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Sunday, September 30, 2012



The Rolling Stones
Tokyo Dome 1990 (Rolling Stones Archives) :: Sad sad sad is putting it mildly. Not only is the sound tinnier than a cheap transistor radio, the singer sounds like he was recorded at the bottom of a well. With a bucket over his head. Where’s Gojira when you really need him?

Öyster Cult – “Godzilla” (Columbia) :: Exactly!

Spillane (Elektra) & The Lounge LizardsLive 79-81 (RIOR):: You might recall how, a couple of weeks ago, I listed my Top Five noir albums that I habitually listen to whenever I’m revising my 100,000 word noir novel; you know, the doom-laden discs that I can always count on to set me up for the hard letdown.

Well, it occurred to me shortly thereafter that some of you mugs might not get the connection between an expunge album like In Utero and the bottomless pit known as noir. Perhaps if Cobain had used his original album title—I Hate Myself And I Want To Die—it’d be a tad easier to tie the two. As James Ellroy says: “It’s the long drop off the short pier. Noir is opportunity as fatality.” Which pretty much nails what those five albums I listed are all about, to a toe tag.

But let’s say for argument’s sake—and there’s always argument—that maybe you’re looking for something a little more on the resignedly romantic side; something that uneasily evokes, in the words of Otto Penzler: “A femme fatale; some tough criminals; an equally tough cop or private eye; an urban environment with endless night, bars, nightclubs, menacing alleys, and seedy hotel rooms.” If that’s the hard case, then here’s a couple of Johns who have your out of service telephone exchange—and they’re dialing DEgeneracy 0-0000.

On the half-hour long title track to Spillane, every trick in the book—and I don’t mean the two-legged kind—is on display as Zorn serves up an aural tribute to Ayn Rand’s favorite hard-boiled master of sex and violence. Screams merge with squealing tires and every genre of noir music abounds, from opulent lounge to opium den, all strung together by the strung out voice-over of Robert Quine as Mike Hammer.

Or perhaps you’d care to partake instead of John Lurie’s queasy excursion into the sleazy
sax-sodden world that his jazzbo Lounge Lizards habitually inhabit. Originally available only as an under the counter lo-fi cassette with far cooler cover graphics, this digitally replastered scattershot compilation was recorded at a number of Commie dives back in the hood old days when anti-rads would rhyme “dead” and “red” with knee-jerk regularity.

The song titles say it all. From “Thrown Or Was Pushed” and “Harlem Nocturne” to “Dutch Schulz” and “I Can’t Hardly Walk,” this is the kind of bug-spastic music that vein stickers from Brooklyn to Berlin can relate to.

But when the going gets tough, the weak get a good going over as evidenced by the tense moment when some hapless clod in the audience is dumb enough to yell out “Bullshit!” at the conclusion of the decidedly discordant “Epistrophy”—at which point Lurie intimidatingly instructs: “Throw that guy outta here.” The way I heard it, no one ever saw him again.

Be seeing you!

Sun, September 30, 2012 | link 

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