(Written for the old site.) SST in the eighties was home for every punk-rocker in USA. And they aslo grew their special breed of longhair punkers who drew their influences not only from early punk, but also from hard rock and psychedelia. One of the most notable bands of that breed were the Screaming Trees. Three chubby guys and a babe magnet Mark Lanegan gave us a little bit of fresh air when they in late eighties made great three albums for SST. That part of their career is also wonderfully compiled on Anthology: SST Years.
But then came 1991, Nirvana and grunge… Of course, Screaming Trees were a perfect grunge band already and CBS signed them and they really hit it big with Sweet Oblivion in 1992. Paradoxically, Sweet Oblivion was lyrically their weakest album up to date. Moreover, Lanegan started his deep exploration on more traditional forms like country and blues and decided to start a parallel career as a solo artist.
Actually, in 1990. came out firt Lanegan’s album entitled The Winding Street, but his career really started to overshadow Screaming Trees when he came up with Whiskey for the Holy Ghost in 1994. That was a delicious album full of bluesy bar atmosphere.
Like after a big hungover, his album I’ll Take Care of You came out in 1999. Here we find Lanegan performing his favorite standards like Little Sadie. You can find there many cool songwriters, Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Bobby Blue Blend and Buck Owens. The nicest surprize is a wonderful bluesy cover of Carry Home, which was originally done by a death punk band The Gun Club.
Just now, Lanegan came up with a new album, and a new hairdo and he’s more than welcome. Album is entiled Field Songs, and represents Mark in a new light. It all looks like Lanegan got influenced by gypsy music, and there’s much of that nomadic feel in his new songs. However, the list of guest musicians is quite interesting… Except for his old buddy Mike Johnson (ex Dinosaur JR), also Duffy (ex Guns’n’Roses) delivers some quite impressive drum attacks, Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden also shows she can play some serious guitar. Duffy is also now a part of Mark’s new touring band, so god help us… Anyway, great low key records and a nice bluesy break in usually jolly good atmosphere of The Little Lighthouse.