The Gaslamp Killer first came to my attention via his entry in the We Make It Good mix series. Head-nodding beats, dark atmosphere, unlikely rock tracks – to my delight, here was a rare example of a DJ with technical prowess, broad and excellent taste, and clearly a sense of humour. Since then I’ve become an admirer of the Low End Theory podcast, to which he regularly contributes (having residency at the infamous club which notably hosted a recent secret DJ set from the ubiquitous Thom Yorke). Even the laziest googling unearths a good number of other mixes, and I’ve yet to come across a dud.
His standout work dates back several years, though you wouldn’t know it. The mix I have had on high rotation for the past few months turns out to be his very first mix CD – Gaslamp Killers.
This is an incredibly slick, funky, warm and dirty mix that features tracks from the glory days of Warp and Mo Wax, that blends Company Flow effortlessly with Radiohead. If that sparks any interest at all you’re best off just listening to the damn thing.
Does that come off as abrupt? Lazy? I’m sorry, but the truth is that after multiple forays into music journalism over the years, I never intended to re-enter the ring. When it was first decided I’d start writing here at Demon Pigeon, I happily entertained the notion of writing about pretty much anything BUT music. Then, as I flipped through the site archives, something leapt out at me. Someone called Nina Saeidi had posted less than a year ago about the Gaslamp Killer! Or, er, Gaslamp Killers. Perhaps a review of the aforementioned, classic mix?
Apparently not. Nina doesn’t seem to know the proper name of the act, despite including a YouTube video which gets it right in the title. “Gaslamp Killers appears to be a dude”, she notes, only to muddy the issue further by linking to “their myspace” (username? thegaslampkiller, naturally).
All that would amount to nitpicking if it wasn’t for the fact that the rest of the text is the worst kind of garbage. PROTIP: Namechecking in music reviews should be minimal, and limited only to related or similar artists. Josef Fritzl does not fall into this category. Similarly, flowery language and simile is only acceptable where it helps illustrate the nature of the work. Literally never has music sounded “like seeing the life of an old lady who is about to be run over flash before her eyes before being transported into the raving mind of a murderous truck driver, who has found out that said old lady was sleeping with his wife, as he brutally reverses over aforementioned octogenarian’s twitching body”.
Nina further brutalises the spirit of both music and the written word in another piece which kicks off with the stated intention of “pissing over the drug addled journalistic genius of everyone’s favourite gun obsessed drunk that is Hunter S Thompson and attempting to write something that vaguely mirrors his writing”.
Just as referring to an infamous sadistic sex criminal does not serve to paint your subject as more ‘ardcore, explicitly drawing an unneeded comparison between your writing and that of a cult author will not have the favourable outcome you’re aiming for.
Sadly, there will be no more odes to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome on this site, as Ms. Saeidi has moved on to other pastures. For all I know, she will continue to churn out her unique blend of nonsense, hyperbole and cliche for as long as free concert tickets are sufficient incentive. Her Demon Pigeon legacy will stand as an object lesson for anyone else tempted to get into the music writing game: this is what you’ll look like if you think you can bluff knowledge of music or, for that matter, wordcraft.