The Kill Devil Hills

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Kill Devil Hills
OriginFremantle, Western Australia, Australia
GenresBlues rock, country, folk
Years active2003–present
MembersBrendon Humphries
Alex Archer
Ryan Dux
Todd Pickett
Luke Dux
Past membersSteve Joines
Steve Gibson
Michael de Grussa
Lachlan Gurr
Justin Castley
Timothy Nelson

The Kill Devil Hills are an Australian acoustic, country-tinged rock band formed in 2003 in Fremantle by founding mainstays Brendan Humphries and Steve Joines. They have released four studio albums, Heathen Songs (August 2004), The Drought (October 2006), Man, You Should Explode (September 2009) and In on Under near Water (March 2016).


The Kill Devil Hills were formed in Fremantle in early 2003 by Brendan Humphries on lead vocals and guitars, Lachlan Gurr on mandolin and banjo, and Steve Joines on vocals and guitar.[1][2] Initially the trio played "bushranger rock" and "cowpunk".[2][3] The name of the band is derived from the title of a chapter, written by Harry Smith in a book, Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes by US music critic Greil Marcus, about Bob Dylan and The Band.[4] In the late 1990s Humphries had been a member of Gutterville Splendour Six, alongside Gareth Liddiard and Rui Pereira of the Drones, which issued a self-titled extended play in 1998.[3] The Kill Devil Hills were soon joined by Steve Gibson on percussion and drums.[1]

The Kill Devil Hills released their debut album, Heathen Songs, in August 2004 and nationally in February 2005 on the Reverberation label. Michael Inglis of FasterLouder felt that "While the album has its dull moments, the Kill Devil Hills have come up with a coherant [sic] debut album that asserts the band's identity. At the same time, there are enough standout tracks to make this disc worth your hard-earned dollars."[5] In the same month they were nominated for six WAMi Awards, taking home "Best Blues/Roots Act" and "Best Country Music Act".

National youth radio station, Triple J, picked up the album, with Heathen Songs receiving a lot of airplay on a variety of shows. They were chosen as one of their 'fresh Crop' Artists of 2005. The group featured on Triple J's "Like a Version" segment and its JTV. They appeared on the Lonely Planet documentary series, "Six Degrees", broadcast on SBS. The band performed at The West Coast Blues & Roots Festival 2005.[6] Also that year they appeared at Bridgetown Blues Festival, where they played on stages supporting The Black Keys, The Mountain Goats, The Living End, Dallas Crane, The Mess Hall, Kim Salmon, Jebediah, The Panics and The Drones. The band undertook a short tour of the east coast in May and were invited back to Sydney for shows in November the same year.

2006 saw the band taking time to record a new album, spending most of this year in the studio, with plans to release the new record in October. They were also nominated for another 4 WAMi Awards (winning for the second year in a row – "Best Blues/Roots Act" and "Best Country Music Act"), they performed on the local stage at The Big Day Out, were asked to record a live set for Triple J's 'Home and Hosed', and were invited back to The Bridgetown Blues Festival [1], where they played with The Beasts of Bourbon and Dirty Three.

The band's second album, The Drought was released 7 October 2006 and was followed by a national tour. The Kill Devil Hills also released a limited edition vinyl import version of Heathen Songs through Spanish record label Bang! Records (a Spanish label which has many other underground Australian bands on its roster).

The Kill Devil Hills returned to the studio in early 2009 to record their third studio album, Man, You Should Explode, produced by Burke Reid. It was released nationally on 5 September 2009 on Torn and Frayed (distributed by Shock). The album was given a four-star review in Rolling Stone magazine, where it was described as "a new flawless record" and "one of the best of 2010".[7] The band also embarked on a two-month European tour in late 2010 with the European release of Man, You Should Explode on vinyl through the Spanish label, Bang! Records.

In October 2013 the band released its first live album, Past and Future Ghosts, which was recorded in March that year at the Fremantle Arts Centre.[8] The album contained songs from their first three albums, together with two previously unreleased songs.[9]

In March 2016, they issued their fourth studio album, In on Under near Water, which Kate Hennessy of The Guardian listed as one of ten "essential releases from the Australian underground".[3] She described it as "a brilliant showcase of what the Devils do best... No one wrings a ballad dry quite like Humphries, and his lyrics, always good, have slimmed into sleek, allusive poetry."[3]


Current members

  • Brendon Humphries (vocals, steel/acoustic guitar, electric guitar banjo, piano)
  • Luke Dux (acoustic/electric guitar, slide guitar)
  • Todd Pickett (vocals, drums, percussion)
  • Alex Archer (violin, piano, electric guitar, clarinet, slide guitar, organ)
  • Ryan Dux (vocals, bass)


  • Steve Joines (acoustic/electric guitar, vocals) Guitar Maestro and founding member
  • Justin Castley (electric bass, double bass, tin whistle)
  • Lachlan Gurr (vocals, mandolin, banjo)
  • Michael de Grussa (piano, double bass, banjo, vocals)
  • Steve Gibson (vocals, drums, percussion, xylophone)
  • Timothy Nelson (keyboards, vocals)



Title Details
Heathen Songs
  • Released: August 2004
  • Label: The Kill Devil Hills (KDH001)
The Drought
  • Released: 7 October 2006
  • Label: Torn & Frayed (TORNCD16)
Man, You Should Explode
  • Released: 25 September 2009
  • Label: Torn & Frayed (TORNCD24)
In On Under Near Water
  • Released: 18 March 2016
  • Label: The Kill Devil Hills (KDH002)

live albums[edit]

Title Details
Past and Future Ghosts
  • Released: 16 October 2013
  • Label: The Kill Devil Hills


West Australian Music Industry Awards[edit]

The West Australian Music Industry Awards (WAMIs) are annual awards presented to the local contemporary music industry, put on annually by the Western Australian Music Industry Association Inc (WAM).[10][11][12][13]

Year Nominee / work Award Result (wins only)
2005 The Kill Devil Hills Best Blues/Roots Act Won
Best Country Music Act Won
2006 The Kill Devil Hills Best Blues/Roots Act Won
Best Country Music Act Won
2007 The Kill Devil Hills Best Blues/Roots Act Won
2008 The Kill Devil Hills Best Blues/Roots Act Won
Best Country Music Act Won
Brendon Humphries Best Male Vocalist (The Kill Devil Hills) Won
2009 The Kill Devil Hills Best Country Act Won
2010 The Kill Devil Hills Best Rock Act Won


  1. ^ a b Kennedy, Sharon (23 November 2007). "Kill Devil Hills a band not a place". ABC South West WA (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b Eliezer, Christie (8 April 2008). "The Kill Devil Hills". In Music & Media. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Hennessy, Kate (1 April 2016). "Music You Missed: 10 essential releases from the Australian underground". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  4. ^ Dillon, Matt (22 November 2009). "The Kill Devil Hills' Brendon Humphries". The Rock Pit. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  5. ^ Inglis, Michael (12 April 2005). "The Kill Devil Hills – Heathen Songs". FasterLouder. Junkee Media. Archived from the original on 12 May 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  6. ^ "West Coast Blues & Roots Festival". 2005. Archived from the original on 25 June 2006. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Kill Devil Hills". FasterLouder. Junkee Media. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 12 May 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  8. ^ Bell, Steve (6 November 2013). "Breaking The Drought". Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  9. ^ Jones, Nicholas (18 September 2013). "The Kill Devil Hills Celebrate 10 Years With A Debut Live Album & Tour". Tone Deaf. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  10. ^ 2005 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "WAMi AWARDS CONGRATULATIONS". WAMi Festival 2006. WAMi Festival. 2006. Archived from the original on 24 February 2006. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  12. ^ 2007 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 22 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ 2008 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 28 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]