Monday, March 26, 2007

Screaming Trees' Golden Tongue

Anybody who has semi-seriously collected music eventually performs a periodic purge, when he or she loads up a box of CDs and LPs that rarely earn time on the stereo and takes it down to Cellophane Square or wherever. Most of the time, we don’t regret these purges; if we did, then the “P” section wouldn’t be stuffed with dusty copies of Primus’s Sailing the Seas of Cheese. Every now and then, though, we make hasty decisions based on superficial needs (e.g., rent, tuition, bail) and stupidly unload something of real value. We then feel like total boners for years and years to come.

At least we got $40 for Screaming Trees’ Change Has Come double-7”.

Six months ago, the blog Sweet Oblivion posted a two-part history of Mark Lanegan (here and here) that included two of the four songs (five, if you’re using the cd version) from the EP. I downloaded ‘em and then called Tom to see whether we still had the original 7”s.

“Dude, I sold that like ten years ago.”

Luckily, one of our readers, Casey, traded me the remaining tracks. While it was great to hear those tunes again for the first time in a decade or so, it also increased the amount of regret I felt about parting with the EP in the first place.

I won’t go into too much detail about the history of Screaming Trees, as the Sweet Oblivion posts cover that material already. I will note, however, that they became an awfully good band during the second half of their existence, and that improvement started with this single. In the early 90s, the samples I heard of their SST records didn’t impress me much, and I recently purchased the SST collection and found that, save for a few tracks here and there, my initial impressions weren’t too far off the mark. Once Mark Lanegan’s voice deepened and ashened and Jack Endino muscled up the guitars, the band hit their stride.

"Change Has Come" live, sometime in 1990.

“Days” and “Flashes” recall their earlier, more garage-y material the most, albeit with an improved ear for melody. “Time Speaks Her Golden Tongue” mixes 60s psychedelica with grunge nearly perfectly; there’s a Mojave Desert quality to it not heard elsewhere in their catalog. Best of all, however, are “Change Has Come” and “I’ve Seen You Before.” The former has such an amazing melody that you don’t notice the simplicity of the underlying guitar riff. The latter builds atop a drone that wouldn’t sound out of place on Soundgarden’s Ultramega: OK; this is the aforementioned fifth song that didn’t appear on the vinyl.

We do still own a few Screaming Trees odds and ends, including the cool EP they did with Beat Happening, but we’ll post those later because we’re a bunch of teases, and we plan to string you along for months and months.

Change Has Come
Days

Flashes
Time Speaks Her Golden Tongue
I’ve Seen You Before

The zip file can be found here.

13 comments:

Yannick said...

I only have the sst years best of, of the screaming trees and I like it a lot

John said...

Only three of these songs are actually linked, and none of them actually are for real MP3 files...

Lamestain HQ said...

That's strange. The files are definitely mp3 files, but I don't know why they're not linking. I'll look into it. In the mean time, the zip file should still work.

Lamestain HQ said...

I double-checked the links, and they're all correct. We've apparently ran out of downloads for the time being. The .zip file contains all of the mp3s and should still work, however. Sorry about the headache.

La bUze said...

The first period of Screaming Trees is very different from the 2nd (more psychedelic too) but I like it too... A lot of good songs and the 'Even If...' is excellent.
I also have the 2 EPs: Golden Tongue (quite good, especially the eponym song) and the BeatHappening, this last one is more anecdotal...

(tall) Chris said...

I wonder how much I can get for my cassette copy?

Joe Stumble said...

I saw the Screming Trees right around the time they were making the leap from "first Period" to "second period" on a triple bill with Das Damen and Die Kruetzen (sp?)....they totally blew me away. Very underrated band. Was thier final post- Nirvana boom major label stuff a "third period"?

Joe Stumble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

would you know if any record stores would sell any screaming trees cds?z

Dr Wommm said...

Thank you so much for this, my copy disappeared ages ago when I moved house. Any chance of re-upping Flashes, the link seems to be broken. Cheers

Anonymous said...

"flashes" rips

Famouslast said...

Screaming Trees have/had something different that many bands fail to achieve. First they have several different "sounds". Their first SST works were almost a kind of surfpunk or skatepunk flavour. By the time songs like "End of the Universe" were written they were into another mode-- a buzzsaw rock with clever melodies and lyrically superior to most rock bands. When Uncle Anethesia was released they had achieved a classic rock sound that few artists ever achieve. Sweet Oblivion and Dust are just extentions of that classic rock sound. The only other band out of Seattle that could mix the psychedelia with punk and rock really well was Love Battery. Although I missed Mark Pickerel on drums, Barrett brought that smashing tribal sound that he refined with Skin Yard and took the SC to new heights. A classic band with a classic driving sound. I didn't mention the brothers. Of course, the trees would not be the trees without their buzzing, bouncing, and wailing.

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