Claxxon, the lament thereof

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Blackout Beach – Claxxon’s Lament

Billy liked to imagine his voice held the grit and gravitas of Christian Bale’s Batman when he talked to himself in his head.

“Let’s drive on out of this cesspool of humanity,” he thought, looking out from behind his tinted windows and shifting into third.

In the passenger seat next to him lay an old wooden baseball bat. It had a splintery chip a few inches long at the top, where blood had crusted.

“I’m a professional fucker-uper,” Billy said aloud, but quickly regretted it, since his voice was more high pitched than he liked to pretend. But it was more or less true – he freelanced for a handful of the smaller loan sharks, letting clients know their payments were overdue.

He never killed anyone, but had quickly picked up work thanks to an eight-foot orange extension chord which had ripped off a man’s ear on his first gig.

Now the chord coiled neatly underneath the spare tire in his trunk. It was waiting until Jimmy Lutz came up on his list. Jimmy had widowed Billy’s mother, Sarah.

“I shall have my revenge,” Billy thought, gravelly, “as soon as the money’s right.”

Wolf Parade – Claxxon’s Lament
Carolyn Mark – Claxton’s Lament

Claxxon’s Lament is perhaps my favorite b-side. Originally recorded in 2005 for Blackout Beach’s first album, Light Flows the Putrid Dawn, it didn’t make the cut, and was released as a 7″ on Soft Abuse.

Wolf Parade recorded a cover (with saxophone!) for The Believer Magazine, and Carolyn Mark included a version with extra lyrics and differently spelled title on her album, Just Married – An Album of Duets.

Just last year, Carey Mercer put on the only Blackout Beach live show, and recorded Claxxon’s Lament, offering the version most explicit in its heartbreak and wistfulness. Here’s what Mercer says of the show:

“This is a live record from August 2010 of the only Blackout Beach live performance, focusing on mostly tracks off of Skin of Evil, released by Soft Abuse records. I read some poems and stories. My mom did the door, and my dad was the bouncer. My friends came. It was a nice night.”

[You can buy eight tracks for three bucks on bandcamp.]

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