The Flaming Stars

London After Midnight: Singles, Rarities and Bar Room Floor-Fillers 1995-2005

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London After Midnight is 42 pieces of irrefutable proof that the Flaming Stars were one of the great under-sung groups of the late '90s/early 2000s. Produced with a golden Spector in a dustbin touch by Liam Watson, Ed Deegan, and the band themselves, they trod a narrow strip between the garage rock revivalism of the Billy Childish school, the punk blues of the Jon Spencer acolytes, and the nocturnal balladry of the Tindersticks and the Bad Seeds, managing to sound both like a missing chunk of history and like no one else past or present. Picking out highlights on the two discs is an exercise in glorious futility. In other words: all killer, no filler. Seriously though, the compilation covers their career perfectly with a good mix of album tracks, singles, rarities, and songs like "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," "Cash 22," "Days Like This," and "Bring Me the Rest of Alfredo Garcia" that in a just world would have been chart-toppers and not hidden gems. They aren't hidden anymore thanks to Ace, and if your taste in rock & roll runs to whip smart tunes played with mystery and panache, you've got to check this band out. If you're already in the know, this is still an essential collection for the rarities alone.

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