Tom Waits has announced a new album, and he's out the gate, teeth bared and hooves ready to put a hurt on.
At least that's what "Bad As Me" sounds like; that would be the title track from the set, due Oct. 25.
It sounds like a live, one-take affair, with all sorts of warts and scars, his wily voice bending around a series of proud nightmares. It's got all the ragged edges of "Temptation" from "Frank's Wild Years" or "All the Time" squarely from the Brawlers disc of "Orphans," with that barroom hollow-body line and Waits brrr of harmonica. He also throws in a few lines of lispy speak-singing and some enthusiastic "huhs!".
The song's up for sale through all the usual digital outlets now. The 13-track album -- or 16-track, if you're getting the deluxe -- has a presale going on now on iTunes. Tracklist below.
In a YouTube video on his website, Waits makes less of an announcement about the record itself than he addresses the rapid and rabid nature of internet dissemination, and how he can't just host a traditional listening party anymore. Preceded by a few clips of other songs, he puts a kabosh on his little event early.
"It's an internet thing," he explains, acting exasperated, comparing leaks to spoiling a birthday party and to the bile of gargling raw sewage during a root canal. Always one with words, that guy.
Instead, he moves the "listening party" to the confines of a broken down old car. Frankly, I'd wait in line for that.
The post on his site says only that he reconvened with a "veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/producer Kathleen Brennan," as far as personnel is concerned.
"Like a good boxer, these songs are lean and mean, with strong hooks and tight running times. A pervasive sense of players delighting in each other’s musical company brings a feeling of loose joy even to the album’s saddest songs."
"Bad As Me" is Waits' first studio album of all-new music in seven years. No word yet on an accompanying tour.
Here is the tracklist for "Bad As Me":
2. “Raised Right Men”
3. “Talking At the Same Time”
4. “Get Lost”
5. “Face to the Highway”
6. “Pay Me”
7. “Back In the Crowd”
8. “Bad As Me”
9. “Kiss Me”
11. “Last Leaf”
12. “Hell Broke Luce”
13. “New Year’s Eve”
14. “She Stole the Blush” *
15. “Tell Me” *
16. “After You Die” *
*Deluxe Edition Only