From the composer who made the score for the insane animated short film Savage Death Valley, here it comes another film score; but this time the film is fictional, so the music is free to take unpredictable sideways and reach and pass the limits of the politically correct. The artist is Lou Kelly and the album is called Junk City. Imagine the town in Cool World by Ralph Bakshi in dirty old-fashioned imagery and you will get the aesthetic background for this record. Let’s dig in the dirt:
- Junk City
- Catch A Cab
- Cowboy Slick
- Take A Stroll
- Sleaze Easy
- Crap Crusader
- Cockroach Swing
- Uncomfy Coffee Break
- Zoot Suit Wolf Pack
- Flea Circus
- Juh Jee Juh Boo Boo
- Boozy Woozy
- Winter Heat
- Sinning Is Living
- Blind In The Light
I’ll deal with this album like a tour guide to show you the beauties of the Junk City. Let me introduce the world first: a city forgot by whatever kind of innocence, animated by Nekroterium, that made Savage Death Valley. Drugs, night clubs, gangsters, street violence, dirty money, and even dirtier ladies, ready to act like angels and then turn to the other side to steal your money and burn the place to leave no trace. Remind that the music is intended as goliardic, so no offense for anyone…the official video clip is full of all of this, so much that there’s a second version tagged as “censored”. But you will see the uncensored one, am I right, you pervert?
Catch A Cab captures the fast essence of the city, always on the verge of collapsing under its own criminal weight. Up-tempo swing choral harmonic madness calls for a taxi cab doomed to be blocked in the chaos of traffic, so chill yourself out with Cowboy Slick, a sick blues where the baritone qualities of Mr. Lou rule the scene. While you’re still chilled, enjoy the sixties rock of Take A Stroll, where pentatonic keyboards take a walk in the neighborhood.
The blues is still burning in Sleaze Easy: morbid guitars and vocals from the deepest sniff of cocaine, you realize there’s no easy way to get out from the dirt but only easy digging into the depths of your immorality. Anyway, you have no time to rest: sirens are echoing and the noise of guns fills the air: get ready to go on a Crap Crusader! Chugging bass and overdrive guitars lead to a Hammond solo that’s as short as noisy and intense.
After some female moaning (haven’t I told you are a pervert?) the swing comes back in the big orchestra song that obviously is Cockroach Swing. Take your seat and watch the show: crazy syncopation and arrangements that would fit well even in the Letterman show. And after the curtains close, why don’t you take a break with Uncomfy Coffee Break? A flute solo guides your brain towards an evil mindset.
The chase prosecutes with the good cop/bad cop mood of Zoot Suit Wolf Pack. There’s no separation between guitar and trumpets, they’re both dense with soul and it’s not difficult to imagine James Brown dance on this tune. Then the scene changes again as fast as the jump of a flea: the Flea Circus! Banjo and violin run in a nervous way that reminds The Devil Went Down To Georgia, where the rural side of life meets the frenzy of the circus.
At this point, I can’t be surprised if all your brain cells are burnt out by alcohol and drugs, all you can say is blatantly jabber Juh Jee Juh Boo Boo (by the way, you’ve already said this gibberish lots of times before this tune and you will say even more after, so maybe you’re very recidivous), take another sniff of Blues Brothers-like groove and come back to rattle. While you faint, the dead spirits of Mississippi talk to you gently, whispering Boozy Woozy in your ears and make you even more raving. When you recover from your own mind, take another trip to the club because it’s getting cold and you need some Winter Heat. Sax, trumpets, and xylophone swing together, like old friends meeting again in front of Martinis and cigars. At the end of the song, a preacher tries to make you realize you have sinned, but you don’t care because Sinning Is Living.
This song is pure hard’n’roll, Hammond organ, choral refrains, cranked-up guitars and hitting very hard on those drums that testified your impurity so much at this point. You’ve drunk so much that now you’re Blind In The Light and you decide to come back to the roots of the blues: the piano plays sad notes of old stories while you fill up another glass, you scream your last impure desires together with the trumpets that bring up the last ale. And then all the club faints out. End of the games, You’ve had enough.
Did you enjoy the trip to Junk City? I’m not the alcoholic kind of guy but I definitely had fun with this one. A goliardic album from the goliardic human being that is Lou Kelly. He lives in his own old-fashioned aesthetics of a lost America, and at every new work, he shows to the curious listener a new part of this world to discover. If you want to feel like Columbus and discover the dark and funny side of the New World, this is the ideal record for you.
Written for you by Music Pills
Previous weird characters hosted on this blog: the Jelly Mound of Ben Levin Group and the Struggle of Los Padres
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