Review: Low Town by Daniel Polansky

Low Town by Daniel Polansky
Low Town by Daniel Polansky

Low Town
Daniel Polansky
Doubleday, 2011

I’ve actually put off reviewing Daniel Polansky’s Low Town. Mainly so that my warm fuzzy feelings would fade some and I wouldn’t right some kind of crazy super glowing review. First off I should start by saying the UK title, The Straight Razor Cure, is way cooler than the US title. Low Town is a boring and nondescript title while The Straight Razor Cure is far more evocative of the tone Polansky is going for in the novel. You see Low Town is fantasy noir and in theme, tone, and plot is more reminiscent of a crime novel with a touch of magic. What sounds more noir to you: Low Town? Or The Straight Razor Cure?

The city of Rigus, jewel of the Thirteen Lands, is not the setting of this novel. Crouched at the feet of Rigus is the place known only as Low Town and there a man known only as The Warden makes his living selling drugs. The Warden wasn’t always a drug dealer. Once The Warden was a soldier, then he was an intelligence agent working for the shadowy Black House. Now though he walks a different path, at least right up until children start getting murdered on his turf. Dredging up unwelcome memories and unwelcome attention from his former masters the trail of bodies leads The Warden into dangerous, though familiar territories.

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Music Review: Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

Kitty Daisy and Lewis
Kitty Daisy and Lewis

Kitty Daisy and Lewis
Kitty Daisy and Lewis
Downtown, 2009 [US]

While I tend to talk more about metal and progressive music here on this blog I have, over the last several years, been fostering a growing interest in the blues.  I prefer the acoustic blues styling of Mississippi John Hurt (if you don’t own or haven’t heard Avalon Blues, do yourself a favor and do so) but the emergence of electric delta blues in the 1950s (mainly through the work of John Lee Hooker who, despite being born in Mississippi, recorded and played in the Detroit and Chicago area at the start of his career) produced some of the best music in American history.  Music whose influence can still be heard today; whether it be in contemporary blues acts or in the hard rocking tunes of bands like Black Label Society.  While discussing my interest in blues, and Chuck Berry, with a co-worker one day he mentioned a new British trio: Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis who had recorded and released an album of 50s era rock, blues, and R & B tunes.  While it took me a while to finally pick up a copy of their debut I’m certainly glad I did.

A sibling trio from the UK whose self titled debut hit US shores last year, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis recorded all tracks using analog audio equipment.  Each track, every one of them, sounds absolutely one hundred percent fantastic.  Part of that is the timeless quality that 50s American roots music seems to have and the rest is the energy and vitality that the siblings bring to the preceding.  Quite simply these kids (ages 17-21) rock.  They’re young, their myspace page even lists their parents Graeme and Ingrid as the guitarist and bassist for the group, but they are phenomenally talented and enthusiastic about music and music history.  I’m not going to do a track by track break down, check out the samples over on their myspace page as I’m of the opinion the music sells itself better then I could.  If you’re a fan of good music and American Roots music then I think you’re going to enjoy what you hear.