BABY DRIVER’s Hardest Jam: the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

I’m pretty excited for Baby Driver, the new movie by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz, etc). Though I’m not the biggest Wright fan in the world, I love the lineage of crime movies that Baby is playing with – Le SamouraiThe DriverOcean’s 11, etc – and other than the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, there’s a dearth of good big-ticket movies that rely so heavily on a fun pop soundtrack.

One of the joys of those movies is discovering great new stuff, and for me, the big one from Baby Driver is the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, a band that’s somehow avoided me over the years. Although their foundation is pretty firmly in hard, Bonham-backbeat blues rock, they have a lot of really interesting progressive arrangements and experimental ideas that I’m sure readers of this website will love.

Wright first got the idea for Baby Driver while listening to the Explosion track “Bellbottoms” – which instantly made him imagine it as the basis for a car chase. But more than your usual “fast driving” music, it’s actually a really interesting song featuring some rough guitar work and “Kashmir”-style backing strings.

What I love about this band is their fusion of raw playing style with intricately designed tones and instrumental layerings. In a way, it seems to me like they paved the way in the 90’s for bands like Candiria, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Radiohead: bands who have really strong core ideas, but also incorporate subtle background additions that make their music pop.

The Explosion’s fundamental beats are so clear that these layers never draw attention to themselves. They’re not showy like 70’s prog-rock – they’re really just all about the groove.

Baby Driver comes out this weekend. The soundtrack, which also features tracks by Queen, Focus, and The Damned, can be nabbed here.

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.