Release Date: Oct 16, 2012
Record label: Spark & Shine
Ken Stringfellow, despite an eight-year drought between solo albums, has kept himself busy since 2004's well-received Soft Commands by playing with R.E.M. and a re-formed Big Star and releasing an EP, a new Posies record, and two albums with his Norwegian garage rock outfit the Disciplines. Released in 2012, Danzig in the Moonlight finds the venerable singer/songwriter tossing all of those experiences into the soup pot and serving up a real horn of plenty.
One of the things I wonder most – and what I consider an obligatory interview question for those concerned – is how an artist who simultaneously fronts a band and maintains a solo project determines which songs are used for which vehicle. Sometimes, the distinction is obvious – the Postal Service, for example, sounds radically unlike Death Cab for Cutie, and it’s safe to assume that those compositions simply necessitated the conception of an additional project. The same can be said about a venture like the Foxboro Hot Tubs, a stellar but short-lived Nuggets-y garage revival band that featured the members of Green Day letting their hair down under a separate guise.
There’s little shocking about Ken Stringfellow‘s third solo album, Danzig In The Moonlight, but that’s not a bad thing. Stringfellow, best known for his work with The Posies as well as his contributions to Big Star and R.E.M., is a pop lifer, and the best songs on his latest sprawling solo effort stick closest to his tried and true melodies and hooks. Stringfellow’s gentle sensitivity, his lullaby drawl, and his knack for a soft melody are all on full display on keepers like “110 or 220 V”.