Swordfishtrombones is a 1983 album by the master of experimental music, Tom Waits, the first in his critically acclaimed Rain Dogs Trilogy. Waits's first self-produced album, Swordfishtrombones marks an enormous departure from his previous body of work. Gone are the sentimental piano ballads and smoky-room jazz pieces, replaced by the bang and clatter of improvised percussion and a host of strange, obscure instruments.
Beginning with the Sinister horns and screaming chorus of "Underground," Swordfishtrombones grabs you with its unsettling collection of orphaned sounds, not letting go until the final, eerily beautiful piano piece, "Rainbirds."
Songs of note include the excellent title track, the nostalgic "In The Neighborhood," and the hilariously arranged lounge piece "Frank's Wild Years," which details a man's abrupt and twisted rejection of his average, suburban life.
One of Tom Waits's seminal works, Swordfishtrombones is merely his first foray in a multitude of insane musical experiments, each getting progressively weirder and more depraved. Waits's haunting melodies have been a staple in my life since I first heard this album.
A definite must-listen.