GUN CLUB, THE: The Las Vegas Story: LP

When The Las Vegas Story came out in 1984, The Gun Club, in many ways, was at the epicenter of the second wave of L.A. punk (and taking big strides away from hardcore). Terry Graham and Patricia Morrison had come over from The Bags, Kid Congo Powers was the American Ramones Fan Club president. All three congealed around the aching artistic shaman/savant Jeffrey Lee Pierce. The Gun Club’s sound was the convergence of two camps—the straight-up, rough-pommel roots rock’n’roll boot stomp of The Blasters and X, while in league with Top Jimmy And the Rhythm Pigs. The other camp was a band in and of themselves. The Cramps. Less openly manic, The Gun Club play a dervishing, dazzling, haunted, desert-swamp wooziness. This long player is filled with dust, blood, and broken things (lives and futures and luck) lovingly considered. Along with Miami and Fire of Love, many longtime fans consider The Las Vegas Story the three filthy jewels in The Gun Club’s crown of achievement. From start to finish on this record, there’s a shambolic, graceful power in the playing. It’s somehow both primeval and post-apocalyptic; both opulent and sparse; both degenerate and transcendent. At the end of the record, careful listeners’ hands will be blacked from feeding coins into slot machines, their clothes will reek of retirees’ second-hand smoke. They’ll be heat-baked, wizened, with less money, but somehow a little bit richer. There’s a lot of life experience waiting to be released in these grooves of vinyl. A welcome reissue.

 –todd (Drastic Plastic)