The Art of Noizz
Art Gray Noizz Quintet - Art Gray Noizz Quintet (Bang! Records)
Bliss., Mr Barman. No duff tracks, kids. Classic tuff rock'n'roll.
It's been a while since I last saw Stu Spasm on stage (in Adelaide). I used to see him in bands like The Bad Poets and The Brats - he lifted both s into another game entirely. These days Spasm lives in New York and has carved out a following in the USA. From rock ‘n’ roll outlaw - which he always was - to something like a terrifying troll beneath a bridge, Spasm's later work has come to the attention of most of you, and if it hasn't, it's time it did.
The outfit consists of Skeleton Boy (from Woman) on two-string bass; Andrea Sicco (Twin Guns) on gittar; Bloody Rich Hutchins (Live Skull) on drums, with further depredations by Nikki D'Agostino and Nicholas John Stevens. Recorded and mixed by Martin Bisi, Bloody Rich, the Quintet and Michael Jung.
Enough history, what're they like?
Sublime, ugly, stupid, beautiful, big. Interestingly, there's a lot of understated humour going on here - not that that matters particularly when the LP's opener, "A Call to You" grabs you by the short and curlies and yanks you round the room while a 1950s flying saucer film squiggles and squeals away in the background. What's really, really impressive is how fucking sophisticated, acid, rough, and gentle this all is.
Oh yes. The Art Gray Noizz Quintet are best appreciated L O U D.
I'll say this - we're not talking grunge or noise-rock or swamp. Sure, there are elements of those there. But hey, this is an old Adelaide boy here. Frankly, Art Gray Noizz Quintet reminds me of many of the riotous bands this city has disgorged. "Life of Crime" is another stone-cold gripping monster of a song. You'll recognise a few tropes. But ... doesn't matter. All that matters is that you're taken away. The effect is immediate, it's as if r'n'r is here again at ground zero.
"Lie Come True" - ha, reminds me a little of Salamander Jim. But the structures are so ... big, so ripping. I love the sax, the battering the percussion and drums put us through. The clever guitar. The black humour embedded like pins in your eyeballs. Oh, and Skeletonboy's solid cabalistic bass lines.
I won't go over track by track. They're all damn good. "Won't Say It To My Face" is so very very New York - think the attitudes behind the original Cramps or the R***nes (no, the song sounds nothing like them really) but it's so ... vulnerable, dangerous, cynical, special, funny but not ha-ha.
A hell of an achievement. So knowing, I can't work out if Spasm's laughing at himself or the cosmic joke or us all or ... and that 1950s flying saucer wibble just works so well it shouldn't be allowed.
I'll only give you one quote - from "Calling All Cars": 'We got him by the neck/ He was selling cigarettes/ You can't sell cigarettes/ Not in New York/ Not if you're black' ...
Yeah, alright. If you say you love rock'n'roll, you need this in your collection. Even if you like to say you hate it, if you put on "The Art Gray Noizz Quintet" when it's late and you want to clear out the revellers ... the party will revive, and then get better, clothes will be shed, drugs will be delivered gratis by Trump's dealer, the cops will arrive and join in, the neighbours will pack their bags and leave for granmaw's place in Okeedokee Swamp, and then ... an Elvis/Link Wray monster will rise from the sewer and grab you by the balls.
If, of course, it hasn't already.
Just buy it here.
Oh, Bang! Records have apparently sold out. Over to Discogs with you - either that or badger them to repress.