Mark Lanegan's Blues Funeral is my favorite album of 2012 so far. For the uninitiated, Mark rose to notoriety as the frontman of the Screaming Trees, but broke off to pursue a solo career and eventually recorded and toured with Queens of the Stone Age for Songs for the Deaf (where I ultimately came to hear of him). Some other notable collaborations include Soulsavers and Isobel Campbell.
What is it that I love about Mark, exactly? That voice. It's both chilling, warm, and laden with years of cigarettes and whiskey. The perfect compliment to beautiful guitar hooks, beating drums, and orchestral accompaniment.
Blues Funeral kicks off with a bang with the Gravedigger Song - eerily reminiscent of Queens - and continues on a genre-bending rampage. His gravelly voice is second to none and was absolutely incredible when I saw him recently under the stars in Los Angeles at the Autry Plaza in Griffith Park. The video below captures the experience pretty well. Enjoy!