I used to have an elaborately curated and sequenced iPod playlist that I labelled “Night Town,” and it featured something like four hundred songs from across many genres and eras that…uh, sounded really great late at night. I listened to the playlist mostly when I was traveling home from somewhere late at night. It wasn’t all slow and quiet songs, and it wasn’t all ambient and vibe-y or anything like that. A lot of it rocked, some of it was pretty, and a lot of it had some kind of groove. It all made intuitive sense to me, at least, and I’m sure it would make sense to you if I recreated some stretch of it from memory and shared it with you. It’s a feeling, a resonance, and maybe something tied to memory, as a lot of it came from the 70s and 80s and those sounds formed my childhood. I can say without question that the sort of songs I put on that playlist are among the most evocative and moving pieces of music I know, and I wish that when people ask me what kind of music I like most, I could just say “well…up-tempo pop, cryptic rock, and stuff that would be on my old “Night Town” playlist.” It’s true, but no one would get it.
King Krule’s small but intensely amazing body of work is as “Night Town” as it gets. There are elements of his music that remind me of the Clash - not just his Joe Strummer-esque voice, but that goes a long way - and the Clash is a band that only ever sounds right late at night. Krule goes further with that, giving everything a sort of loose, vaguely impromptu vibe and leaving a lot of space in the music for notes to hang in the air, a bit the way sounds seem more slow and still when streets are empty and there’s not so much light to distract your senses. “Rock Bottom” isn’t quite as bleakly romantic as the cuts from his first EP last year, but the mood is just as potent - more confrontational, a bit more jagged, and the structure meanders a little. He says so much with just the sound of his rasp, I can sometimes forget he’s actually singing words.
Attempt to buy it from Rinse.