Album Preview: Mark Lanegan Band’s Blues Funeral

In the time that’s elapsed since his last solo record, Mark Lanegan has been busy. He’s collaborated with Isobel Campbell, joined Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins, guested on albums by Queens of the Stone Age, Twilight Singers and UNKLE, and sang most of the tracks on the last two Soulsavers LPs. In fact, he’s never stopped since he began in his first band, seminal Northwest “grunge” rockers Screaming Trees (though if you were a fan, you’d never call them grunge!). Seven albums with the Trees, and now on his seventh solo studio album — you can hardly begrudge him the seven years between!

On first listen to 2012’s Blues Funeral (out February 7th on 4AD), fans will notice that Mark Lanegan has expanded his familiar sound. There’s no hiding that raw, smoky voice, but musically the album stretches out further than 2004’s Bubblegum. Familiar dark bluesy rockers like “Bleeding Muddy Water” are counterpointed with sweeping electronics-heavy numbers like “Ode To Sad Disco.” Here, thumping drum machines and keyboard washes are just as likely to be found as scorching guitars. Thematically, though, the album is unwaveringly dark, as you’d expect from titles like “Phantasmagoria Blues,” “Gray Goes Black,” and “The Gravedigger’s Song.” Through it all, Lanegan is joined by some familiar friends: Dulli, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Jack Irons, Porno for Pyros’ Martyn LeNoble, QOTSA’s Josh Homme, and Eleven guitarist and producer Alain Johannes. Together they create a magical concoction, and if it’s said that the entire genre of the blues has actually died, through Mark Lanegan Band and Blues Funeral they’re positively reborn.

KEXP is excited to offer this exclusive preview to the forthcoming album. Whether you’ve been following Mark Lanegan for decades or are now just discovering the Ellensburg, Washington-bred songwriter (and we envy those of you hearing him for the first time), give a listen to this dark yet diverse album, easily one of the best of the year so far. And stay tuned for an interview with Mark Lanegan coming up in the next few weeks, only on KEXP!

photo by Sam Holden

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  1. Francesco
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    this album is just incredible! I can’t stop listen to it. Grandissimo Lanegan!

  2. Gregor
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    About six weeks ago, after Travels in the Dustland interview, me and my fella citizen Chris Eckman we talked about Mark Lanegan genious. We are looking forward to new the album – all the previous are fantastic … And Mark, since you miss Ljubljana, see you in Vienna on March 22. Hope Chris can come too.

  3. Brad
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been a huge Lanegan fan, but I’m not digging this at all. It’s too electronic and synthy, which does not match his style. Where are the guitars?

  4. Bill
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    More push-button music than I usually prefer, but this works well. But Lanegan has full immunity at this point in my book … everything that voice touches ranges from good to brilliant. This album is somewhere between those two.

  5. Teresa
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m just like Bill as for Lanegan’s immunity, I love his music, its originality and authenticity. However, I must admit this album didn’t really blow my mind…I haven’t listened to the whole preview yet..I hope he starts touring Europe soon!!

  6. Darrin
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    listen a few more times, it’s just like his other stuff it slowly grows on you until it is apart of you.

  7. Music Bullet
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Good post on Blues Funeral. I think many will probably be glad to hear his smoky, raw voice again.

  8. dario
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    welcome back, mark.. listen to his voice is like having a long distance call from a good friend you dont hear of since a long time!

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