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Studio Milwaukee Session: This Is The Kit

Jen Ellis

Some music demands your attention. Loud, fast, shouted vocals, blaring guitars, crackling percussion — that approach has its place. This Is The Kit takes a different tack. The musical project of Kate Stables doesn’t insist you listen. It invites you to.

We felt it was only fair, then, to return the favor and put out the welcome mat for This Is The Kit during their North American tour. The group took us up on it, visiting for a Studio Milwaukee Session ahead of their Back Room show Friday night and bringing with them a batch of songs from new album Careful of Your Keepers.

If you’ve listened to that latest LP — or anything from This Is The Kit’s portfolio — you know what it’s like to be invited in by the music. The guitars are warm, the percussion feels like brush strokes across the drum kit, and Stables’ voice is calm and measured. All the while, each song gets its own little accessory. Muted horns here. A static crackle there. It’s quietly complex, like someone gently cradling your head and whispering algebraic theorems into your ear.

Thankfully, no math was required for this session. The group opened with “Inside Outside” (a proud resident of the 88Nine playlist) as Stables performed with her shoes placed neatly next to the mic stand, illustrating just how comfortable and welcoming the next 20 minutes would be.

After “More Change,” 88Nine music director Erin Wolf took a trip down memory lane and up I-90/94 to Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Festival, where she first encountered This Is The Kit in 2017. Stables talked about that experience, starting her musical journey with bandmate Rozi Plain in secondary school, and how parenthood and musicianship don’t always go together so easily (especially when there’s a slightly rebellious teenager involved).

You can use the player at the top of the page to hear that conversation and the final song of the on-air set, “This Is When the Sky Gets Big.” The group was kind enough to stick around to perform the album’s title track for the Radio Milwaukee members on hand — a group we’d love you to be a part of next time we welcome a national touring artist to our space.

Head over to our membership page to guarantee yourself an invitation to all our sessions, and pick up This Is The Kit’s Careful of Your Keepers on Bandcamp or wherever you listen to music.

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Set list

  1. “Inside Outside”
  2. “More Change”
  3. “This Is When the Sky Gets Big”
  4. “Careful of Your Keepers” (non-broadcast performance)