Byzanteen Emperors

The cuckoo strains of Wha Ha Ha have put me in the mood for yet another oddball outing, which today finds us returning to American shores…

Fans of the bewitching phenomenon known as No Wave will be no strangers to The Del-Byzanteens, downtown NY’s doyens of angular post punk, and creative home to Jim Jarmusch when he was but a young ivory-tickler.

Though taking familiar cues from funk, jazz and the Diaspora of punk, the Del boys also harboured a deep passion for 50s & 60s bubblegum pop, distending their favourite golden oldies into Giacomettian shadows of their former selves.

Aside from their almost gleefully remote version of Sally Go Round the Roses, the only other DB’s track of its kind to reach vinyl is the strange animal that earns them their place in the SBB lexicon.

My World is Empty (dropping the ‘Without You’ suffix for ambiguity’s sake) re-imagines The Supremes’ urgent hymn to a lost love as a piece of jagged existential angst that climbs the walls for air amidst Mr. Jim’s creeping keys and a pleasingly mechanical skank.

Definitely on the spikier end of the spiky dread spectrum, My World is how I imagine reggae to sound were the Smash robots programmed to play it. And what a wonderful notion that is…

(Dread Zed)

And a live version with Lounge Lizard John Lurie on sax:

And this ‘cos it’s bloody ace:

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