Las Vegas Grind and the days before quite such blatant commodification…

  • Las Vegas Grind cover-Afterhours Sleaze and DignityNow, if you’re of a younger age than my good self, it’s probably hard to imagine what the cultural landscape was like the best part of twenty years ago, particularly in regards to what has come to be known as vintage, retro and burlesque and a world where department stores sell hair dye called burlesque red (they’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworths)…

    Aside from say the more traditional side of rockabilly, there was tumble weed out there compared with modern times.

    Some of my favourite clubs for such things were often just once a month, there may well be 20 or 50 people there (but those that were, really were there)… and finding music, books and other related culture was a constant good old trawl through a scattered selection of shops, charity shops and stalls (and that’s even if you were living somewhere like central London).

    Anyway, back in those days of late night Soho shennanigans, one particular beacon were the Las Vegas Grind albums. Just the covers were enough, without having to spin the discs themselves… but if you did, well, you might well be transported to a foreign land. To quote this gent, this was music “from the garages and wiggler bars from across America”, music that ”swings, howls and growls”.

    Las Vegas Grind-Volume Four-Dan Clowes-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity

    Willie Wright & His Sparklers, Andre Williams, The Playboys, Mo’ Taters, Oooba Goooba and in particular Genteels Take It Off… what more could you need?

    Well, how about artwork from the pens and pencils of that fine capturer of vintage American desparation, sweat and faded dreams Mr Daniel Clowes?

    Or indeed covers draped with back-in-the-day burlesque bump’n'grind gal of some renown Lilli St Cyr?

    Las Vegas Grind-cover 2-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity Las Vegas Grind-Volume Four-Dan Clowes-back cover-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity

    Peruse the albums here and more of such things than you can shake a stick at via Crypt Records here.

    Visit Mr Daniel Clowes here.

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