Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MYSTERY SLANG (Latif Gardez)

"latif gardez this elegant dandy, this spiritual son of the beatniks poet has a deep hoarse voice . listening this brillant and dark album you will think of tom waits, captain beefheart."

"Probably the most striking thing about Latif Gardez is that he is an individual. He is not part of any current trend, or fashion (not even any anti-fashion!); nor does he seem to be manipulated by the desire to maintain any set image."

"Latif Gardez at his magical best, dark and dangerous"

Pop, Rock
Alternative Rock, Avantgarde

Latif Gardez (ex-Gardez Darkx)


Latif Gardez - Vocals and Guitar
Chris Musto ( - Mystery Slang Drums
Paul Mcwhinnie (ex-Treatment, see: and The Harrison Fjord, see: - Hammond Organ, Piano and Keyboards
Mark Tayler - Bass
Produced by Latif Gardez
Engineered by Nigel Gilroy Recorded at Jam Studios
Mixed at The Workhouse by Latif Gardez and Nigel Gilroy (
Mastered by The Townhouse. Tape op: Joe Capriani
Photographs of Mystery Slang taken by Sheila Rock
Design - Valerie Hawthorn and Steve Byrne (also worked for Peter hamill and David Bowie etc.)
All Lyrics written by Latif Gardez, except
Written by John Lee Hooker, Arr. L. Gardez (track 04) /L. Gardez/C. Musto/S. Kennedy (track 06)


01 They All Run Like Numbers
02 Seven In A Ditch
03 Eddies Dance
04 I'm Mad At You
05 Along The Midway
06 Blind Joe
07 The Dark Archer
08 Billy Hit The Ten Ball
09 Babael Towers
10 The Golden Cross

Link to download:

"Lets start with some basics first, like Mystery Slang is not a 'they' it's a 'he'. Latif Gardez was born of a Scottish mother and an Italian journalist father. It was a distinctly creative, distinctly volatile upbringing.Latif has spent a lot of time drifting around the country going from job to job, town to town, hanging around in bands, teaching himself to play and devouring books, catching up on a lost education. He has immersed himself in the words of Rimbaud, Conrad, Samuel R Delaney, Baudelaire, Bukowski and T S Eliot…. the 'Blue Period' music of Scott Walker, Miles Davies and Sinatra.He moved to Bristol for a long period and released two singles, one for New Bristol Records and another for Wavelength Records.

After a time...Latif moved back to London where he found himself stepping into the vacated shoes of King Triggers vocalist but soon found that the bands desperate repertoire was pulling them into two halves with Gardez' natural inclination towards the darker, more intense side rather than the pop that King Trigger had hitherto been involved with. The end was inevitably more or less in sight.Latif spent a few years wandering around Soho. As his personal life hit a downward spiral, Mystery Slang was born. He found himself staying at a flophouse in Westbourne Grove called The Venus Hotel where his fellow hostellers were all shades of dodgy. The six months he spent there later became the main source of inspiration for the first album 'Venus Grove'."
The album 'Venus Grove' was a critical success and Latif went back to the studio to write and record the follow up. Regrettably, contractual problems occurred with Virgin and Latif moved on with the second album in hand."

"Pleasant, threatening, scary and nevertheless relaxing. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe the music of Mystery Slang. It may sound like a strange combination, when listening to songs such as They all ran like numbers and Eddie’s dance, there just isn’t a better way to describe it. Musically Mystery Slang sounds very unloaded and relaxed, like a blues band can also create very relaxing music. But beneath the musical level, there’s a never ending threat. Think back to The Doors, but especially think back to the early Nick Cave and The Birthday Party. For the same insane and fierce threat Nick Cave used in his music in the 80’s can be found at this album. Although there’s one big difference, Nick Cave loves to let his music get out of control and Mystery Slang is always in control. That’s what’s giving this album a indefinable class and it’s making the music fragile. All the credits for that result should go to Latif Gardez, an Italian man with Scottish blood, who moved to London long ago. Gardez is Myster Slang. And Venus Grove is the album Mystery Slang released in 1992. The album didn’t brought a big success to Gardez, but perhaps that’s because there wasn’t much interest for post-punk and indefinable indie bands in the early nineties. Venus grove did however survived all these years and is finally released on compact disc. Very properly, for this music is just to good to be forgotten."


Latif Gardez - Guitars, Harmonica, Bass, Vocals
Paul McWhinnie - Piano, Organ, Keyboards
Mark Tayler - Bass
Stephen Case - Drums, Percussion.
Shola ( - Backing Vocals
Mixed and engineered by Latif Gardez and Nigel Gilroy (
Assistant Engineers are Bernhard Speyer, Oggi, Pete.
Design and Photgraphy - Valery Hawthorn
Assistant - Paul Macinella.
Mastered by Tim Young at the Hit Factory
All Lyrics written by Latif Gardez

Recorderd at the Farmhouse Studios and Jacob Studios


01 Off Them Metal Walls
02 Stranded Man
03 Cooler Girl (Blues)
04 You're A Fury
05 Shakers Inn
06 The Bears Run
07 Last Call
08 Calling Shelter
09 Lonesome pride

Link to download:

The second album was released in certain territories in Europe to yet again huge critical acclaim, however, Latifs' personal life hit rock bottom and Mystery Slang was put on hold until…. Sugar Shack Records UK have released the second album. Two of the original tracks have been replaced and it is issued under the working title 'Purple The Sails'...

"Weirdness sells on a good day, Mystery Slang, a man with a vision hatched in a booze bottle and given flight in a lot of bad dreams. 'Purple The Sails' reveals someone with one ear tuned into Tom Waits electric blues, the other to the Doors and dayglo rock. The strength of this set of songs is the uncluttered spaciousness of the arrangements set against a spoken narrative lyric. The album was originally released in Europe in 1992 under the working title of 'River Towns'. It has now been repackaged with two additional tracks as 'Purple The Sails'."

"Mystery Slang with Latif Gardez is a band full of relaxing sounds. The style is mostly compared with Nick Cave, But it is even better. Smooth, ever-repeating bluesy sounds appear with a warm story-telling voice. Like a lonesome cowboy in a bar in a corrupted and dark city. Like no one to love is no one to hate. Latif Gardez understands. One of the most interesting parts of Mystery Slang's music is that Latif Gardez speaks about harsh feelings, like 'you been set on by a cooler girl, your knees shake so hard they could play Danny Boy, your hands trembling over a jar at noon......
Both Mystery Slang CD's (River Towns and Venus Groove) are one of my most personal albums. I've got two of each of them...just for sure in my safe...
Critical as I am, I would give it a 9.5 on a scale from 1 to 10."

"Where is Latif Gardez today? This album along with the other Mystery Slang masterpeice 'Venus Grove' rate as two of the best albums of the 90's. Kind of Tom Waits'ish but with a number of other influences and the coolest lyrics ever. If you are lucky enough to find a Mystery Slang album BUY IT!"

"Together with the other album 'Venus Grove' Latif Gardez did produce two real masterpieces. The style of Gardez's music is mostly compared to Tom Waits, The Doors and Nick Cave, but is often described as 'Dayglow Rock' Gardez is an illusionist with lots of bluesy influences, dark lyrics, smooth guitars and a deep and dark voice. Listening to some songs on River Towns, like 'Last Call', 'Shakers Inn' and 'You're a Fury' I think I might be lucky having this album. Just perfect for losing your stress after todays work. If you find this album, don't hesitate, buy it!!!"

Venus Grove (1991)
River Towns (1992)
Purple The Sails (1992 alter version of River Towns-two tracks have been replaced)

The life of Latif Gardez remains a mystery. There is not much we can know about him. He was in several bands all around the UK before formed Gardez Darkx in the late 70's. Gardez was the leader and wrote all of their songs. The band released two singles titled: "Bliss/Winter Scene" and "Freeze (In The U.L. Zone) / Heartbeat". The single Bliss remains an indie classic.
You can download them and read a lot about it here!:

and also lot more here:

After the split of Gardez Darks "Latif moved to London and signed with EMI and later Virgin, he recorded and released two albums under the name Mystery Slang." Ok it was in the late 80's, early 90's. But what happened between 1980 and 1990??? And after 1992??

If you know the answers, please message me!

Recommendation. If you like Mystery Slang try also:
Jimmy Pettit - Vegas Hotel (2009)(
Dave Graney & The Coral Snakes - Night of the Wolverine (1993)

More info:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just listening to the first album. This is amazingly good for around 1990, a period that I completely dislike in indie music. Some of the songs are fantastic (others too conventional blues rock to my taste), there is great guitar work and a crisp, lean production that sounds like 1983. The voice is an acquired taste - in some songs I cannot bear it (just like I cannot bear Tom Waits in total). But if you listen closely, you will discover some songs that are worth keeping. Thanks for sharing!

Come on, people, comment -- appreciate the great work of Saltyka and his friends!

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Gijs Nijhof said...

What's wrong with creating music for particular taste? There's nothing better then creating something that is close to who you are and what you do. That's my opinion.

1:04 PM  

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