Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Mark Lanegan: 4 A.D. Sessions-One of the Most Under -rated Rock Stars in History

...I have to admit that, post-Screaming Trees, I haven't followed Mark Lanegan all that closely.
Being deprived of acceptable terrestrial radio for so many years and always working I have only heard bits and pieces.
Everything I have heard and all of the reviews have been great. But, outside reviews on NPR and friends that have dug him so deeply, I just wasn't there for it-or for him as an artist.
I have missed out.

The Screaming Trees did some amazing work and had some of the best album-cover art (Black Hole Sun, anyone?) in the history of Rock and Roll.....and most people missed it.
I have to admit, as much as I liked them, I dismissed their biggest 'hits' , "Dollar Bill" and "I nearly Lost You" as just 'One Hit Wonders' and I always regretted missing them when they came through early 90s Rock Capital, Tempe, AZ.
I never imagined Lanegan would go on to make such great music.

Both in a visual and a sonic way, this video makes me think about some odd pairings.
Like lab-work that created a new modern marvel:
The mature rock star.
This may sound flip, but I am writing this on the fly and it is just an emotional first response.
None of this is meant to be derogatory.

If I were to know nothing about Lanegan's history, my first impressions of this small body of work would be (both visually and a music fan):
Imagine a lab tasked with building rock stars and the guys running the lab were Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson.
Imagine then that they were tasked with creating a 'middle-aged' Jim Morrison...

If you beat Eddie Vedder half to death using Leonard Cohen as a cudgel, you just might get Mark Lanegan.
...If you were lucky.
Using analogies or imaginary comparisons can be a cheat to fill space on a page, but this is what springs to mind with me when it comes to Lanegan.
These songs, and this band, are as good as it gets in Rock and Roll.
They seem like the guys who want to show-up Trent Reznor:
"NO, Trent, this is how you  do it-all stripped-down in a studio...."|

I have gotten to see some great 'in-studio' vids but this one takes the cake for the time being.

The last track, "Harborview Hospital" will  most certainly show up on some 'Police Procedural ' drama,  a cop show, or a hospital show (if it hasn't already) thereby rendering the now sequestered in-parenthood original fanbase  'cool' once again when their square friends Google; "who did 'that song' in 'that show''.
Enjoy, this is just great.
Great tunes.
Great performances.

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