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‘Beehive’: A new video from Mark Lanegan

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…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Slayer, Pixies, Garbage, Insane Clown Posse and more, interviewed by 7th graders

Interviews with musicians can be really, really boring. It’s not a defect of the artists or the interviewers, it’s just that their content is so damned predictable because the occasion for an interview is the same most of the time—a new release and/or a tour. The newest album is always “the best we’ve done yet,” and everyone’s invariably “really excited” for the upcoming tour. NO KIDDING. Artists tend to favor their newest work, and even when they know it pales, they’re often obligated by label and PR contracts to hump it for the media. Plus, artists spend all day on the phone with interviewers, repeatedly answering the same questions. That’s got to be a brain-meltingly tedious chore, so moments of refreshing insight can be rare. So I was delighted to get hipped to the untrammeled awesomeness of Kids Interview Bands.

Kids Interview Bands is a video interview series hosted by 7th graders Olivia and Connie.

The site launched in August 2012 and the girls have done over 100 interviews with touring bands passing through the Columbus, Ohio area including some of their favorites (Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, Phillip Phillips, Walk the Moon, Tegan & Sara, Matt & Kim).

Both girls are active in sports and other activities that typical 7th graders enjoy. They aren’t sure if they want to make a living interviewing bands but they are having a lot of fun getting the chance to talk to all the great artists who have agreed to sit down and chat with them.

If you’re following music that’s Pitchforkishly trendy at the moment, you’ll already know a lot of the bands that Olivia and Connie have spoken with. But while there are a lot of here-today-gone-tomorrow festival circuit hopefuls to be found in the dozens upon dozens of video interviews the pair have posted, they’ve also landed some marquee names. There are some truly wonderful interviews in the bunch, where the musicians don’t merely humor the kids, but let their guard down and have fun along with them. For example, I’ve never been much of a Garbage fan, but I LOVE this:

Insane Clown Posse have become a great American cultural punching bag, and for good reason, but they’re natural, forthright and even a bit illuminating here. Shamefully, they blew a huge opportunity when they were asked what subject they should have given more attention in school—staying awake through science might have clued them in on FUCKING MAGNETS.

Some of the questions lobbed at Queens of the Stone Age are genuinely tough. I harbor serious doubts that if I were put on the spot I could pick a favorite Muppet.

Here’s the Pixies’ Joey Santiago, probably enjoying the hell out of the one interview in which he doesn’t have to talk about Indie Cindy.

Mastodon’s drummer Brann Dailor is kinda my new hero. He’s really great here. In two words: headbanging lessons.

All of these are terrific questions, are they not? I wish the kids had had the chance to ask Lou Reed stuff like this. (Or better still, G.G. Allin., though it probably would have been inadvisable to let 7th grade girls anywhere near him.) But here’s their big coup—the most virally popular of all the kids’ interviews, and justifiably so—a friendly chat with the mild-mannered, upbeat, and almost Santa Claus-ishly genial Tom Araya, lead singer of Slayer.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment