Tag: The Afghan Whigs

Since their formation in Cincinnati back in 1986, The Afghan Whigs — currently Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar), John Curley (bass), Patrick Keeler (drums), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and the band’s newest member, Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn (guitar) — have a long-held reputation for refusing to play by convention: During the flannel and plaid of the early 90s grunge era, the members of The Afghan Whigs stood apart from their contemporaries for wearing suits and for being more likely to slide into a soulful groove than a power chord-driven riff. 

Reuniting after an 11 year hiatus in 2012, the JOVM mainstays released two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades, that found the band writing and recording music that furthered their story together, while pushing their sound in new directions. 

Slated for a September 9, 2022 release through Royal Cream/BMG, the JOVM mainstays’ ninth album — and first in five years — the Christopher Thorn co-produced How Do You Burn? reportedly picks up on the sound and appraoch of 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades and pushes it even further. With the pandemic forcing Greg Dulli to abandon plans to support his critically applauded solo album Random Desire, the band began working on How Do You Burn? in September 2020 and continued over the next 14 months in remote recording sessions: Dulli, Thorn and Keeler in California; Curley, Jon Skibic (guitar) and Nelson laying down and engineering their own parts in Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans respectively. “Once we got the system down, we started flying,” Greg Dulli says. 

The album features guest spots from a collection of frequent and longtime collaborators including — the late Mark Lanegan, a collaborator of Dulli’s in The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, as well as a close friend. Lanengan sung backup vocals on two album tracks. “It was Mark who named the album,” Dulli says in press notes. Susan Marshall, who contributed to 1998’s 1965 contributes vocals on album track “Catch A Colt.” Van Hunt,who toured with the band in 2012 and contributed to 2014’s Do to the Beast, contributes vocals on “Jyla” and “Take Me There.” And last but definitely not least, Marcy Mays, lead vocalist on Gentlemen‘s “My Curse” contributes vocals to “Domino and Jimmy,” a song that Dulli had specifically written with Mays in mind. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

  • I’ll Make You See God,” which is arguably one of the hardest and aggressive songs they’ve written and recorded in close to 30 years. 
  • The Getaway,” a widescreen ballad that pairs Dulli’s whiskey and cigarette-like croon with a gorgeous string arrangement, twinkling keys and Dulli’s unerring knack for crafting earnest, lived-in material with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. 

How Do You Burn?’s third and latest single “A Line of Shots,” a woozy yet anthemic ballad featuring heavily distorted and delay pedaled guitars, Greg Dulli’s imitable croon paired with a slow-burning groove and the band’s unerring knack for rousing, fist-up-in-the-air choruses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “A Line of Shots” was so much of a crowd favorite during the JOVM mainstays’ May 2022 US tour that the band decided that the song needed its own moment in the sun.

The JOVM mainstays are about to embark on a UK and European Union tour that starts on July 23, 2022 and ends on August 10, 2022. The band will take a few weeks off and then go on a month-long US tour that includes a September 15, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel. They’ll cap a big year with a return to European Union and UK. Tour dates are below.

EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR DATES 

07/23                Brighton, UK                              Concorde 2

07/24                Suffolk, UK                                 Latitude Festival

07/26                Frankfurt, Germany                    Batschkapp

07/28                Vienna, Austria                           Flex

07/29                Prague, Czech Republic             Lucerna Music Bar

07/30                Berlin, Germany                          Metropol

08/01                Oslo, Norway                              Parkteatret Scene

08/02                Stockholm, Sweden                    Debaser

08/03                Copenhagen, Denmark               Amager Bio

08/05                Hamburg, Germany                    Uebel & Gefährlich (Half House)

08/06                Nijmegen, Netherlands               Roosje Live In Park @ Openluchttheater Goffert

08/08                Stuttgart, Germany                     Im Wizemann

08/09                Cologne, Germany                      Luxor

08/10                Lokeren, Belgium                        Lokersee Feesten

U.S. FALL HEADLINE TOUR DATES

09/09                Minneapolis, MN                       Fine Line Music Café

09/10                Chicago, IL                               Metro

09/11                Cincinnati, OH                          Bogarts

09/12                Detroit, MI                                   St. Andrews Hall

09/14                Washington, D.C.                     9:30 Club

09/15                Brooklyn, NY                            Brooklyn Steel

09/16                Philadelphia, PA                       Underground Arts

09/17                Boston, MA                              Paradise

09/20                Charlottesville, VA                    Jefferson Theatre

09/21                Asheville, NC                            The Grey Eagle

09/22                Birmingham, AL                        Saturn

09/24                New Orleans, LA                      One Eyed Jacks

09/28                Austin, TX                                 Mohawk

09/29                Dallas, TX                                 The Echo Lounge & Music Hall

10/01                Denver, CO                              Gothic Theatre

10/02                Salt Lake City, UT                     The Commonwealth Room

10/05                Portland, OR                            Wonder Ballroom

10/06                Seattle, WA                              The Showbox

10/08               San Francisco, CA                    The Regency Ballroom

10/09           Dana Point, CA       Ohana Encore

10/11                Tucson, AZ                               191 Toole

10/12                Los Angeles, CA                       Belasco Theatre

EUROPEAN FALL HEADLINE TOUR DATES

10/22                Madrid, Spain                           Teatro Barceló

10/23                Barcelona, Spain                      Apolo 2

10/25                Milan, Italy                                Santeria

10/26                Rome, Italy                               Largo

10/28                Munich, Germany                     Freiheitshalle

10/29                Zurich, Switzerland                   Bogen F

10/30                Luxembourg                              Den Atelier

11/01                Amsterdam, Netherlands           Paradiso

11/02                Antwerp, Belgium                      De Roma

11/04                Manchester, UK                         Cathedral

11/05                Glasgow, UK                               St. Lukes

11/06                London, UK                                 KOKO

Since their formation in Cincinnati back in 1986, The Afghan Whigs — currently Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar), John Curley (bass), Patrick Keeler (drums), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and newest member, Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn (guitar) — have a long-held reputation for never playing by convention: During the plaid and grunge era of the early 90s, the members of The Afghan Whigs stood apart from their contemporaries by wearing suits and for being more likely to slide into a soulful groove than a power chord driven riff.

Reuniting after an 11 year hiatus in 2012, the JOVM mainstays released two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades, that found the band writing and recording music that furthered their story together, while pushing their sound in new directions.

“I’ll Make You See God,” is the first bit of new material from the JOVM mainstays since 2017’s In Spades, and the single is a roaring headbanger centered around fiery power chord driven riffage, thunderous drumming Greg Dulli’s imitable crooning and an arena rock friendly hook. It’s arguably one of the hardest and aggressive songs they’ve written and recorded in close to 30 years.

“That’s one of the hardest rock songs we’ve ever done,” the band’s Greg Dulli says in press notes.  “It was written and performed on sheer adrenalin.”

Along with the new single, the JOVM mainstays announced a short run of US tour dates. which will see them playing small venues across the East Coast, Midwest and Southeast. The tour closes out with a May 25, 2022 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. As always, tour dates are below.

2022 TOUR DATES 

05/11                     Fort Lauderdale, FL        Culture Room

05/12                Tampa, FL                                The Orpheum

05/13                Orlando, FL                               The Social

05/14                Atlanta, GA                               Terminal West

05/15                Carrboro, NC                             Cat’s Cradle

05/17                Nashville, TN                             The Basement East

05/18                Louisville, KY                             Headliners Music Hall

05/20                St. Louis, MO                              Delmar Hall

05/21                Milwaukee, WI                            Turner Hall Ballroom

05/22                Indianapolis, IN                           The Vogue

05/24                Pittsburgh, PA                              Mr Smalls Theatre

05/25                Brooklyn, NY                               Music Hall of Williamsburg

New Video: Asset Music Releases a “120 Minutes” MTV-era Alt Rock Inspired Single

Will Goodchild is a Marlow, Buckingham, UK-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, and the creative mastermind behind the emerging solo recording project Asset Music. As Goodchild explains, Asset Music was created as a creative outlet, when it became difficult to get a real band together to play. So, he took to his mini studio — a MacBook Pro with Logic X — and started writing and recording music inspired by Brit Pop and alt rock that he wanted to hear. Although, Goodchild aims to take the project wherever his muses take him, with the project being firmly rooted in the ‘if it sounds good, it must be” ethos.

In the meantime, Asset Music’s latest single “Shine On” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era alt rock single featuring fuzzy power chords, cavernous drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook. Sonically, the track brings Gentlemen-era Afghan Whigs to mind; but as Goodchild explains in press notes, the song reflects on the past year of the pandemic but with an optimistic view of things getting back to some level of normal. Live music may actually be a fucking thing again in New York, so how about that?

The recently released video by Studio 4×2 follows a black clad traveling guitarist. The guitarist travels about, playing music in various locations throughout a long day and night. And while the cities are quiet, things aren’t completely hopeless. You do see people embarking on their daily errands — and the sight of a wandering musician gives a small bit of hope for normalcy on the horizon.

New Video: Jupe Jupe Releases a Stylish Visual for New Order-Inspired “Leave You Lonely”

Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe — My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar), and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) — have released four albums since their formation in 2010 — Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses, and Lonely Creatures — that have firmly established their sound: an infectious, dance floor friendly sound influenced by post-punk, synth pop and Americana. Adding to a growing profile, the act has collaborated with the likes of The Afghan Whigs‘ Rick G. Nelson, Lusine, Mike Simonetti, Erik Blood and a number of others on their remix album Cut Up Kisses. 

Released earlier this year, the Seattle-based quartet’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was recorded at Seattle-based Studio Litho and continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who produced and engineered their last album.  Meticulously written over the course of a year, the five song EP features five hook-driven upbeat yet simultaneously melancholy songs that thematically focuses on yearning and desire — with the addition of a saxophone to their sound.

EP single “Leave You Lonely”is a shimmering and decidedly New Order-like track centred around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular guitar blasts, a propulsive bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming, My Young’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook. And while being a pop-inspired confection with ambitious songwriting, the song evokes a swooning and earnest yearning. 

The recently released video features a meshing of three distinct visual styles — line animation, live footage shot in a high contrast negative and a lyric video — while being decently 80s influenced — and in a way that brings A-Ha’s “Take On Me” to mind. 

New Video: Seattle’s Jupe Jupe Releases an 80s MTV-Influenced Visual for Brooding Disco-Tinged “How Could We Both Be In Love”

Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe, which features My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar) and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) have released four albums since their formation 2010 — Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses, and Lonely Creatures — that have firmly established their sound: an infectious, dance floor friendly sound influenced by post-punk, synth pop and Americana. Adding to a growing profile, the act has collaborated with the likes of The Afghan Whigs‘ Rick G. Nelson, Lusine, Mike Simonetti, Erik Blood and a number of others on their remix album Cut Up Kisses.

Released earlier this year, the Seattle-based quartet’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was recorded at Seattle-based Studio Litho and continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who produced and engineered their last album.  Meticulously written over the course of a year, the five song EP features five hook-driven upbeat yet simultaneously melancholy songs that thematically focuses on yearning and desire — with the addition of a saxophone to their sound. 

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the shimmering, New Order-like “Leave You Lonely,” a decidedly ambitious and cinematic pop confection that expresses an aching yearning. Centered around a sinuous bass line, four-on-the floor drumming, shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive vocals, an anthemic hook, and a mournful saxophone line, “How Could We Both Be In Love” continues a run of brooding yet disco-tinged pop confections. But unlike its immediate predecessor, the track sonically manages to bring Avalon-era Roxy Music and Duran Duran to mind while evoking late night, noir-ish vibes. The recently released video by Dirty Sidewalks’ Erik Foster is an incredibly stylish and moody visual that nods at French nouvelle vague and 80s MTV.  

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Mark Lanegan Releases a Brooding and Atmospheric New Single

I’ve spilled a fair share of virtual ink covering Mark Lanegan over the years on this site. And as you may recall, the Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist is known for being the frontman and founding member of Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees and for a lengthy career as an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with an eclectic array of artists and bands — including  Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind; as a member of the renowned grunge All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready; as a member of  Queens of the Stone Age featured on five of the band’s albums — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork; with The Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins; as well as former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, Lanegan has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others.

Lanegan’s 11th full-length solo album Somebody’s Knocking continued an incredible run of critically applauded releases but the album’s material found the JOVM mainstay and grunge rock legend turning to some of his most formative musical influences and profound loves — electronic music.  “I’ve always been into electronic music since I was a kid,” Lanegan said in press notes at the time. “I think the reason those elements have become more obvious in my music is that my tastes have changed as I’ve grown older. The bulk of what I listen to now is electronic. Alain Johannes and I had actually written “Penthouse High” for Gargoyle but then it didn’t really fit on that record. I have been a huge fan of New Order and Depeche Mode forever and have wanted to do a song along those lines for a long time – a blatantly catchy, old-school dance-type song.”

2020 looks to be a momentous year for Lanegan: Lanegan’s memoir Sing Backwards and Weep will be published by Da Capo Press on April 28, 2020 — and his 12th solo album Straight Songs Of Sorrow will be released through Heavenly Recordings on May 8, 2020. Featuring guest appearances from his longtime  Greg Dulli, Warren Ellis, the legendary John Paul Jones, Ed Harcourt and countless others, Straight Songs Of Sorrow is inspired by his own life story, as documented in his memoir.

Reportedly, Sing Backwards and Weep is a brutal, nerve-shredding read, centered around Lanegan’s unsparing and unadulterated candor recounting his journey from troubled youth in Eastern Washington, through his days as a drug-fueled member of Seattle’s grunge rock scene to today with Lanegan finding peace and salvation within himself. While the book documents his lifelong struggle to find peace within himself, his forthcoming 12th album emphasizes the extent to which he realized that music is his life.

“Writing the book, I didn’t get catharsis,” he chuckles. “All I got was a Pandora’s box full of pain and misery. I went way in, and remembered shit I’d put away 20 years ago. But I started writing these songs the minute I was done, and I realized there was a depth of emotion because they were all linked to memories from this book. It was a relief to suddenly go back to music. Then I realized that was the gift of the book: these songs. I’m really proud of this record.”  In press notes, Lanegan affirms that each of Straight Songs Of Sorrow‘s 15 songs references a specific episode or person in the book — albeit, some more explicitly than others.

Whereas the previous two Mark Lanegan Band albums, 2017’s Gargoyle and the aforementioned Somebody’s Knocking found Lanegan pairing his lyrics to music written by collaborators, most of Straight Songs Of Sorrow was written by Lanegan — with the exception being the collaborations with Mark Morton. Two other songs have shared credits — and those two songs were cowritten by Lanegan’s wife Shelley Brien. And much like the book, the album ends with its hero overcoming adversity and struggle and turning, battered and beat up, but cleansed, towards a bright new day.

Last month, I wrote about Straight Songs of Sorrow’s first single, the slow-burning part bluesy lament, part tale of survival and redemption, “Skeleton Key.” Centered around Lanegan’s increasingly Howlin’ Wolf-like baritone, which manages to convey the aching despair, hard-fought and harder-won wisdom that comes from living a messy life, full of dissolution, sin, fucked up decisions and fucked up events. “Bleed All Over,” the album’s second and latest single is a bit more uptempo track featuring rapid fire beats, a looping acoustic guitar line, shimmering synth arpeggios and one of the more plaintive and vulnerable vocal performances from Lanegan in quite some time with a subtle Western tinge. A at its core are the inescapable and lingering ghosts of our lives, the weight of our decisions and actions upon ourselves and others — and the desire to escape it all. 

New Video: Carriers Releases a Hallucinogenic VHS-Styled Visual for “Another Guy”

Over the past handful of years, Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Curt Kiser played in a number of national touring bands while meticulously crafting his own work as a songwriting and solo artist — in step with his own development as a person. Kiser’s latest project Carriers can trace its origins back to 2014 — and since then, he has collaborated with a collection of friends and associates including The National‘s Bryan Devendorf and The Afghan Whigs‘ John Curley, who have helped him bring his sound and vision to life.

Kiser released his Carriers full-length debut Now Is The Time For Loving me, Yourself & Everyone Else was released last year through Good Eye Records, and the album thematically found Kiser taking stock of life, death and his relationships — all while being grateful for being around another day. “Overall it’s about what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future,” Kiser explained in press notes. “I’ve personally found a lot of peace in just working hard and staying focused on what I’ve got going on, trusting, rather than being consumed with striving. This record process has taught me a lot about patience. Life will continue to teach me to have more. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can. Patience is forever.”

Album single “Another Guy” is a shimmering, brooding and hook-driven bit of guitar pop, centered around a deceptively uptempo arrangement, and deeply personal, confessional songwriting — and in a way that recalls Dire Straits and Tom Petty but with an aching sense of heartache and loss. 

“When you’re writing a song and in the midst of capturing what is inspiring it, you usually don’t think about anything else but just staying focused on that moment and letting the song appear and become realized. At least, that’s how it happens for me,” Curt Kiser says in a lengthy statement.

“‘Another Guy’ is a song that I knew I needed to write but I never knew if anyone else would really hear it beyond some close friends and family. It’s a song about a dream I had that holds a lot of weight and significance for me. While trying to tell the story of this one, I’ve had trouble coming up with the right words to do so. How do you explain a spiritual encounter and fully convey what it meant for you?

“I was lifted into the air, saw a statue of Jesus break apart, come to life and we had a conversation. It was pretty weird. I think I’m okay with letting this song speak for itself. It was a dream. It was extremely vivid. It changed my life & my overall outlook of myself and the depths of the supernatural realm. It opened me up to new possibilities and something I had never been shown before while also confirming some things I’ve held as truth.

I know what it means for me and when people hear this song, I hope that you can feel something similar to what I felt while having the encounter and that it changes the atmosphere wherever you are.”

Directed by Polish filmmaker Sztuka Naiwna, the recently released video for “Another Guy” was filmed on fuzzy, VHS-styled visual that’s hallucinogenic and feverish while possessing a wistful air.  “The idea of a video began in August, a fews days before the song’s premiere,” Kiser recalls in press notes. “I received a message from an Instagram user in Poland, Sztuka Naiwna, offering to create a video for the song. He said he’d heard it on David Dean Burkhart’s playlist and was really moved by it. I was cautious since I wouldn’t be able to work very closely with him, but after a couple months he sent over an edit and I loved it. I think he really captured something special for Carriers’ first music video.” 

 

Since their formation back in 2010, the Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe, which features My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar) and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) have released four albums — Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses, and Lonely Creatures — that have firmly established their sound: an infectious, dance floor friendly sound influenced by post-punk, synth pop and Americana among others. Adding to a growing profile, the act has collaborated with the likes of The Afghan Whigs‘ Rick G. Nelson, Lusine, Mike Simonetti, Erik Blood and a number of others on their remix album Cut Up Kisses.

The band’s recently released Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was recorded at Seattle-based Studio Litho and continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who produced and engineered their last album.  Meticulously written over the course of a year, the five song EP features five hook-driven upbeat yet simultaneously melancholy songs that thematically focuses on yearning and desire — with the addition of a saxophone to their sound.

The EP’s latest single is the shimmering, New Order-like “Leave You Lonely.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular guitar blasts, a propulsive bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming, My Young’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook — and while being a decidedly ambitious and cinematic pop confection, the song expresses an aching yearning.

 

 

 

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Mark Lanegan Releases a Slow-burning and Atmospheric Blues

Over the past few years, I’ve spilled a fair share of virtual ink covering Mark Lanegan, the Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, known as the frontman and founding member of Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with an eclectic array of artists and bands — including  Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind; as a member of the renowned grunge All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready; as a member of  Queens of the Stone Age featured on five of the band’s albums — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork; with The Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins; as well as former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, Lanegan has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others.

Last year, Lanegan released his 11th album Somebody’s Knocking. And while continuing an amazing run of critically applauded releases, the album’s material found the JOVM mainstay and grunge legend turning to some of his most formative musical influences and profound loves — electronic music.  “I’ve always been into electronic music since I was a kid,” Lanegan said in press notes at the time. “I think the reason those elements have become more obvious in my music is that my tastes have changed as I’ve grown older. The bulk of what I listen to now is electronic. Alain Johannes and I had actually written “Penthouse High” for Gargoyle but then it didn’t really fit on that record. I have been a huge fan of New Order and Depeche Mode forever and have wanted to do a song along those lines for a long time – a blatantly catchy, old-school dance-type song.”

Although Somebody’s Knocking came together during an 11 day session in Los Angeles, much of the album’s deepest musical influences are decidedly European, including the album’s two other writing partners Martin Jenkins, who records as Pye Corner Audio and the aforementioned Rob Marshall, who contribute some newer, murkier forms. Reportedly, Lanegan approached working with each of the album’s writing partners from the perspective and lens of a fan, vocalist, and interpreter.

2020 will be a momentous year for the JOVM mainstay and grunge rock legend: Lanegan’s memoir Sing Backwards and Weep will be published by Da Capo Press on April 28, 2020 — and his 12th solo album Straight Songs Of Sorrow will be released through Heavenly Recordings on May 8, 2020. Featuring guest appearances from his longtime Gutter Twin collaborator Greg Dulli, Warren Ellis, the legendary John Paul Jones, Ed Harcourtand countless others, Straight Songs Of Sorrow is inspired by his own life story, a documented in his memoir. 

Sing Backwards and Weep reportedly is a brutal, nerve-shredding read, centered around Lanegan’s unsparing and unadulterated candor recounting his journey from troubled youth in Eastern Washington, through his days as a drug-fueled member of Seattle’s grunge rock scene to today with Lanegan finding peace and salvation within himself. While the book documents his lifelong struggle to find peace within himself, his forthcoming 12th album emphasizes the extent to which he realized that music is his life. 

“Writing the book, I didn’t get catharsis,” he chuckles. “All I got was a Pandora’s box full of pain and misery. I went way in, and remembered shit I’d put away 20 years ago. But I started writing these songs the minute I was done, and I realised there was a depth of emotion because they were all linked to memories from this book. It was a relief to suddenly go back to music. Then I realized that was the gift of the book: these songs. I’m really proud of this record.”  In press notes, Lanegan affirms that each of Straight Songs Of Sorrow’s 15 songs references a specific episode or person in the book — albeit, some more explicitly than others. 

Whereas the previous two Mark Lanegan Band albums, 2017’s Gargoyle and the aforementioned Somebody’s Knocking found Lanegan pairing his lyrics to music written by collaborators, most of Straight Songs Of Sorrow was written by Lanegan — with the exception being the collaborations with Mark Morton. Two other songs have shared credits — and those two songs were cowritten by Lanegan’s wife Shelley Brien. And much like the book, the album ends with its hero overcoming adversity and struggle and turning, battered and beat up, but cleansed, towards a bright new day. 

Centered around atmospheric synths, strummed acoustic guitar, Straight Songs Of Sorrow is a slow-burning track that’s one part bluesy lament, one part tale of survival and redemption from life’s battered and beaten up. Interestingly, as Lanegan gets older, his vocal range inches closer to Howlin’ Wolf — a gravelly rumble that manages to convey aching despair and hard-fought and harder-won wisdom, that comes from living a messy life, full of dissolution and fuck ups. And as a result, the song may arguably the most personal song the JOVM mainstay and grunge legend had released in some time time.