Carrot Top Records

artists | catalog | tour dates | contactIn the Air Cover art

Listen to So Much Wine and
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from the current release:

The Handsome Family-In the Air CD
Carrot Top Records Cat. No. SAKI023
Distributor Price: $7.50/List Price: $14.98
Ship Date: 2/7/00//Release Date: 2/14/00 (Valentine’s Day)
UPC: 7 89397-0023-2-2

“Brett & Rennie Sparks live in a mysterious rural underworld filled with
chilling tales & exhilarating harmonies.” - CMJ

The Handsome Family rise out of the shadowy forest on their new CD, In the Air, & up into a world of gypsy moths, circling crows, & seeds in the wind. Fireflies in the summer night, rocks rolling uphill, clothes thrown in the snow, whispering waves, & milky moonlight all find themselves circling the night sky of the Handsome Family's latest effort. Murder & love, terror & serenity, sadness & joy--all of these feelings float like leaves lingering a moment within the tracks of In the Air. It exudes the fragile beauty of handwoven lace covering the bloody corpse of your long lost love who's been disemboweled by a wolf pack; a record that doesn't shy away from the essential bittersweetness of human life.

The new CD was again recorded in their living room. All sounds were captured on a Macintosh G3 (No tape! Hurrah!). This time the trusty drum machine from Through the Trees was replaced by Brett clunking on various dented cymbals, warped snares, dusty tambourines & a plastic garbage pail. Underneath the guitar & bass you'll hear autoharp, mandolin, melodica, harmonica, as well as church choirs, English horns, & pipe organs culled from the depths of our trusty noise-makers. Guest musician Andrew Bird added a layer of the diabolic with his virtuoso violin.

Who are the Handsome Family? Husband & wife, Brett & Rennie Sparks have been collaborating as songwriters for over five years. Brett, the bipolar Texan, writes the music. He spent his early years listening to opera & eating biscuits & gravy. Rennie, the lyricist, grew up on the shores of Long Island where she swears she never entered a room without spotting a spider on the wall.

The last Handsome Family CD, Through the Trees, brought the band worldwide attention (i.e. they quit their day jobs). Touring took them through the USA both alone & with the Mekons, as well as to the United Kingdom with sidetrips to Holland, Norway & Belgium. England's Uncut magazine named Through the Trees the "Best New Country Album of the Year" & Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune pronounced it one of the Best 10 Records of the Year as well as the number one local release. Chicago Sun-Times music writer Jim DeRogatis placed it as one of the ten most important albums to ever come out of Chicago.

“Each song is like an abridged Flannery O'Connor story read aloud by Johnny Cash, hovering somewhere between the metaphysical & the mundane.”- NME

Read the Handsome Family Bio and Discography
Read about other The Handsome Family Recordings on Carrot Top Records

See Handsome Family Tour Dates

The Handsome Family built their own site.
Read a review of Through the Trees at Salon
Read a review of In the Air by Peter Margasak at the Chicago Reader
Check out this interview with Jim DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun Times

For booking information about The Handsome Family, visit Tough Guy

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