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The Handsome Family, 'Joseph'

Listen closely to The Handsome Family and it's as if you have stepped into a strange, shimmering plane. With "Joseph" from the forthcoming album Hollow, husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks contrast a foreboding, supernatural scene with the sweet simplicity of their piano-driven, waltz-like melody, complete with a straightforward yet emotive guitar solo.

Known for their songs about tragic historical figures, Brett Sparks says "Joseph" actually came from a dream: "It was a bleak winter during the middle of the pandemic. One night around 4 a.m., Rennie started screaming in her sleep. She screamed, 'Come into the circle Joseph! There's no moon tonight.' Scary as it was, I thought, 'Man, that's a good chorus!' " They garnish "Joseph" with what sounds like a sitar throughout (actually an overdriven electric guitar), but especially at the song's close, putting a bow on the otherworldly vignette: "Crawl under the bed / Whisper my name / It's time to begin."

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Joe Kendrick
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