PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Various Artists: True Blood Vol. Four

Good news humans, True Blood Vol. Four doesn't "suck". Hell some of it's even "fang"tastic!

Various Artists

True Blood Vol. Four

Label: ATO
US Release Date: 2013-05-28
UK Release Date: 2013-05-28

HBO's True Blood may be getting a little long in the tooth with its blood-soaked carousel of bit part half-faeries, plaid-clad shifters, Werepanthers, Lyncathropic toddlers and Rutger "Where Am I?" Hauer but its accompanying seasonal sweep-up soundtracks are proving finger lickin' good. Vol. Four picks the bones from Season Five and the current Season Six, again mixing newbloods with a splash of veteran vintage. But whereas Vol. Three favoured an Alt-Goth touch (Nick Cave, Siouxsie, PJ Harvey), this set slides back down south with mo' rhythm 'n' blues, soul and spit 'n' sawdust swagger.

The first blood spilt may be a tad rum: The Animals' Eric Burdon mauling a grouchy "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" as if he's been rudely dragged outta bed on a Sunday, but much of the rest is pretty darn tasty. The surely Vampiric Iggy Pop joins Best Coast's vivacious Bethany Cosentino for an early highlight on the original "Let's Boot and Rally". Sounding like the Munsters' theme resurrected by the B-52s, it's a Ray-Ban riot on the beach as gloriously Go-Go goofy as the show in its pomp. "Hot like a Vamp with a suntan" duo Deap Vally's "(She's a) Wanderer" is equally lightnin' loose and lookin' for trouble. Filthy degenerate delicious and sparklin' heat like early Yeah Yeah Yeah's it's a spit n' sawdust firecracker. "Can you feel ... my ... heart ... BEAT?!" it bellows like Godzilla in heels. Elsewhere there's a fine new cut from Alabama Shakes – all reassuringly authentic, dusty, locomotive rattle and Brittany Howard's stellar out o' time voice – and a top drawer 'from-the-crypt' rarity from the Flaming Lips, "Your Face Can Tell the Future". A "Do You Realize??"-style kiss from the Lips' rather than an acid-fried smacker. It's minor chord acoustic, swaying cellos and sad face “Is this it?” disappointment. Underrated Kiwi's the Naked and Famous bring out "The Sun" – broody sizzle with Sci-fi bleeps – whilst Warpaint's "Undertow" gets another catwalk call and proves as seductively sultry n' bewitching as ever. Colour me glamour'd.

To lesser hypnotic effect there's also Led Zep lovin', "Armadillos in our trousers", lion mane hair, foot-on-amp preposterousness from Brit Muthas the Heavy, Bosco Delrey bustin' his moves like Jagger on a hyperactive romp through John "Cougarfree" Mellencamp's "Authority Song" and Austin's Mobley painting White Stripes across a tub thumpin' take of the Beatles' / Stones' "I Wanna Be Your Man". My Morning Jacket conjure a respectful phantom of the Byrds' version of "Turn Turn Turn", which is pointless perhaps but their newly anointed fuzzy guitar outro works wonders. There's also a Vegas Cabaret knees-up version of WWII last dancer "We'll Meet Again" by Los Lobos. Endearingly daft.

Vol. Four waves its cape slightly more reverentially to its ancestors via a pair of 'Genuine Article' legends. Koko "Queen of the Blues" Taylor brings hella true grit and bitter bite with the amusingly apt "Whatever I Am, You Made Me". Unlike yer Modern Vamps Ms Taylor packs the kind of housequakin' holler that doesn't bother to knock. But Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightnin'" is surely the true immortal here. Written in the ‘30s and recorded in the ‘50s, its voodoo hoodoo, Mississippi mojo sounds potent, devilish, eternal.

Despite inspiring much chin-stroking "What the hell would a Vampire listen to anyway?" debate, Vol. Four, like its three Grammy-nominated kinfolk, has been clearly compiled with care. Though not truly 'essential', if you were to meet it at some clandestine crossroads 'neath a silvery full moon it would certainly suffice a pleasant enough midnight snack. 'Tis not just for Fangbangers then.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.