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Last Words: The Final Recordings

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The ‘90s alternative wave didn’t help everyone who participated. Screaming Trees had been a modestly successful blues-punk-psychedelic group that gained a harder edge after signing to a major label. After a touch of success, Screaming Trees found themselves without a label, and Last Words sat in limbo for 12 years until drummer Barrett Martin finally released it himself. The recordings were made at Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s studio, circa ‘98-‘99, and they’re top-notch. Back to their raw beginnings, but with singer Mark Lanegan’s growl ever more authoritative, The Final Recordings stands among the group’s finest releases. “Crawlspace” cuts with precision as a bluesy-punk snarl filtered through effects increases the unease. “Reflections” has a backwoods folk feel as the backing vocals approach the sounds of a séance. “Tomorrow Changes” samples psychedelic pop, while “Anita Grey” has a lighter feel, closer in line with the group’s late-‘80s output. “Ash Gray Sunday,” “Revelator,” and “Last Words” make the case for Screaming Trees as one of the most underrated groups of the ‘90s.


Formed: 1985 in Ellensburg, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Where many of their Seattle-based contemporaries dealt in reconstructed Black Sabbath and Stooges riffs, Screaming Trees fused '60s psychedelia and garage rock with '70s hard rock and '80s punk. Over the course of their career, their more abrasive punk roots eventually gave way to a hard-edged, rootsy psychedelia that drew from rock and folk equally. After releasing several albums on indie labels like SST and Sub Pop, Screaming Trees moved to Epic Records in 1989. Though they were one of the first...
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Last Words: The Final Recordings, Screaming Trees
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