Track Premiere: Double Naught Spy Car + Stew

Stew DNS

It’s a virtual indie supergroup that includes Stew (Negro Problem), Paul Lacques (I See Hawks in L.A.), Joe Berardi (Fibonaccis, Stan Ridgway), Marc Doten (Shelby Lynne), Marcus Watkins (Nina Hagen).

By Blurt Staff

Today we’re talking spaghetti/jazz/prog/surf/twang instrumental quartet Double Naught Spy Car, from Los Angeles. The cats have an album titled Panorama City set to drop in early April via the 11 Foot Pole label, and the fact that we have an ace track here to premiere for the discriminating BLURT readership is merely an additional reason to cheer. Check it out, folks – it’s called “Chat Noir”:

The backstory: Double Naught Spy Car has released three CDs of original music, scored two films, and contributed to dozens of films and TV shows. There’s also a new one set for release in 2016. Yet Panorama City has languished in the archives, having been recorded years ago; Stew and his Negro Problem partner Heidi Rodewalt had moved to NYC and achieved their own success with the musical Passing Strange. But recently the other band members revisited the unreleased material and found it to be “not just fresh but wild and feral” and deemed it time to give it a proper release.

Panorama City is essentially a ten-song “distillation” of some four hours of music, the group cutting freeform tracks that ran originally 17 minutes apiece (and were cut in a marathon no-rehearsal/no-redos three day session) down into four-minute songs with verses, choruses and bridges. In addition to the CD and LP, however, there will also be Panorama City Extended Tracks available digitally and comprising the full collection of unedited tracks. They describe it as “the band on a high wire…the drama simmers and crackles in the tracks, with rapid-fire musical conversation, key changes and groove shifts that turn on a dime, and lots of laughs.”

Stew himself comments on the recording, saying, “OK, I cheated, as I had written down a few lyrical fragments that morning in a notebook which I sang from. But the best lines I promise you came to me via the spell the music cast that day in Panorama City, powered by G-d and conjured by the law firm of Lacques, Doten, Watkins and Berardi. I think the best compliment that we could be paid is by the people who don’t think it was all totally improvised. But it was. No stops and starts, no overdubs, no previously agreed upon anything. It’s a very Californian vibe, a nice combo of trust and confidence, old-heads, new strings, and damaged musical psyches with enough pop sensibility still left in their Don Kirshnerized-Aylerian DNA to party, a deeply satanic-Buddhist mushroom cult that exists only as long as the record button is depressed but seeking help. We let this music sorta hang out on a shelf for way too long and yet it seems like now is the perfect time to listen to it … from a safe distance. Releasing records is the best revenge and our mad way of loving you.”

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