The Czars Best Of on 2LP + CD
Bella Union is thrilled to announce the release of Best Of, an album which gathers together the finest recordings of John Grant's former band The Czars. Despite great acclaim at the time The Czars remain one of Denver’s best-kept secrets. Over the course of their career they couldn't quite turn critical salvos into commercial success. Then, when the band split up in 2004 after their fifth album - the presciently titled Goodbye – nothing was heard from any member for six years. So when John reappeared in 2010 with his landmark solo debut Queen Of Denmark, some thought he was a new artist, without a back-story that stretches as far back as 1994 when the band originally formed.
The Best Of The Czars is made up predominantly from the run of three studio albums that Bella Union released between 2000 and 2004. Before...But Longer donates the first four songs, 2002’s The Ugly People Vs The Beautiful People the next six, and Goodbye the next five. The final track is an exquisite reading of Tim Buckley’s signature standard “Song To The Siren” taken from 2005’s B-sides/covers compilation Sorry I Made You Cry.
Grant is his own fiercest critic, and says of all Czars albums he only stands by Goodbye. “It’s the only one that came anywhere close to being what I’d hoped for,” he reckons. “Out of the five albums we made, there’s one good solid album of material.” Well, John, here it is. But The Best Of The Czars isn’t merely good; it’s magnificent. At their best, The Czars mastered a luminous and stately country-folk’n’western noir shot through with a classic songwriting twist. On various tours since his solo debut, Grant has performed three old Czars tracks: "Drug" (from The Ugly People…), "Paint The Moon" and "Little Pink House" (from Goodbye). “They’re the Czars songs I most connect to in performance, that I’m proudest of, that flowed out of me as complete products,” says Grant.
As a whole, though, the band remains a conflicted memory for the singer. “I had so much fear at the time, I wanted to try and control everything around me, which I feel affected my voice,” he admits. “Only now do I feel that voice is coming out of its shell, and that I’m comfortable in my own skin. But the music is an important part of my history, so it deserves to be heard.” Indeed it does. It’s too recent to classify The Czars as “buried treasure” but this compilation will be a revelation for John Grant lovers who don’t know the band.
The Czars Best Of Track Listing:
3. Get Used To It
4. Dave's Dream
5. Roger's Song
7. Side Effects
10. Lullaby 6000
1. Paint The Moon
3. My Love
5. Little Pink House
6. Song To The Siren