Mark Lanegan

Here Comes That Weird Chill [EP]

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Ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan growls his way through "Methamphetamine Blues" like Small Change-era Tom Waits singing something off of Mule Variations. It's a great, sleazy opener to this EP of "Methamphetamine Blues, Extras & Oddities" from the Mark Lanegan Band's upcoming full-length, Here Comes That Weird Chill. Boasting musical assistance from members of Ween, Afghan Whigs, and Masters of Reality, Lanegan and friends cover every angle of the lo-fi spectrum, from the psychedelic soul of "Message to Mine" to the Nick Cave-like balladry of "Lexington Slow Down." These are not simply four-track renderings of soon to be fleshed-out studio tracks or dull covers -- Captain Beefheart's "Clear Spot" -- they're gritty snapshots of a tenacious songwriter in love with the dark. The sound is a bit muddy throughout and the vocals are often treated excessively, but considering the "extras" tag these are minor gripes, especially when assaulted by the machine gun imagery that snakes its way through "Skeletal History." As far as sneak peaks go, the Here Comes That Weird Chill EP serves as a tantalizing primer.

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