Sweden’s Agent Side Grinder have supported Suicide, and it is the American duo’s influence that first strikes the listener of “Waiting Room,” the lead track from their new album, Jack Vegas. The chick-a-boom rhythm and dirty organ lead owe more than a little to Martin Rev’s instrumental style, even as the voice of Bill Burroughs pierces the track like a shotgun blast to the face.
This is ASG’s Americana phase, and they draw upon the beat poets and proto-electro pioneers as an escape from the walls of their own continent. Jan Myrdal once achieved fame as a Disloyal European, and ASG follow him; diving head-first into the post-war American dream. The irony is that it was only made tolerable for those who experienced it through the injection of large doses of narcotics. Seedy hotels and basement clubs were where the marks lived, and the sounds and words that crawled from them stained a trail that the decades have not erased.
The sixth studio album from ASG, Jack Vegas is named after an online casino and a line of gambling machines found in Sweden. The title track is the longest in the set, and its groove provides a structure for the whole. It’s not for the hard of thinking. As Burroughs once growled, “Open your mind and let the pictures out”
(Photos: Krichan Wihlborg)