Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recently Played: The Renegades

I shoulda posted this a couple weeks ago, when Aki Kaurismaki's terrific new film Light in the Dusk was still screening in Seattle. (Missed it? Not to worry - you can already rent it at Scarecrow Video.) The Renegades' music features prominently in almost all of Kaurismaki's droll comedies. In the new one, he steps outside of the Renegades catalog, but if I'm not mistaken, this song appears on the soundtrack, perhaps for old times' sake:

The Renegades – My Heart Must Do The Crying

The Renegades were one of the all-but-forgotten also-rans of 60s British rock and roll. In 1965(?), the Birmingham group scored a respectable hit in the UK with “Cadillac,” which seems to be a reworking of a Vince Taylor song. Sadly, the kind of fame enjoyed by the Beatles, the Stones, or the Kinks would ultimately allude them least in Britain. Italy, on the other hand, took a real shine to them and, for whatever reason, Finland adopted them as their most beloved rock band of all time. The Finnish fan base was so devoted, in fact, that some members of the band eventually relocated to Helsinki permanently. Kaurismaki, if you hadn't pieced it together, is from Finland, and his films are gloriously steeped in a particular kind of “outsider nostalgia” that the Renegades sit comfortably at the center of. Their music isn't too easy to come by these days, so here are a few more of their songs, which can be heard in other great Kaurismaki films, and in almost every mixtape I've made in the past five years.

The Renegades – Cadillac
The Renegades – Do The Shake
The Renegades – If I Had Someone To Dream Of

And yes, the Clash are indeed paying homage to “Cadillac” on London Calling.

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