Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
The Flame That Burns
CONTEST – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan CD giveaway
MySpaceThough it’s Isobel Campbell who gets top billing on Sunday At Devil Dirt, just released in North America after coming out in the UK this Spring, it’s her co-conspirator who permeates and defines the second album from herself and Mark Lanegan.
Lanegan’s presence is inescapable throughout. His gravelly voice takes lead on the majority of the songs with Campbell sticking mainly to harmonies or duet duties, and even when he’s not audible, he’s definitely felt, like a shadow falling over the land. It’s a bit cliche to talk about Lanegan in terms of his dark and brooding persona, but it’s really true. The man does what he does, and does it utterly convincingly, no surprises there. What is something of a surprise is that the vehicles Lanegan is given to drive, in all their raw folk-noir glory, were written and orchestrated entirely by Campbell.
Though she also claimed the bulk of the songwriting credits on their first collaboration Ballad Of The Broken Seas, that record still kept one foot in the more wispy folkish styles to which Campbell was accustomed. This time out, she’s more confidently embraced the possibilities offered by the talents at hand and has produced a more varied and convincing record. Guided by Campbell’s ghostly voice and hand, Lanegan’s desolate soul wanders through simple pastorals, country-blues and orchestrated ’60s spy-soundtracks, eternally seeking something – perhaps salvation, or perhaps just a stiff drink.
You can currently stream Sunday At Devil Dirt at Spinner, or you can win it on CD along with Ballad Of the Broken Seas. Courtesy of Vagrant Records, I’ve got a copy of both albums to give away to one lucky winner. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want the Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan CDs” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body. Contest is open to residents of North America and will close in a week at midnight, November 26.
NOTE – the Spinner streams, both this one and the B&S one below, appear to currently be busted. Try hitting them back later. Sorry. Blame AOL. And the economic downturn. Update: Stream links fixed.
Belle & Sebastian released their BBC Sessions collection this week, and it’s presently streaming at Spinner. A clarification should be made about the bonus disc that comes in the deluxe edition – many, including myself, assumed that since this is a BBC Sessions collection and the live disc was recorded at Christmas, that the extra CD is of the BBC Christmas show that has been bootlegged ad nauseum every year since it was recorded in 2002. It is not. It is a regular gig, recorded in Belfast in 2001. As for the main disc, I don’t know that I’d call it essential. The live versions of most songs don’t vary too much from the album cuts and the one that does the most, “Lazy Line Painter Jane” (which is tellingly retitled “Lazy Jane” here), differs larger for the worse for the absence of vocalist Monica Queen and the dialing down of its northern soul though the final minute does rescue it in grand fashion. None of the four unreleased songs is particularly exceptional though they do provide a fitting coda to Isobel Cambpell’s tenure in the band. But as a reminder of how wonderful this band was, particularly in their early years (the later years were wonderful in a completely different way), it’s a triumph. And most of their fans are so obsessive that they’ve already gone out and bought it already, anyways though if you’re on the fence, Paste has compiled a list of 15 reasons you need to own this.
altsounds chats with Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison. They’ve got a US tour coming together for January, but no Toronto date yet nor is there an obvious gap in the itinerary where I’d guess one would go. Still, fingers crossed.
Opting not to wait for Black Friday, Hard To Find A Friend has declared the holiday season as begun and has released a lovely charity Christmas compilation. Featuring artists such as American Analog Set, Oxford Collapse and Jason Collett, whose contribution can be sampled below. The mix costs $7.50 USD and all proceeds go to support The Children Of Uganda Foundation. Check it out – it’s the right thing to do and the easy way to do it.