Mark Lanegan. Again. Some more.

“Riot in My House” – Mark Lanegan Band


Yes, I just made a “Why isn’t everyone a raving Mark Lanegan fan yet?” post a couple of months ago, but I just started a new day job, and Lanegan’s rumbling tones have been helping ease my re-entry at the end of the work day (the album version of that killer live track above is particularly good for shaking off the effects of fluorescent lighting and conversations with normal people).

And there is a bit of news to include:

  • Lanegan has collaborated with British multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood and the result, an album called Black Pudding, is slated for release on April 16.
  • April 2 will see a deluxe reissue of Mad Season’s sole album Above and will include a track featuring Lanegan called “Locomotive”. You can hear the song at Rolling Stone.
  • Mark will be opening for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on a run of Australian dates:
    Sat. March 2 SIDNEY MYER MUSIC BOWL Melbourne, VIC
    Sun. March 3 THEBARTON THEATRE Adelaide, NSW
    Wed. March 6 RED HILL AUDITORIUM Perth, WA
    Fri. March 8 RIVERSTAGE, Brisbane, QLD
    Sat. March 9 ENMORE, Sydney

A few more songs on the way out. The first, “Buring Jacob’s Ladder”, is from the video game Rage. The last two are both tracks from Blues Funeral.

“Burning Jacob’s Ladder” – Mark Lanegan Band

Mark Lanegan- Burning Jacob's Ladder


“St. Louis Elegy” – Mark Lanegan Band

“The Gravedigger’s Song” – Mark Lanegan Band


Mark Lanegan Official Website

Mark Lanegan @ Twitter

Mark Lanegan @ Facebook

Friday Link Session

  • It’s about that time: Bands, if you can’t – or don’t want to – make it to SXSW this year, start getting your submissions ready for the third annual CXCW (Couch by Couchwest), March 10-16. Find submission details here.
  • If you’ll be in the Cleveland area on June 22 and would like to move from the couch to someone’s porch, the 5th annual Larchmere PorchFest is accepting submissions until May 1.
  • Wonderful CXCW alumnus Daniel Knox is playing a residency at the Hideout in Chicago, IL. For a highly interesting read, check out his pre-residency interview with
  • Spacehog – yes, the “In the Meantime” band – are preparing to release their first new album in twelve years, As It Is On Earth. They have a fundraiser project for the album, with part of the proceeds going to the David Lynch Foundation.
  • On February 7, Patti Smith received the Katharine Hepburn Medal from Bryn Mawr College. The medal “recognizes women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence” of the great feminist actress.
  • Roots artist Frank Fairfield is selling off some of his record collection on eBay. As you can imagine, there are some unique and fascinating old platters available.

A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Murder by Death

Murder by Death's Dagan Thogerson


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

Murder by Death’s latest album, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, is a product of one of the most successful Kickstarter music campaigns to date, and the endearingly silly video for the campaign helpfully categorizes the band’s sound as “dark whiskey devil music”. But before you go off thinking this is another cheesed-up act pining for a time that never was, littering their lyrics with talk of crossroads and rotgut and deals with the devil, know that the music of Murder by Death is much more complex and elegant than that.

And on Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, Murder by Death have once again stood at the crash site of Americana and indie rock and swept the debris into a new, cohesive whole, honing the finished product into a rich, captivating journey through stories gritty and haunting. Lost girls, boozy wakes, rambling death, and fated (and perhaps fatal) romance, fill the 13 tracks, picking you up where you stand and setting you down somewhere very different, somewhere misty and full of shadows.

In anticipation of their upcoming appearance at the Grog Shop in Cleveland (February 22, co-headlining with Man Man), Murder by Death drummer Dagan Thogerson (who went so far as to offer his skin as canvas to a flush contributor in the aforementioned Kickstarter campaign) shares with us some space-centric recommendations.

“Hard World” – Murder by Death


Good Read: John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
I really got in to reading science fiction about three years ago. I’d never heard of the John Carter stories until Disney made a movie out of them that I heard was bad. A friend lent me the first volume containing three novels and I ripped right through all 900 pages. The stories were published in the early 1900’s, so the actual science is all weird and wrong, lending more charm to an already charming lead character. John Carter is a Virginia fighting man who is the noblest of all. When he unintentionally teleports to Mars (what?), he quickly fights his way to fame and glory, falls in love, and unites all of the planet’s races of Martians. All the while refusing to compromise his strict gentleman’s sensibilities. All of the ingredients of the story add up to something that is at once super cool and totally ridiculous, which is sort of the reason that I love sci-fi in the first place.

Good Listen: “Another Space Song” by Failure
My band mates give me shit for my love of nineties music, but I stand by this tune. It’s a song that I can get lost in. The drum beat is really cool and never changes for the entire four plus minutes of the song, and lyrics are a beautiful profession of the singer’s romantic love of space. It’s just a beautiful song.

“Another Space Song” – Failure


Good Drink: Manhattan on the rocks
Dash of bitters, tiny bit of sweet vermouth, and two ounces (at least) of bourbon. Splash of water, swirl it, don’t shake.


“Ghost Fields” – Murder by Death

Murder By Death - Ghost Fields


Murder by Death Official Website

Murder by Death @ Twitter

Murder by Death @ Facebook

Murder by Death Is Coming to Cleveland

Murder by Death


The best voices in modern music are not those that are technically proficient but those that are dented and torn, so full of character that they could tell a whole story just by humming a few notes. Tom Waits, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen… as their careers continued their lives seeped into their voices, expanding, contracting, cracking, causing deep crevices. Adam Turla of Murder by Death is well on his way to becoming a member of this camp. In the early days of MbD, Turla’s voice was like a flower bud, green and simple. Now, a decade on, his voice has a timbre closer to another one of those vocal icons, Johnny Cash.



And like those other singular singers, Turla is not relying merely on his battered vocal chords to carry him forward. He integrates it with A) a great band, and B) great stories. While this is clearly a band with a sense of humor – not only are they named after the 1976 murder spoof starring Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, and more, but titles in their catalogue include “Spring Break 1899”, “Intergalactic Menopause”, and “Killbot 2000” – their strongest suit is balancing this voice, this music, and these stories to create transportive moods. This craft is at its most whole on their latest album – their sixth full-length album and their first for Bloodshot Records – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon.


“Foxglove” – Murder by Death (Violitionist Sessions)


Murder by Death will be bringing it all to the Grog Shop in Cleveland on February 22 when they co-headline with the quite different, but also great Man Man. Damion Suomi will open. To get more of a live taste of these exciting bands, check out this Murder by Death concert at NPR and this Man Man performance at Amoeba Music.

Bonus: Enjoy Adam Turla navigating an interview with a couple of kids.


Grog Shop Official Website

Murder by Death Official Website

Murder by Death @ Twitter

Murder by Death @ Facebook

Man Man Official Website

Man Man @ Twitter

Man Man @ Facebook

Damion Suomi @ Facebook

A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Mutts

Instagram Mutts


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.


Earlier this month, I extolled the multi-flavored virtues of Chicago’s Mutts and their latest album Separation Anxiety. It’s a wily, skittering creature of an album, difficult to capture in one of those pigeonholing boxes that music press and label execs seem so fond of – and I like that! Many a rich and long-lasted musical love affair has begun with the question “What the hell is that?”

(And, at the time of that previous post, I didn’t know that singer/keys man Mike Maimone is from Cleveland, so I have to give a little O-hi-o salute for that.)

Mutts covering Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint” at 90.3 WRST in Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Now these fine gentlemen are joining us to give us their recommendations to aid us in our favorite activities of reading, listening, and drinking, and, oh, it’s a good one they’ve put together for us. Sit back and give it your full attention.


MIKE MAIMONE (Keyboard & Vocals)

Good Read: Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
If you’ve ever felt embarrassed to be at a table where more people are on their phones than not (even if you were in the majority yourself), this novel is your best friend and your worst nightmare. Set in the not-too-distant future, it uses a middle-aged man’s obsessions with “analog” books and a modern young woman to cast a bleak projection of where our instantly-gratified, plugged-in, debt-laden, class-divided, age-defying nation is heading. And to a degree, it anticipated the Occupy movements in New York.

Good Listen: “Jon Three Sixteen” by The Field Auxiliary
This track from their recent EP is where I would recommend starting on your journey with one the best bands Chicago has to offer. “When in doubt, put records out.” But don’t stop here; the new LP, Nomenclature Fever, is incredible.

“Jon Three Sixteen/When Yer Twenty Two” – The Field Auxiliary (for Audiotree Live)


Good Drink: Woodford Reserve, neat.



Good Read: 1984 by George Orwell
Although not what I would consider to be “light reading,” this would probably count as one of the most important books I’ve ever read. I taught high school English for five years before joining Mutts, and this book was one that I taught the last few years I was working. When I’d introduce it to my students, I’d tell them, “I’m not concerned that you like this book. I care much more about you actually getting something out of reading it and looking a little more critically at your surroundings because of this experience.” Every time I read the ending, I’m surprised at how tragic yet also beautiful it is.

Good Listen: All Ages by Bad Religion
When I was in middle school back in the late nineties, my idea of a punk rock band was Blink-182. This was around the time some friends and I first picked up instruments with the intention of creating music together as a “band.” My buddy, Jason, turned me onto this record, actually a compilation of songs from previous releases, and I don’t think I’ve been the same since. The songs here changed both my taste in music and my world view. I spent hours looking at all the show fliers the band used to decorate the liner notes, and the artwork on the back cover still scares and moves me at the same time. After all these years, I still come back to this record at least once a year and am surprised by how fresh and angry the songs still sound and the way the lyrical content remains relevant.

“21st Century (Digital Boy)” – Bad Religion


Good Drink: I love IPAs, so the hoppier the better. The Big Sky IPA is probably my favorite, but I just tried Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust and thought that was pretty tasty as well.


BOB BUCKSTAFF (Bass & Guitar)

Take Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s The Letting Go from the top and crack open David Berman’s poetry collection Actual Air. (Both of these fine releases hail from Chicago’s very own Drag City.) By the time the needle lifts from the final track, you’ll be nose deep at war with Berman’s Mirrornauts. An experience unparalleled. It will make sweet molasses of the mind.

“Cursed Sleep” – Bonnie “Prince” Billy


Let’s not forget the secret ingredient, a twelve pack of Olys from the corner store. Throw that sugar on top and you’ll be writing in Bukowski and speaking in a slurred sort of iambic pentameter for days to come. That’s some trippy stuff, Bill Shakespeare.


Shew, right? A good one.

If you’re in the Chicago area, you can catch Mike and a kick drum playing out live.

11/28, LiveWire Lounge, Chicago
12/5, Mike N Molly’s, Champaign
12/6, The Bridge, Columbia

“So Many, So Many” – Mutts


Mutts Official Website

Mutts @ Twitter

Mutts @ Facebook

Friday Link Session

  • …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and The Coathangers have teamed up as Thee Deadcoats to cover Pussy Riot’s “Putin Lights Up the Fires”. Proceeds will be split between the funding of Pussy Riot’s legal defense and the American Red Cross Sandy relief effort.
  • Classic 1981 concert film “Urgh! A Music War” is available to view in full on YouTube.
  • BBC Radio Four’s “Mastertapes” is available as a podcast (meaning non-Brits can listen without any country restrictions). “Mastertapes” is an interview, audience Q&A and performance show, and programs posted so far have featured Billy Bragg, Suzanne Vega, and Paul Weller.
  • Richard Hell is publishing an autobiography called I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp in March of 2013. The book can be pre-ordered at Amazon. There is a review of Chapter 28, which was released as a chap book, at We Who Are About to Die.
  • While most of the output from new Cleveland radio station 87.7 is pretty bland, the station is now the new home of Cleveland-centric showcase Inner Sanctum on Sunday nights from 9 to 11 p.m. Cleveland bands who would like to be considered for inclusion on the show should e-mail their name, e-mail address, telephone number, and links to any social media to
  • Further to local music news, Patrick Sweany is finally coming back to the Cleveland area. Sweany will be playing Mahall’s in Lakewood on November 23. Buy tickets here.

Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost): NYC Premiere

Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost) Bobby Bare Jr documentary poster


As people continue to salvage their homes and lives, life in New York continues on. (You may slow New York down, but you will not stop it.) And this Sunday, November 11, the Bobby Bare, Jr., documentary Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) will be seeing its NYC premiere as a part of the DOC NYC festival.

The film will be screening at 9:30 p.m. on November 11 at the IFC Center and will include a Q & A with Bobby Bare, Jr., and director/producer/director of photography William Miller. You can purchase tickets here.

There will be an additional screening at the IFC Center on Thursday, November 15 at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are available here. Bobby Bare, Jr., will not be at this second screening, but he will be playing a show down the way at the Mercury Lounge. (Note: the show is a separate ticket.)

A portion of the proceeds for the Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) screening will go to Sandy disaster relief. For more details, e-mail


Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) Official Website

Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) @ Twitter

Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) @ Facebook

Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch: The Mystery of Heaven

I’ve been a little slow getting to this one (then again, I’ve been a little slow on everything lately – sorry, friends), but I would watch film director Jim Jarmusch open a can of beans and listen to him play his armpits, so I was thrilled to learn he was collaborating on an album with composer and lutenist Jozef Van Wissem. Fortunately for all of you who might not be Jarmusch zealots, the resulting work is a damn site more pleasant and entrancing than either beans or armpits. Indeed, there are moments when you feel you are listening to a soundtrack from one of Jarmusch’s films, which have always been excellently scored.


“The Sun of the Natural World is Pure Fire” – Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch


Jarmusch and Van Wissem released an album, Concerning The Entrance Into Eternity, back in February and are already set to release a second album, The Mystery of Heaven.



Heaven will be out on November 13 and includes vocals from Tilda Swinton (both Van Wissem and Swinton are involved in Jarmusch’s forthcoming film, Only Lovers Left Alive). Jarmusch and Van Wissem will play a record release show at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on November 27.

Harriet: I Slept with All Your Mothers


I love this first song from Harriet’s EP Tell the Right Story.


Harriet “I Slept With All Your Mothers” from Harriet on Vimeo.

Harriet, which includes Alex Casnoff (Dawes, PAPA), is offering Tell the Right Story for free download at their website, and they will touring the American/Canadian west coast with AC Newman in November.

11/8 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret
11/9 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
11/10 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
11/12 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
11/13 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
11/14 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah


Harriet Official Website

Lillian Todd-Jones: Butter Soul


It’s difficult to gauge the quality of an artist based on one song (there’s a reason there are so many one-hit wonders), but this one moody song from Lillian Todd-Jones is very promising.



If you’re in London, Todd-Jones will be a part of the City Showcase at the Borderline on October 11, 2012.


Lillian Todd-Jones @ Facebook