight.”)
Dissolving the group in 2000, Mosshart began an aural correspondence with Jamie Hince in London, moving there the following spring to form the duo The Kills. It was precious and grimy; with Mosshart calling herself VV and Hince known as Hotel, they played minimalism run amok, with arty lyrics and stutter-simple beats. But VV’s bangs and blue jeans and cigarette-coated larynx were so seamlessly, snidely self-possessed that she was riveting, a Chrissie Hynde for the aughts. Hotel’s girlfriend may have been model Kate Moss, but Mosshart was the sex symbol of The Kills.
The past couple of years have further widened the arc of her renown. The Kills third disc, “Midnight Bloom,” stays lean and mean but feels positively (in more ways than one) orchestral compared the previous two, with improved wordplay to boot: “Cancel Sunday cancel Monday/Don’t look at me/I been running on a no-tomorrow road/At great speed,” VV barks on “Alphabet Pony,” while “Cheap and Cheerful” declares, “I want you to be crazy/Cause you’re stupid baby/When you’re safe.”
The Kills aside, Mosshart began popping up on YouTube tracks with other impossibly edgy and secretly sterling bands like The Raconteurs and Placebo. Then Jack White, leader of the White Stripes and the baron of beneficient cool, tabbed Mosshart to front his latest supergroup, The Dead Weather, which also features members of The Raconteurs and Queens of the Stone Age.
A candle shy of 30 years old now, Mosshart is probably ready for her super pop-culture close-up. But can the sexual frisson she generates ward off the inevitable hipster backlash? Fortunately this The Kills gig can still preempt that dynamic and focus on the music and her fervent nonchalance.
Here’s a scintillating Kills tune called “Sour Cherry” (as in “I’m the one sour cherry on your fruit stand”) filmed at Antone’s during SXSW in March. Here’s a video for the first single from “Midnight Bloom,” entitled “URA Fever.” And here’s “Hang You From the Heavens,” the premiere track from Jack White’s The Dead Weather.
The Kills, with special guests The Horrors, and Magic Wand, at First Avenue, tonight, 8 p.m., $14.