The Blacks Announce Digital EP

One of the truly original and exciting bands to emerge out of the late 90s Chicago, The Blacks burned bright for two albums (1998's Dolly Horrorshow and 2000's Just Like Home, both on Bloodshot) then flamed out under their own volatility. After a decade of life's detours and dead ends, and after a buoyant reunion show at the Bloodshot Records 15th Anniversary Hideout Block Party in the fall of 2009, the stars aligned, drinks were poured---but not too many, and the record that was never supposed to happen happened. It only took ten years. From frank summations of a lost decade to soaring expressions of defiance and resilience, In Sickness and Health shows that The Blacks have lived enough to be weary, but weariness need not breed submission.

Book-ending the EP are stark confessionals that could be comfortably sung in a dimly lit basement studio or on the railing of a bridge. As we enter a new decade, singer/guitarist Danny Black’s near-whispered “Ten Years" is the theme song for blown chances and wasted time, while bassist/singer Gina Black (classically trained, but beats and bows the stand-up like few others) sings “If It All Falls Through” teetering on desperation, her voice cracking and breathless with resignation or hope, it’s hard to tell. Maybe she doesn’t even know. Maybe it’s the same thing.

In between are four songs bursting with sanguine energy. From the Flaming Lips soar of "Can’t Explain" to the Tom Waits gutter poetry of "Bottled & Flat" to the X inflected fractured romance of "I’m In Love," The Blacks alchemical balance of orchestral punk, rootsy psychedelia and gut bucket snarl conjures many reference points, but remains uniquely theirs. Guitarist/singer Nora O’Connor, (who spent much of the past decade singing with Andrew Bird, New Pornographers, Neko Case and Mavis Staples, as well as releasing the solo album 2004's Til the Dawn), with her simple raw and melodic playing and ethereal bluebird of a voice, and drummer James Emmenegger, all wide lapels and flailing arms, round out this, the classic line up of the Blacks, and make them more than the sum of their parts; their particular talents and demons making for fertile and exhilarating turns, and the production making for an intimate headphones record, suitable for when you're low or when you're high.

As the music industry staggers into its Brave New World, In Sickness and Health is a digital-only EP releasing on March 9th. The first 300 downloads come with a limited-edition poster designed by Danny Black and silk screened by Crosshair Silkscreen. All downloads of the EP include an enhanced package of lyrics, original artwork, photos and the documentary on the Blacks rise and fall, "Bring It Back From The Dead" by John Boston and Glorious Noise Productions.

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