Memphis, TN indie rock band. In the early nineties, helped spawn the Memphis underground scene along with Sherman Willmott, owner of Shangri-La Records. Friends and darlings of the national indie scene.

The Grifters formed in 1988 as A Band Named Bud; renamed themselves after the Jim Thompson classic noir novel in 1990. Convinced local record store owner Willmott to start releasing their records in 1992, thus starting the record label side of Shangri-La. In 1996 signed to Sub Pop; after 2 more albums, the band was somewhat forgotten about as members worked on various side projects. Got back together + started practicing and playing shows in 2000.

Band Members (instrument, side project):

The Grifters sound is hard to describe, but fairly distinctive. Maybe Guided By Voices with less garage and more fun twisted guitars. For some reason, I always thought that the Grifters belonged on one of Chicago's dirty rock labels. My favorite album of theirs is Ain't My Lookout, their first on Sub Pop (with artwork by Jim Woodring of Frank fame). But I'm probably in the minority there; most Grifters fans think most highly of their Shangri-La work.

Albums and other non-singles:
Dad cassette (Doink, 1988)
So Happy Together (Sonic Noise, 1992)
One Sock Missing (Shangri-la, 1993)
Crappin' You Negative (Shangri-la, 1994)
Eureka EP (Shangri-la, 1995)
Ain't My Lookout (Shangri-la / Sub Pop, 1996)
Disfigurehead / Kingdom of Jones 10" reissue (Shangri-la, 1997)
Full Blown Possession (Sub Pop, 1997)

Singles and Compilations:
"Shark" 7" split w/ The Martini Age (Kreature Comforts, 1989)
Disfigurehead 7" (Doink, 1989)
Kingdom of Jones 7" (Doink, 1990)
"Soda Pop" 7" (Shangri-la, 1992)
"Corolla Hoist" 7" (Shangri-la, 1992)
"Holmes" 7" (Darla, 1993)
"Under the Ground" 7" split w/ Crain (Simple Machines, 1993)
"Spaceship" A Day in the Park comp. (Now Sounds, 1993)
"Make It Happen (Felt-tipped Over)" Ten Cent Fix comp. (Jiffy Boy, 1993)
"Bronze Cast" 7" (Shangri-la, 1994)
"Black Fuel Incinerator" Why Do You Think They Call It Pop (Pop Narcotic, 1994)
"Look What You've Done To Me Now" Smitten comp. (Karate, 1994)
"I'm Drunk" 7" split w/ Guided by Voices (Now Sounds, 1994)
"Queen of the Tablewaters" 7" (Sub Pop, 1994)
"The Want" Half-Cocked Soundtrack (Matador, 1995)
"Stream" 7" (Derivative, 1995)
"Empty Yard" Red Hot + Bothered Comp., (Kinetic, 1995)
"Last Man Alive" 7" (Sub Pop UK, February 1996)
"Dildozer" 7" split w/ Fluffy Kitty (1996)
"Slipknot" 7" (Super 8, 1996)
"Wicked Thing" 7" (Sub Pop, 1997) "Radio City Suicide" Chicago Cab Soundtrack (Loosegroove Records, 1997)
"Corolla Hoist (live)" split 7" with Guided by Voices + Heartworms + Sone (Darla / Magnet, 1997 )

The Grifters is first and foremost the novel by Jim Thompson. It's also a film directed by Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Van, Mary Reilly, Dangerous Liaisons) starring Angelica Huston, John Cusack and Annette Benning. At first, it's a clever story about the lives of two con-artists, or grifters, Roy (Cusack), and his mother (Huston).But it ends up being more about their confusted and uncomfortable relationship. The book (like most Thompson) is a Roman-Noir, and the film retains its qualities very well. It's also quite educational as far as the way of the grift is concerned. And Thompson's bad guys are always so compelling: You don't know whether to feel pissed off at Roy or sorry for him. Either way, it is easy for any child of a dysfunctional family to relate to Roy's fucked up relationship with his mother. A good film and a great book.

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