Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe is the gothic death disco you never knew you needed

Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe
(Image credit: Rare Bird / Kitten Robot Records)

Anyone who’s read Mark Lanegan’s brutally honest and entirely unforgettable autobiography Sing Backwards And Weep, will know that the former Screaming Trees frontman lost a serious amount of time in his colourful life battling various drug addictions. Having moved on to a new, clean phase, the singer has enjoyed a hugely prolific 2020, releasing a new solo collection, Straight Songs Of Sorrow, prepping a forthcoming Christmas album (Dark Mark Does Christmas 2020) and even sneaking out a low-key five-track EP from his gothic new wave side project Black Phoebe, fronted by his wife Shelley Brien. And he’s not finished yet…

The singer is revisiting his Dark Mark persona for a new side project with former Icarus Line frontman Joe Cardamone. Titled Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe, the duo’s new music breaks virgin ground for both men, occupying a sonic niche we’ve decided to call ‘gothic death disco’.

“The fact that it’s not like anything either one of us have done before is what makes this so interesting for me,” Lanegan told Rolling Stone’s website. “When you have done as much stuff as Joe and I you have to constantly search for the different and challenging to keep yourself engaged.”

The pair have shared teaser of two tracks - Dark Mark Theme and Skeleton Joe Manifesto - from their forthcoming album, which is expected in 2021. The songs will be released on 12-inch vinyl via Rare Bird / Kitten Robot Records in March.

“There is a full record. It’s done and in the can,” Lanegan tells Rolling Stone. “We were originally intending to release it earlier, but, with the pandemic, and other things going on in the world, it just hasn’t seemed appropriate. Now, we both feel more comfortable creeping some of this material into the open, and these two tracks are just a teaser for what’s to come with the full length.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.