by Alex Harvey - £10.99 Reaktion Books (2022)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781789146639 | ISBN 10: 1789146631
Song Noir examines the formative first decade of Tom Waits’s career, when he lived, wrote and recorded nine albums in Los Angeles; from his soft, folk-inflected debut, Closing Time (1973), to the abrasive, surreal Swordfishtrombones (1983). Starting his song-writing career in the ’70s, Waits absorbed LA's wealth of cultural influences. Combining the spoken idioms of writers like Kerouac and Bukowski with jazz-blues rhythms, he explored the city’s literary and film noir traditions to create hallucinatory dreamscapes.
Waits mined a rich seam of the city’s low-life locations and characters, letting the place feed his dark imagination. Mixing the domestic with the mythic, Waits turned quotidian, autobiographical details into something more disturbing and emblematic; a vision of LA as the warped, narcotic heart of his nocturnal explorations.
(Price & availability last checked: July 2022)
Featured book: New Books - Arts, Music, Writing & Culture, New History & Biography,
In booklists: Rock, Pop and Heavy Metal, Music Memoirs and Biographies, In categories: Music & Performing Arts, History & Biography,