#243: 2002, The Distillers, City of Angels

by Jackie_South on July 31, 2011

Time to turn the volume up to 11 for LA band The Distillers’ trashing of their home city.

I’m a great lover of the States, but Los Angeles is one of my least favourite cities.  To me, its a smoggy 100 mile long sprawl with little to redeem it. On my first visit, I thought of it as a Birmingham with more sun but less charisma; with Brum’s renaissance in recent years this judgement no longer holds.  LA’s a city with no real heart and, as a consequence, little real soul. 

In my humble opinion, you have to hate a city that has surrendered so much to the car, where you are viewed with suspicion for walking anywhere outside its scattered centres. Or, in Dalles’ words “Stripped of the right to be a human in control/ It’s warmer in hell so down we go“.

The Distillers seem to share some of my view, as they thrash through at breakneck speed:
So here we are Los Angeles
No angels singing in your valley of unease
I watch the sun roll down the pacific
Over hookered sunset strip

Brody Dalle’s vocals on it must have stretched her vocal chords to their very limit: to have got a voice this gravelly by the tender age of 23 she must have been pouring whiskey on her cornflakes since primary school.  “Dionysian night vitriolic twilight” is as much a description of her voice as her city.  But the chorus

“They say this is the city
The city of angels
All I see is dead wings”

sums up LA for me as well as anything.

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