September 25 — “Turnstile Blues” by Autolux


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Turnstile Blues” by Autolux (2004, from the album Future Perfect).

Autolux is a noise-pop trio from Los Angeles who have been active since 2000. The front of the band is Greg Edwards, who used to be in the LA grunge band Failure. Their drummer Carla Azar is a frequent collaborator with Jack White, and is a member of his touring band — The Peacocks.

In 2004, Autolux released their debut album Future Perfect on DMZ Records, which was a short-lived Sony sub-label founded by legendary producer T-Bone Burnett and indie film directing giants Joel and Ethan Coen. It’s an album that they spent two years making, and it almost never happened. Azar fell from the stage when Autolux was playing an opening gig for Elvis Costello in 2002. Her elbow was shattered, and so messed up that doctors told her that she wouldn’t be able to play drums again. She underwent experimental surgery and made a full recovery.

Future Perfect was a critical success, so when DMZ went under, they had no problem finding a new label. Actually, they found a new deal on a different Sony sub-label.

This is another band who I learned about from a former coworker back in about 2007. That guy was really into Failure, so he was all over Autolux as well. It was one of those things where after hearing 30 seconds, I knew that I needed to get my own copy of Future Perfect. Today’s song is the first song from Future Perfect, and you’ll see what I mean after ten seconds.

I honestly thought that I had already published a post about Autolux. I actually had to double- and triple-check behind my interns, who suggested that I post about them today. So here’s the reason that I started liking Autolux. This is that song.

“Turnstile Blues” by Autolux

Those thick, heavy drums. Holy cow! That’s the hook that got me. As it turns out, the rest of the song is just as fantastic. People have often called that drum line “Bonham-esque”, and I can certainly see why.

It’s not often that a song makes me want to shake my booty. I don’t dance. Not at bar mitzvahs, not at weddings, not with a fox, not in a box. I jut don’t dance. However, when I’m in my kitchen doing the washing up and this song is playing, I can’t help but get funky with it. At least while there’s a guarantee that nobody is watching. And it’s all about the drumming.

I love the shoegaze break from 0:57 to 1:17 when it’s all fuzz and feedback and distortion and just a wave of noise. It never comes back to that, and that’s one of the things that makes it so great.

I kind of wish that the song would end the same way it started: with a burst of drums. Specifically, I wish that it ended on a snare hit. I wish that it didn’t have the fade out. I wish that it didn’t have the fuzzy guitar feedback. I just want bookends. It doesn’t stop it from being a great song, though.

By the way, I lied earlier when I referenced my interns. I don’t have interns. I don’t even have a dog. It’s just me.

For extra credit, check out the official video:

Although the original issue of Future Perfect fell out of print when DMZ folded, the band re-issued it themselves and you can get a copy here if you live in the US or Canada, or here if you live elsewhere

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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