Saturday, June 25, 2005

Screaming Trees / Ocean of Confusion / Rating 3.5

Mark Lanegan BandBubblegum[Beggars Banquet; 2004]Rating: 7.2
Matthew Murphy, August 30th, 2004

“As scratchy as a three-day beard yet as supple and pliable as moccasin leather, Lanegan's voice has evolved into a remarkable instrument, one that couldn't have been earned by easy living. But Lanegan is no Chinaski-come-lately, and he's got the voice to prove it.

Mark Lanegan BandHere Comes That Weird Chill[Beggars Banquet; 2003]Rating: 7.6
William Morris, January 8th, 2004

“But his ability to consistently deliver dirty, linear melodies without too-soon drying the well is the biggest feather in Lanegan's cap.”

“Lanegan is the brand of artist who can make a home in any camp, and, as he proves on this stormy release-- in any weather. Watch your back, Mark Eitzel.”

Mark LaneganScraps At Midnight[Sub Pop]Rating: 7.9
Jason Josephes

“Forget about that alt-country/ "No Depression"/ Y'all-ternative country thing. Like Vic Chesnutt, Mark Lanegan makes rootsy music filled with soul. Really. Scraps At Midnight is filled with Lanegan's husky, smoky groans and wails. It's a more relaxed affair than those old Screaming Trees records Mark played on-- the most interesting moments are those where the coil of his voice slithers up from a quiet spot and pins your ear to the wall with a serpentine tongue.”

Screaming TreesOcean of Confusion[Epic; 2005]Rating: 3.5
David Raposa, June 20, 2005

“Because you don't want to hear a young Lanegan pass a kidney stone while fronting an above-average bar band.”

“Because, sometimes, bands are better left forgotten.”

If you want to list some regional bands worth forgetting I would sooner list Hammerbox, 7 Year Bitch, Cat Butt, Gruntruck, and the Tone Dogs.

I shudder to agree to anything the bitter David Raposa has to say about anything but in all fairness this “greatest hits” collection is a joke and does not reflect the best time period for this classic Washington state grunge band. The artwork is pathetic and indeed trying to cash in on Lanegan’s revived career is cheesy but we are talking about a major label here. I don’t think I have ever held Epic / Sony in any high regard so my expectations are less than shattered. Mr. Raposa’s hate-fest is unnecessarily cruel to a band that not only deserves a little more respect but is fronted by a man Pitchfork has otherwise been rather supportive of.

“Ocean of Confusion” is not something anybody other than a huge fan will need to own but if you are looking for a genuinely great retrospective of this notable northwest grunge bands then try tracking down the Screaming Trees Anthology on SST. It compiles their music from 85-89 and is the closest thing to a best of you will find.

Give it time but like all trends the Seattle grunge sound will make a come back and Pitchfork will certainly be the first to let us know when its cool again. I on the other hand will continue to play my Mudhoney, Sound Garden, and Screaming Trees records proudly.