From The Desk Of The Old Ceremony’s Django Haskins: Raymond Chandler

The Old Ceremony, the orchestral-pop quintet Django Haskins has led since 2004, just released its fifth album, Fairy Tales And Other Forms Of Suicide. The band’s first LP for Yep Roc is also its first to receive a vinyl pressing, as well as its first to be released in Europe. In other words, it’s the perfect time for a provocative album title. Like many of the reinvented and rejuvenated performers the band now calls label mates (such as Robyn Hitchcock, Nick Lowe, John Doe and Paul Weller), the Old Ceremony makes music unencumbered by the ever-shifting demands of new and now. Haskins will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new Old Ceremony feature.

Haskins: Early pulp-fiction writers were generally a pretty prurient, formulaic lot. A couple of steamy scenes, a sucker punch or two, some wise guy cracks, and you pretty much had the formula. But then Dashiell Hammett entered the scene with lean, fearsome prose that showed that detective noir could be more than just cheap thrills; it could be art. Following quickly on Hammett’s heels came Raymond Chandler, my favorite noir author. Chandler added a certain continental irony to the hard-edged dialogue and a poetic eye for detail that showed tough-guy fiction could be not just art, but good art. His most famous novel, The Big Sleep, pretty much set the L.A. detective formula for good. It also provided the basic plot for The Big Lebowski, which proved that the unhallowed stoner-comedy genre could also be good art, or at least endlessly quotable.

Video after the jump.

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