Tom Waits – 'Get Lost' and 'Hell Broke Luce'

I know Tom Waits isn’t for everyone. Even amongst peers he’s the perpetual black sheep. I also know that he doesn’t fit well within the regular tunes of choice at SBWR. But screw all that, he also happens to be one of the greatest living songwriters. So here goes…

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Tom Waits is character unto himself. He doesn’t smoke or drink anymore. He never left Missouri on a rail road track. And he damn sure didn’t hang out with a one legged carnival midget! But that ruins all the fun of his poetry. I’m happy to buy into his myth. In my mind he was born in the back of taxi cab and has the menu of his first job at Napoleone Pizza House tattooed on his guts. That part is true actually, the job that is.

‘Bad As Me’ marks the first official album release in seven years. However, I dispute this because the Orphans collection released in 2006 was much bigger than an album. Three discs of bliss! For these last few releases its been all dirt and grit in the production process. For ‘Mule Variations’ Tom Waits recorded in an actual barn and insisted on the doors being open to let the world in, Roosters and all. On ‘Real Gone’ he recorded by the Mississippi and it ended up sounding dirty as mud but ‘Bad As Me’ has a little extra shine.

‘Get Lost’ extends Tom Wait’s unique blend of rockabilly junkyard blues, not dissimilar from the opener of ‘Orphans: Bastards’ (‘Lie To Me’). ‘Get Lost’ has a tangible energy to it, I can see the barn dust flying every time I hear it. It’s this visceral quality and the untouchable charm of his lyrics that keep Tom Waits so far ahead of the pack. That’s if there is a pack. And of course his not so secret weapon, co-writer and wife Kathleen Brennan.

Few veteran artists mature so well musically as they get older, most age and lose a little edge. Exceptions to the rule could be Dylan’s ‘Modern Times’ or Johnny Cash’s American Recordings series. But Waits really does get better with each record. There’s more and more attitude and sorrow with each release. ‘Hell Broke Luce’ sees Tom Waits dropping a passionate F-bomb followed by an almighty chorus. This military style delivery pushes a theme from the ‘Real Gone’ album (‘Don’t Go Into The Barn’) but also has angular guitars and off-timed rhythms that harken back to the ‘Bone Machine’ era. For someone that is so openly opposed to war, he nails the drill sergeant role.

My only criticism of the ‘Bad As Me’ album is that the tracklist is a little jarring. You get whipped into a frenzy by one track and then thrust straight into a ballad, if I had my way it would be split into two sides. That’s it, otherwise I would post every single track, but that just wouldn’t be cricket! Fans should go out and grab this one, it’s a right of passage! Sermon over.

Tom Waits – ‘Bad As Me’ tracklist…
1. Chicago
2. Raised Right Men
3. Talking At The Same Time
4. Get Lost
5. Face To The Highway
6. Pay Me
7. Back In The Crowd
8. Bad As Me
9. Kiss Me
10. Satisfied
11. Last Leaf
12. Hell Broke Luce
13. New Year’s Eve

Download ‘Bad As Me’ via iTunes or get the deluxe package or vinyl here. Visit Tom Waits @ tomwaits.com or through Anti Records.

Hazy Mountains – ‘You’

‘You’ is the debut release from German electronic producer Julian Prott aka Hazy Mountains. Call it chillwave, dream pop, glo-fi or whatever but this piece is a brilliant mess of sound. The washed out guitars are draped over a simple electronic beat. Every sample, synth or noise adds to the percussive push and pull of the rhythm. Hazy Mountains will appeal to fans of Sun Glitters, Teen Daze or Balam Acab.

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Free download of Hazy Mountains ‘You’ here / connect @ Facebook.

Trailer Trash Tracys – ‘You Wish You Were Red’ & ‘Starlatine’

Trailer Trash Tracys have served up the new track ‘Starlatine’ from their forthcoming album ‘Ester’ due on January 12 through Double Six/Domino. The vocals of Suzanne Aztoria carry you through an oddly textured song. Trailer Trash Tracys manage to produce 50s pop melodies on ‘Starlatine’ alongside futuristic and experimental sounds. It’s a bizarre mix that gets under the skin.

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‘You Wish You Were Red’ is a little easier to digest. The opening guitars instantly made me think of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Just me perhaps? Its sparse simplicity gets hazier as it goes along. Eventually more vocals and harmonies drop in to wrap you up.

For ‘Ester’ Trailer Trash Tracys decided to record it all themselves. They obviously did a great job! In many ways the production is as much a part of the songs as the chords themselves. The odd choice of sounds is what makes Trailer Trash Tracys so unique and other worldly. According to the press release it was also recorded in a solfeggio scale which is uncommon in regular pop music. But I can’t comment on that because… well, for all I know they made that up. But I’m sure they didn’t!

Trailer Trash Tracys ‘Ester’ Tracklist…
1. Rolling – Kiss the Universe
2. You Wish You Were Red
3. Dies in 55
4. Engelhardt’s Arizona
5. Los Angered
6. Starlatine
7. Candy Girl
8. Strangling Good Guys
9. Black Circle
10. Turkish Heights

Preview more sampler tracks @ Soundcloud or pre-order ‘Ester’ via Domino. Visit Trailer Trash Tracys @ Facebook @ Trailertrashtracys.com or Double Six.

Grandparents – ‘Bitter Badlands’

Psych rocking shoegazers Grandparents have released a new EP called ‘Sugar Beach’ (pick it up here free). The seven piece are based in Portland and pride themselves on lo-fi sounds, recording their work on a Tascam 488. I remember those! ‘Sugar Beach’ follows on from last year’s six track collection ‘Don’t Move Time’. ‘Bitter Badlands’ has a rough vintage flavour and wouldn’t be out of place on a 60s surfing doco.

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Download Grandparents ‘Sugar Beach’ free @ Bandcamp / Connect with Grandparents @ Myspace.

Terry Malts – ‘Something About You’

San Francisco’s Terry Malts coming at you with this jagged old school punk rocking single ‘Something About You’ from the three song EP and 7″! From the buzz saw guitars to the echoing vocals, Terry Malts have produced a worthy follow up to their single ‘I’m Neurotic’.

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Pickup Terry Malts ‘Something About You’ from Slumberland Records or connect @ Facebook.

Electric Eye – '6AM'

Fresh from Bergen, Norway comes Electric Eye‘s new video for ‘6AM’. The rampant psych-rockers have made the tongue in cheek comment that the video was shot on the moon in 1972. Footage yes but… sadly, Electric Eye couldn’t make it that day.

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So who are Electric Eye!? They’re a conglomerate of space rocking talent featuring The Megaphonic Thrift / Low Frequency In Stereo guitarist Njal Clementsen, Oystein Braut, guitarist of The Alexandria Quartet, Anders Bjelland of Hypertext and drumming wiz Oyvind Hegg-Lunde. Now that you’re introduced, get stuck into their tunes! ‘6AM’ is straight ahead dirty blues in a mud puddle, without any vocals to get in the way.

Visit Electric Eye @ Tumblr / Soundcloud / Facebook or Twitter.