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‘Beehive’: A new video from Mark Lanegan
04.19.2017
11:28 am
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Former Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age singer Mark Lanegan is on the cusp of releasing Gargoyle, his tenth solo album in almost 30 years, and it’s a good’un. It features, as always, Lanegan’s smoky, whiskey-soaked baritone singing voice (if you’re unfamiliar, imagining a more soulful Leonard Cohen puts you in the ballpark), and it continues his ongoing explorations of synth music, which can be pretty jarring to Screaming Trees fans who haven’t kept up with him. But they’re not terribly new—his 2014 Phantom Radio veered in that direction, and examples of his voice accompanying electronics go back at least ten years; most notably, in the ‘oughts, he collaborated on the song “Black River” with Bomb the Bass (there’s a fantastic Gui Boratto remix of that, by the way) and on Soulsavers’ extremely cool trip-hop/gospel album It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land.

Gargoyle is credited to The Mark Lanegan Band, but most of the music was composed by Rob Marshall of Exit Calm and Humanist. The rest is by Queens of the Stone Age’s Alain Johannes, an actual mainstay of Lanegan’s band. The different composition styles don’t prevent the album from cohering; its musical dichotomies are matched by lyrical ones. Lanegan’s themes here are heavily adorned with angels and demons, the Devil and God (there’s a passage in the LP’s closer “Old Swan” that could have come straight from a praise song, and the album is being released by Heavenly Recordings).

The album won’t be out until April 28th, but a couple of songs are available—both Lanegan/Marshall compositions. The straight-up gothy “Nocturne” was released online back in February, and the more uptempo “Beehive” is represented by a new video, a sad and charming little vampire love story by Zhang and Knight. The song features guitar contributions from Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli, and it’s Dangerous Minds’ privilege to premiere the video for you today, right after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Kretsch
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04.19.2017
11:28 am
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Kurt Cobain and Mark Lanegan’s short-lived Leadbelly tribute band
11.25.2014
10:11 am
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Before either of their bands achieved major national prominence, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain were briefly members of a tribute band honoring the great blues artist Leadbelly. The band, called “The Jury,” was ill-documented, but it’s been mentioned in passing in numerous articles, like this one in the old Seattle music mag The Rocket.

That’s also how he [Lanegan] describes the events that led to his two highly-acclaimed solo albums on Sub Pop. He says the solo records came out of some work he was doing with his close friend Kurt Cobain, and that he felt it was pretentious to release a solo album. “It happened because Kurt and I were going to do this thing—with Krist Novoselic and Mark Pickerel—of Leadbelly covers. And that just kind of fell apart. But Pickerel and Jonathan Poneman kind of dreamt up the idea of doing the solo thing. I had some demos that I’d been working on and a bunch of demos I’d done with Kurt, that I never really gave him credit for.”

Those demos were recorded with Skin Yard guitarist Jack Endino, then and still the go-to producer in Seattle for heavy rock, during two sessions in August of 1989.
 

 
Easily the best-known expression of Lanegan and Cobain’s Leadbelly fandom was Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged version of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” a/k/a “In the Pines.” If you were breathing, sentient, and reasonably conscious in 1994, you saw the footage of that performance about twelve million times in the months following Cobain’s suicide, but Cobain had previously recorded that song with the Jury, and it was released on Mark Lanegan’s 1990 solo debut, The Winding Sheet. Cobain appears here on guitar, and shares vocals with Lanegan, though it’s Lanegan’s voice that dominates. It’s much more stylized and menacing than Nirvana’s more organic Unplugged take on the song—and one of the doomiest versions of that much-recorded old song there is.
 

 
Other recordings of the Jury that have surfaced are an instrumental version of “Grey Goose,” a solo acoustic Cobain performance of “They Hung Him on a Cross,” and a full band version of “Ain’t It a Shame to Go Fishin’ on a Sunday.” They turned up on the completist’s goldmine 2004 Nirvana boxed set With The Lights Out, the last one’s title truncated to “Ain’t it a Shame.” Cobain is out in front on that one. Some Internet sources have it that Lanegan played guitar on this, but as far as I can tell that credit is absent from the release, and I’m unaware of Lanegan playing any instrument. When you have a singing voice like his, who needs to?
 

 
Happy 50th birthday to Mark Lanegan! Also, happy birthday and bottomless gratitude to Beth Piwkowski, whose idea this post was.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Cheer up with your very own Mark Lanegan bobblehead
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push ‘In Utero’ anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.25.2014
10:11 am
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Cheer up with your very own Mark Lanegan bobblehead
02.27.2014
09:11 am
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Mark Lanegan
 
Maybe I’m missing something, but a Mark Lanegan bobblehead? It’s either the product of sheer misguided cluelessness or a wicked joke on the part of the dark, bluesy crooner, whose most notable accomplishments bear jolly titles like Whiskey for the Holy Ghost and Blues Funeral. I’m going to opt for the latter—those Seattle types always did see merchandising as an opportunity for a savvy jape.

The workmanship on this beauty demands to be admired, right down to the smoky treat smoldering away in Lanegan’s right hand, on which every last blessed star tattoo is recreated in loving detail. For reasons obvious to Lanegan fans, the words “The Night Porter” are etched into the crimson base. Legend has it that if you stare into Lanegan’s beady eyes, you can faintly hear the howling of a wounded jackal…..

At a mere $25 on Lanegan’s website, this bobblehead doll is priced to move. Get one for your mantelpiece!

Meanwhile, enjoy Lanegan on the German TV show Rockpalast with the Twilight Singers. The two songs are “Live with Me” and the number he is probably most associated with, Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”
 

 
Thanks Karen Wegryn!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Two months into 2012 and Mark Lanegan’s new album is contender for best of the year
Mark Lanegan live in France: ‘The Gravedigger’s Song’

Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.27.2014
09:11 am
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Mark Lanegan live in France: ‘The Gravedigger’s Song’
04.09.2012
04:50 pm
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I’ve already made my case here on DM for Mark Lanegan’s latest album Blues Funeral as being one of the best of 2012. Nothing in the past couple of months has turned my head on this one. I doubt any music released in the next eight months will topple it from my number one position. We will see.

Here’s The Mark Lanegan Band doing a smoldering version of “The Gravedigger’s Song” in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, France this past February.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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04.09.2012
04:50 pm
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Screaming Trees in concert: 30 minutes of rock and roll goodness
03.02.2012
03:39 pm
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I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to Mark Lanegan’s terrific new album Blues Funeral and it got me to thinking about Langegan’s first group, the under-appreciated Screaming Trees, and what a fine fine band they were. Thoughts led to looking around the Internet and lo and behold I came across this high quality video of The Trees with Josh Homme performing live in Germany in 1996.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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03.02.2012
03:39 pm
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Two months into 2012 and Mark Lanegan’s new album is contender for best of the year
02.07.2012
04:21 am
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It is always a pleasant surprise and a bit of a WTF? when I discover a musician or band that I should have discovered sooner than I do. In the case of Mark Lanegan, I’m particularly confounded that I missed the boat on this cat. With a pedigree that includes being a founding member of Screaming Trees, a tenure with Queens Of The Stone Age and collaborating with Belle And Sebastian’s Isobell Campbell as well as releasing a half dozen solo albums of his own, Lanegan is someone I should have been aware of. Well, better late than never.

As I type this, I’m listening to Lanegan’s new release Blues Funeral and I’m feeling the kind of rush that has become rarer and rarer for me when it comes to rock and roll, that moment when my cells start humming like a tuning fork struck by the hand of God.

The title Blues Funeral evokes something that the album really doesn’t deliver, thankfully. This is not a blues album and it certainly ain’t funereal. There may be a bit of New Orleans’ voodoo in the mix, but mostly the album radiates an expansive melancholy and dark mysticism that reminds me of Nick Cave, Jackie Leven, Peter Murphy, Scott Walker, Daniel Lanois and P.J. Harvey. And those are just reference points. Lanegan is his own beast and deserves to be approached on his own turf. But if any of the musicians I just mentioned float your boat, expect to set sail on the surge of Lanegan’s beautiful wake.
 


Blues Funeral in full is streaming here.

Posted by Marc Campbell
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02.07.2012
04:21 am
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