Copped It @ A Twist of Noir

My little tale of a heist gone wrong is over at the brand-spanking-new A Twist of Noir. We’re all glad to see ATON back sharing stories — and surprise, I’m following on the heels of Mr B, who’s got a fine little black diamond, ‘Things I Used to Like’ (and he gets to be #007, too). You won’t be surprised to find ‘Copped It’ is another title stolen from The Fall. I can’t help being inspired: originality is overrated anyway 😉 besides, you might catch a few other references in the tale.

Thanks, Chris!

Lys Guillorn & Her Band: I’m a Boy EP

You need this. I’ve reviewed Guillorn‘s work before. This new EP hasn’t left my car since I got it. This is so right for this moment in so many ways, starting with the title song. It’s hard to improve on The ‘Oo but this version hits the right balance between homage and innovation. The guitar sound offers a jangly mid-60s authenticity but the sweeter backing vocals reveal a complexity to the gender confusion that makes it feel entirely up to date.

‘Something’ highlights the plaintive quality of Guillorn’s voice, with lyrics of loss and heartache that twist into disappointment with ‘Why did you falter? Why?’ The stripped down simplicity of the track has the guitar matching her voice, until gradually the keyboards fade in to lift the sound and the backing vocals echo the despair of ‘Why’ perfectly.

My favourite track at the moment ‘Nothing To It’ seems like the anthem of this insane time where we are all feeling ‘defeated and deranged’:

I heard echoes in the hills of the ones who survived,
who wrote what they knew and stuck to it.
I hovered in a cave a philosopher drew
and spoke of Socrates.

Plus asides about calculus: I love the sheer playfulness of this song that’s really about despair and fear and maybe even apocalypse. I haven’t said enough about Riccio’s drums: taking on Moonie’s rolls shows he’s got courage. He matches the rolling guitar sound impeccably here. I can’s say enough about Guillorn’s amazing guitar playing on this disc. So urgent here: showing the emotion the vocals try to skate over. She’d probably say there’s nothing to it.

‘Boylesque’: marvel at that title. The alternation between ‘Heavily kohled eyes’ and ‘Heavenly cold eyes’ is Guillorn at her most playful. The crystalline purity of the mix: vocals front and back, guitars, keys. It’s all so right. Complexity that sounds utterly simple.

What’s written in the space left blank
at the bottom of the page?
A view of the future hidden away.

Oh the psychedelic guitar in ‘M.K.’ is just so gorgeous. You need like early Pink Floyd video projections or lava lamps to play in the background. But utterly contemporary: it’s like she might have a time machine to go back to the 60s to liberate lost guitar riffs that weren’t appreciated at the time to give them a new home. The alchemy of music with masks:

I wasn’t happy as a child.
When on Halloween a neighbor saw me smiling,
it was the mask that freed me,
if you get my meaning.

I’M A BOY: released March 24, 2017 Little Cowgirl Records

Lys Guillorn – vocals, guitars
Peter Riccio – drums
Julie Beman – keyboards, organ, vocals
Eric Bloomquist – bass, vocals

Produced by Lys Guillorn & Her Band
Recorded by Tom Boudreau at Bonehead Studios, Cheshire, CT
Mixed by Tom Boudreau with Lys Guillorn & Her Band
Mastered by Jim Chapdelaine
Cover photo by Pete Brunelli

Dedicated to gender rebels everywhere.

 

Song for a Saturday: Spirit in the Night – Bruce Springsteen

Back in the day Springsteen was trying real hard to do his Dylan thing but — just like Dylan with his Guthrie thing — where he got it wrong was where his own voice lay. It came through a lot despite the self-conscious imitation. How else do you learn?

The song that made me a fan forever was ‘Rosalita’ but going back I listened more closely to the first album and decided I loved those songs too. Hipster Bruce I think now, but it’s good stuff. Lines from this have been stuck in my head for days so this may exorcise them. Or else they just need to keep echoing until they find what they’re leading me to — or I do.

Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley tradin’ hands
`long came Wild Billy with his friend G-man all duded up for Saturday night
Well Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake
It’s about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight
I got a bottle of rose so let’s try it
We’ll pick up Hazy Davy and Killer Joe and I’ll take you all out to where the gypsy angels go
They’re built like light
and they dance like spirits in the night (all night) in the night (all night)
Oh, you don’t know what they can do to you
Spirits in the night (all night), in the night (all night)
Stand right up now and let it shoot through you

Well now Wild young Billy was a crazy cat and he shook some dust out of his coonskin cap.
He said, “Trust some of this it’ll show you where you’re at, or at least it’ll help you really feel it”
By the time we made it up to Greasy Lake I had my head out the window and Janey’s fingers were in the cake
I think I really dug her `cause I was too loose to fake
I said, “I’m hurt.” She said, “Honey let me heal it”.
And we danced all night to a soul fairy band
and she kissed me just right like only a lonely angel can
She felt so nice, just as soft as a spirit in the night (all night)
In the night (all night). Janey don’t know what she do to you
Like a spirit in the night (all night), in the night (all night)
Stand right up and let her shoot through me.

Now the night was bright and the stars threw light on Billy and Davy
dancin’ in the moonlight
They were down near the water in a stone mud fight
Killer Joe gone passed out on the lawn
Well now Hazy Davy got really hurt, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt
Me and Crazy Janey was makin’ love in the dirt singin’ our birthday songs
Janey said it was time to go
So we closed our eyes and said goodbye to gypsy angel row, felt so right
Together we moved like spirits in the night, all night
Baby don’t know what they can do to you
Spirits in the night, all night
Stand right up and let it shoot right through you

Repetition

Hey, that’s me over at Spelk with another musically-inspired tale.

Spelk

by Graham Wynd

It was a ritual, she realised. All the little things you do to start the day, all the little steps you take that make everything normal. People liked to think that normal was just the way things were, but Julia knew that normal was made in a thousand little ways every day.

The way you counted the days until your next paycheck. The way you counted the coins in your pocket for the bus fare. The way you kept your eye on the clock so you could have everything ready when he got home. The way you moved quieter when he was hungover. The way you applied makeup to cover the bruises. The way you looked at your friends’ happy pictures and wondered if they hid as many secrets as yours did.

The face we show the world is always covered with concealer, shadows applied to shadows…

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Slovenian Double Feature

Two stories just out this month, both inspired by my travels in Slovenia. ‘These Toys Are For Tough Boys’ was the title Renato Bratkovič gave me as I was treated with great food, Lasko Noir and Alibi wine at Bar Grega and Gora pod lipo. Want a story from me? Fly me to an alpine location and give me good stuff to eat and drink. Boom! 6K story in a day.

Any takers?
‘Somewhere in Slovenia’ over at Near to the Knuckle looks at the potential problems of being unilingual in post-Brexit EU. Footie fans beware 😉 heh. Also a song by Slovenia’s premiere punk band, Res Nullius.

These Toys Are for Tough Boys

Fueled by Laško Noir and fantastic food! My crime story that includes everything from Giant Haystacks to Brian Blessed.

International Crime&Noir Literary Festival

K. A. Laity/Graham Wynd

‘But why do you want to kill him?’ Patrick tried to pay attention to the words instead of the way Simone’s low cut dress revealed her ripe breasts a little too evidently to the eye.
‘Does it matter? He has to be dealt with and I need one more in on the job.’ Simone gave him a look that made him feel both aroused and insulted. ‘Are you up for it?’
He knew what she was insinuating and he also knew that she was taking advantage of his lust for her. It had made him do stupid things before. But never killing someone. It was a big step up to go from a few shady grifts, a bit of petty larceny and the occasional minor break-ins to the ultimate crime.
Patrick had thought he could steer clear of that one. It wasn’t like they hanged a…

View original post 6,143 more words

Review: Too Many Crooks by Paul D. Brazill

too-many-crooksToo Many Crooks
Paul D. Brazill
Near to the Knuckle Novella #7

I’m pretty much an easy mark when it comes to Mr B, as you’re doubtless already aware if you’ve read my enthusiastic reviews for his other publications. But I love writers I can count on (see also Liz Hand, the Abbotts, Tess Makovesky and some others I could name but why inflate all those egos?).

Too Many Crooks hits some of the familiar territory: colourful low lifes spread across Europe from Britain to Poland and points in between, salty language, implausible schemes and cataclysmic coincidences. It also has callbacks to other tales he’s written (fun if you know them, interesting hooks if you don’t).

But there’s something more in the wild kinetic machinations: dare I say a touch of the poetic? A lot of mad laugh out loud moments — the Mad Jaffa Cake Eater, a pruney face was so lived in squatters wouldn’t stay there, a Slippery Pole — and a whole bunch of references to classic punk tunes and venerable comedies, not to mention Fall lyrics.

You’d expect no less than offhand Carry On lines and knowing music choices for every mood. There’s a lot more, too:

He was also the world’s leading authority on the Klingon language, apparently and used speaking in Klingon as part of his radical therapy. Hattie had told him she wasn’t interested and had never seen Star Wars and he’d glared at her.

“If you haven’t made a fool of yourself at least once in your life, you haven’t lived,” said Anna.
“Oh, well, if that’s true, I’ve lived more lives than a cat, then,” said McGuffin.

He watched Leslie leave the café and put up her umbrella, which flapped in the wind like a black crow.

He was hungover from a bad dream, or maybe a bad life.

The old grandfather clock had just struck thirteen.

Obviously I could go on and on. Just the audacity of naming a primary character McGuffin (snort!). Get it. You need the laughs. Because all orange clowns should be fictional.