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Early Warning

The Gun Club

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Album Review

Just like a classic noir crime novel, L.A.'s Gun Club absorbed and spit out the glitz, glamour, filth, and blood of the city's underbelly, and crafted it into something beautiful and haunting. Early Warning, a double-disc set comprising demo tracks, live cuts, and Jeffrey Lee Pierce's home acoustic recordings, is a magnificently assembled bound, riveted, limited edition booklet (with jackets for both discs) filled with extensive liner notes and photos. In their heyday — as represented on this collection, the Gun Club were an amalgam of Delta blues, rockabilly, and punk sung with degenerate earnestness by the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce, who died in 1996 from a stroke, the final effect of decades of hard, reckless living. As evidenced on disc one, the Gun Club read the blues in a raw, visceral, twisted punk rock manner, but still maintained the integrity of the original form. Disc two is a portrait of Pierce alone with his guitar, stitching together a quilt of desperation, loneliness, drug addiction, sex, death, and life on the American road.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Tribal psychobilly blues is the best way to describe the Gun Club's energetic death rock, but the band's career seemed doomed from the get-go due to leader Jeffrey Lee Pierce's reputation as an unreliable wildman, and well-publicized bouts of drunkenness dogged him throughout his career. Formed in Los Angeles in the early '80s, the band was vaguely aligned with similarly roots-inspired groups like X and the Blasters, but later picked up and relocated to the Lower East Side, resting more comfortably...
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