Love the True Detective theme? A brief intro to The Handsome Family
February 27, 2014 12:15 PM   Subscribe

The Handsome Family are an alt-country and americana band based in Albuquerque via Chicago, Texas and Long Island. They have currently finding a new audience thanks to having their song Far From Any Road used as the theme from True Detective on HBO.

They are husband and wife Brett and Rennie Sparks. Brett writes the music and Rennie writes the wonderful words. Their songs are often dark, sometimes funny and always full of great images.

They have released 9 studio albums, 2 compilations of demos and covers (Beatles),(Leonard Cohen) and 1 live album

They sing songs about insect love, Robert Wadlow, avian holocaust, Brett's experience in a bi-polar ward, Amelia Earhart, becoming a ghost, Tesla and of course Loving Someone So Much You have To Kill Them Their onstage back and forth and bickering is a large part of their live show.

Rennie is also an author , painter and occasional lecturer - Pretty Polly and the Itsy Bitsy Spider, strange fascinations and mysterious bloodshed in the wilderness of folk song.

Weightless - A short story

Bonus links

- Murder Ballad Special radio show

-Tour diary - The Handsome Family and Barenaked Ladies Sea Cruise
posted by gnuhavenpier (20 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Not to not brag, but...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:25 PM on February 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Really dig them.
"So Much Wine"
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:26 PM on February 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

It's also might be worth mentioning that they are pretty good live.

The banter between the leads and what they sing is really good.
posted by sien at 12:31 PM on February 27, 2014

As far as I can tell this band is a little free trip to existential magical cowboy realism story song dread land so I approve.
posted by The Whelk at 12:38 PM on February 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

My favorite song of theirs is 'Birds You Cannot See' which pushes some button in me so that every time I hear it I burst into cathartic tears.

I do love In The Air, but my heart belongs to Twilight.
posted by winna at 12:51 PM on February 27, 2014

I love it when my fellow music supervisors actually do it up right and deservedly promote an artist that's been tilling their own smart little patch of land for years upon years.
posted by mykescipark at 12:59 PM on February 27, 2014

They are fantastic live. As second best to actually seeing them at a gig, there's a bunch of shows on the Internet Archive.
posted by coleboptera at 1:08 PM on February 27, 2014

Nobody deserves these HBO nickels more than good ol' Brett and Rennie Sparks.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:28 PM on February 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

They've been at it for a long time, and yes they are fantastic live, and yes they are pretty nice people to talk to . Rennie is (or was, when I met her years ago) quite shy.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:34 PM on February 27, 2014

Whenever I hear the opening notes of the theme song, I think "Wanderer" by Del Shannon, which makes me think of "Crime Story".

RIP Dennis Farina.
posted by inturnaround at 1:58 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of my favourite bands live, wouldn't miss them, really looking forward to them coming over in May. If they are playing near you, make the effort to go. Well worth it.
posted by twistedonion at 2:48 PM on February 27, 2014

I've seen these guys live a couple of times. They are absolutely fantastic and very nice in person. Rennie is absolutely hilarious. I really hope they are paid well for HBO's use of their song.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:24 PM on February 27, 2014

My kids love their song about the octopus.
posted by Wavelet at 4:07 PM on February 27, 2014

In 2005 they played twice on the stage I was volunteering on at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Some artists are so self-possessed and so real that you can't forget them for their candour and look-you-straight-in-the-eye approach. When you combine that with a spare and arresting style and song-writing that sets your brain on fire ... well, you get the picture. Well-deserved! Finally!

"Reading Moby Dick, on the other bed."
posted by kneecapped at 4:53 PM on February 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love the opening sequence. It's a good thing they didn't go with their original choice for the theme song.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:18 PM on February 27, 2014

We see them anytime they're in town with the enthusiasm of visiting old friends. (Even though we don't actually know them personally. Unless you count always finding them after the show to thank them for playing.)
posted by desuetude at 5:26 PM on February 27, 2014

Saw them, lo many years ago, bought a poster and had them autograph it for my now wife:

Happy R-Day Amy - Brett

Dear Amy, I hope you don't get spiders for your birthday. [heart] Rennie
posted by NoMich at 6:10 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought a copy of "Evil" from them back in, God, was it 2001? when they played Frederick's Music Lounge. I recall some drunk chick heckling them, and Rennie heckling back.

I need to read that book again.
posted by notsnot at 6:21 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

So the Angelfire CSS circa 2003 is what the hip kids are into today? \

Seriously, I love the music.
posted by Miko at 8:06 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

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