Tag Archives: The Afghan Whigs

My 14 of 2014

December 25th. I think the time for me to write my list of 2014 albums has finally arrived, even though I’ve been delaying this moment to the max.

I feel a bit frustrated because I’ve been so busy I haven’t been updated my album of the week section much, perhaps because I always like to develop the post a bit, add some story behind or develop my enthusiasm so I can sell the product in the best way, so to speak.

2014 in terms of album releases has been fabulous, and I’ve discovered many bands and discographies I had never been into before, which now I follow passionately. The two main reasons for a very eclectic list have been RockZone Magazine, which has placed names I wasn’t acquainted with right in front of my eyes, and since I’m more involved in the mag I felt the curiosity to dig into that stuff, and of course my beloved forum and the awesome people I have the luck to discuss about music and lots of other funny shit on almost a daily basis.

The problem here is that in a month I’ve written down a couple of lists and I’ve changed orders and modified/added records, because there’s so much stuff I haven’t managed to listen to I’m still discovering awesome things, which means that list could change in a month, but this list defines what I like the most lately.

Hope you find it interesting enough as to dig into the albums.

RYAN ADAMS / BEAUTY & RUIN

Sharing the throne like father and son, it couldn’t be any other way.

ryan adams ryan adams

 My fave messy hair boy has turned the screw magnificently and has delivered one of his most remarkable works up to date. I was a huge fan of The Cardinals era, and the last works left me a bit cold, but with Ryan Adams, breathing the essence of Tom Petty, has truly jumped to an upper level. More rock, more groove, and more livid. I think of ‘Trouble’, ‘Kim’, ‘am I Safe’ to start with, but I should mention all the songs as they are all absolutely terrific. As a complement, Adams previously issued a 16 minute ep named 1984, which was an excellent homage paid to 80’s American punk. 2014 has meant the rise of Ryan Adams at all levels, as he’s constantly playing life, issuing different singles and nonstop creating.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/09/09/ryan-adams-is-finally-here/

bob mould

Bob Mould is one of the biggest discoveries this year. I had barely listened to Hüsker Dü in the past, and this guy, thanks to Beauty & Ruin, has opened the doors to his universe. Another workaholic and singular character, very close to Ryan Adams nowadays, and with an immense talent. Songs such as ‘Low Season’, ‘I don’t know you anymore’ or ‘The War’ really make me vibe.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/10/19/album-of-week-42-beauty-ruin/

ANTEMASQUE

antemasque album

Cedric and Omar are back in track and this time they’ve got rid of lots of ornaments and progressive style to deliver straight and energetic songs so easy to assimilate, you get hooked in a nick of time.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/11/08/album-of-weeks-44-45-antemasque/

DO TO THE BEAST

do to the beast

The Afghan Whigs have assured their comeback releasing and impressive album which is not the continuity to their previous work but the starting point to a new promising future. Elegance and uniqueness are their trademark and once again they’ve proved they should be among the greatest bands on earth.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/04/10/album-of-week-15-do-to-the-beast/

INTO THE MAELSTROM

bigelf

Not being into prog, Into the Maelstrom is so expressive and grandiloquent, the result is a record with overwhelming songs. It’s like an intense trip to the vast corners of the land of the future, it opens your mind to a different experience and the ride is magnificent.

TILL MIDNIGHT

chuck ragan

Strong folkie tunes full of passion and intensity. Not the typical mild songs but rough ones as if it was a shot of bourbon you had. Harsh, hot, painful and glorious. Absolutely delightful, the more you listen to it, the more you love it, the more you want to fall in love with someone with Till Midnight as the most suitable soundtrack to live that with.

MÖNGOL HÖRDE

mongol horde

Frank Turner is not just a folkie boy. He’s got balls and he loves hardcore, and this project seems to be the perfect outlet for anger, rage and frustration. not many people around me are aware of this treasure, which contains absolute anthems.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/06/30/album-of-weeks-24-26-mongol-horde/

GREAT WESTERN VALKYRIE

rival sons

If Rival Sons had kept on tryinf emulate Led Zepp I wouldn’t be talking about this record, but these guys seem to have found a marking point to find their own style and sound and have delivered an outstanding album.

EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT IN THE END

weezer

First Weezer album which hooked me immediately. Very teenager melodies mixed with brilliant guitars, great structures with wonderful chorus, have this time caught my attention.

TRANSGENDER DYSPHORIA BLUES

against me transgender dysphoria blues

Emotionally speaking probably this album should be on top for all what Laura Jane Grace and Against Me! have meant to me this year. I’ve learnt about dysforia, I got the chance to interview Laura, and attend one of the greatest live shows this year. I have nothing but great words and it’s awesome to find such a great confession and statement on this album.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/03/20/album-of-week-12-transgender-dysphoria-blues/

WASTED YEARS

off

Punk and mayhem. What else do you need sometimes? OFF! deliver that shot of energy and rage you need which prevents you from blowing this world.

BACK FROM THE ABYSS

back from the abyss

My boys made it good again. Excellent album which confirms years of hard work have been worth the effort. There are outstanding anthems and songs are well built and developed. They seem comfortable with what they’re doing and it’s finally reflected on this album.

III

mariachi el bronx

If I had been told I’d be listening to mariachi few years ago I’d still be laughing but I’m currently doing it and the punk guys from California dressed in killing suits have stolen my heart. Viva Mariachi El Bronx!

*** Please don’t judge by the cover.

GIGANTOID

gigantoid

It’s true there are not anthems in this albums in the way Fu Manchu used to do, but the riffs are incredible, heavier songs and this road spirit will always be present, and the trio does never fail me.

***

There are many other albums I’m discovering which probably would deserve to be included, but at this poin this is my list and the way I feel right now.

Still, I made this playlist with a selection of songs of my personal soundtrack of this year, which might be of your interest.

Album of week 15: DO TO THE BEAST

do to the beast

It’s funny the way we change our minds with the passing of time. years ago Greg Dulli was denying the possibility of a reunion of The Afghan Whigs. Probably he felt comfortable with his band  The Twilight Singers and other projects such as The Gutter Twins with his friend Mark Lanegan.

According to the singer, it had to be an acoustic concert in Chicago, with his pal John Curley, in 2010, which made him be at peace with the band, the wonderful legacy they’d left behind and those past times. Suddenly he found a extreme pleasure in playing old songs he had written himself, and probably it was a feeling of nostalgia what made him look for the band to play some live shows.

As you know I was lucky to attend their performance at Primavera Sound Festival in 2012, and I was even luckier to enjoy a 5 minutes talk with Dulli when I found him in the middle of a path at the fest. It was a delightful experience, and the dude seemed to be so friendly and attentive, leaving his beautiful blue eyes staring at me aside, I really had a crush on him.

I’ve been following him on different networks, and love the pics he posts on Instagram. He started uploading pictures at a recording studio and I started getting excited. When the band announced their first album to be published in 16 years through Sub Pop records, I was thrilled.

If there was some doubt of the quality of Do To The Beast, when the first single ‘Algiers’ was premiered , I felt some sort of relief mixed with joy, as it’s so brilliant! The vibe brings you to Sergio Leone’s westerns, and you can feel a taste of the dry sand of the desert. Very catchy, very classy.

I was assigned the review of the album for Rockzone, and spent at least 5 days just listening to it exclusively, to get deeply coated by its essence, and I concluded it’s an outstanding record, different from the past works, yet keeping 100% of the essence and sound of the band, but taking advantage of the freshness of a new beginning.

It was funny to discover about the spending opening track ‘Parked Outside’ on a track-by-track analysis written by Dulli himself, defined as a stripper song, because I had this same impression. there’s filth and decadence, and at the same time it’s sexy. I like this combination, I got a taste for the decadent-sensual imagery and music.

AfghanWhigs

I’m not gonna dissect Do To The Beast in depth, but affirm that it’s one of the best comeback albums I’ve recently listened to, and I feel optimistic thinking it will encourage The Afghan Whigs to stay active for a long time.

This band is not easy accessible at a first hearing, but with the time melodies, guitars, piano parts, that perfect imperfection in Dulli’s singing, the elegance and the atmospheres of their albums eventually seduce you, as if it was one of the hardest drugs, until you are completely hooked to them.

Hats off to the gentlemen!

THE NIGHT I GOT EVEN WITH THE AFGHAN WHIGS

What crazy times I’ve been living the past weeks, I’m still knackered after so many events, live shows, beers and silly nights. Not gonna complain at all, it’s been a blast and I feel grateful to all the partners who have been sharing those moments with me.

It’s Monday, well, past midnight, thus it’s actually Tuesday. Let’s say I’ve been chilling out for a couple of days and my mind is starting so settling down, although it’ll be on the move in a couple of days again. But that’s not relevant now, finally I feel focused enough as to talk about THE show I witnessed last Thursday at Primavera Sound Festival 2012. No, I’m not talking about Wilco, or Refused, not even Mudhoney nor Spiritualized, at last I made it up with The Afghan Whigs, or perhaps I should say their performance was the way I expected it should be back in July 99.

How many times have I refer to this band in this blog in the past months? Not enough considering my state of excitement waiting for this show. Since they were confirmed I knew I was gonna make it to the festival, and as soon as the exact date was confirmed I purchased my ticket.

I already explained here about my disappointment when I saw them in London 13 years ago. I had heard so many wonders related to this band and the lead singer, Greg Dulli,  I felt really frustrated when my expectations weren’t fulfilled. No emotion, no excitement, completely out of place, I couldn’t understand why everybody were praising the Whigs so much, and I wasn’t touched nor impressed, especially in a time when there were many things I was discovering and flipping with.

You know, I quickly forgot about them till someone started to play me the albums again 6 years later, reminding me of the show again, and making me wonder what had happened. Once their visit was confirmed I could only think of relieving of such bitter taste in my mouth.

 After the recent disappointments suffered with the performances of Manic Street Preachers, and Soundgarden, less than a week before, my anxiety and nervousness had increased alarmly. On one hand I was trying to chill out and low my expectations, on the other hand for me was like the last chance of a band I loved to redeem and help me believing in reunions and classic bands.

I was at the festival early in the afternoon so I could meet some people, have some beers, attend a couple of shows, and hurry up to the main stage.

20:40 still daylight, Greg Dulli and the rest of the band come out to the stage, including a huge velvet backdrop. Crime Scene Part One starts, and a couple of tears are rolling by my cheeks immediately. I’m starting moving towards the stage with I’m Her Slave, surprisingly managing to sneak to first rows quite centered very easy, completely on my own. Who cares? I only want to see, feel, sing…

The band sounded pretty solid, Dulli’s voice brilliant, and the elegance The Afghan Whigs spread, noticeable.

I was glad to see most people among the crowd were fans for real, at least everybody  around was singing and getting as excited as I was with every song.

Pity the show only lasted one hour sharp, the set list included songs from Congregation, Black Love, Gentlemen, and 1995, having a place for the new released single See and Don’t See. Whenever a  band responsible for so many awesome tunes elaborates a set list, trying to make the difference from the other tour shows, and intending to surprise the audience and create a special atmosphere, with not much time for the set, the fans will always feel a bit disappointed for not including THOSE hits we consider essential. Thus, I missed Debonair, John The Baptist or Somethin’ Hot, but the show was so powerful, the band was so incredible, and the atmosphere created with the combination of lights and the sunset by the beach, my happiness came from what I had just heard, rather than allowing frustration to ruin the moment.

I finished the show with my friends Toni and Felix, and some other acquaintances, and seeing everybody dancing and jumping in happy and shiny faces with Miles Iz Ded or Into The Floor, and once the show was done everybody hugging each other and shaking hands in approval was a picture I will never forget, because nowadays, this seldom happens, and it’s great enthusiasm was the king of the evening.

Here is the complete performance, hope you like it

After such intensity and emotions to the max, the sense of relief invaded me, and it was time to enjoy the rest of the night more in a party mood. Met some friends, hung around and went to see Mudhoney. I’m not a huge fan, just got one album, but the great company I was in, requested it, so there we were. What am I telling you this? Mmmmm, well, look what happened when I went to the bar to get some beers…

Hell yeah! All of a sudden I find Mr. Dulli on my way and just can’t help but lying on my knees. I was so excited it was hard to focus on what to say, but he was a gentleman, and kindly attended me for 5 minutes. I could tell him, among many other things that I had finally quivered with The Afghan Whigs, and when I explained my previous experience in 1999, not only he agreed but also replied telling me “We’re much better now”. I will never forget his eyes staring at mine, Dulli is not gorgeous, but he’s been said to be a seducer, a super taker. I could never comprehend why until I saw his irresistible glance. And yes, he was so nice! Grabbed my hand, asked my name, and he ok’d the picture…Perfect end for a perfect time. What a blast, holy shit!

Want to see some more of the pictures I took during the show ? Visit my Flickr account

ALBUM AND EP OF WEEK 17: RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND / A STICH IN TIME

The absence of serious obligations and responsibilities coming from a higher hierarchic level has brought  some sort of chaos to my life lately. Calendar is essential for the kind of tasks I usually perform, related to logistics. Forecasts, procedures and operations are arranged based on Estimated times of departures and arrivals, and few hours delay can cause much trouble.

Well, I don’t have such pressure right now, as I haven’t been working for a month already. I’d like to give otherwise news, but it’s not the case, so, we’ll keep on searching.

The relevance of the calendar has lost priority in my life, even since I got inked a couple of weeks ago, not carrying my wrist watch has also added to my time related chaos. Thus, I was reviewing my last posts and have noticed I hadn’t written about the album of the week for long time, and had to pick my organizer to check how many weeks I gotta update. Two, by the way, so be patient because I had to update once again to reach the current week 19, and music posts will be more present.

This been remarked, let’s hit the two albums, because I’m listening to lots of music lately, which caught my attention and interest the most.

At The Drive-In is one of these bands  which deserve my complete respect although I must admit, I’ve never dug into their discography the way they deserve up to date. It’s like I listen to some of their songs and think they’re terrific, but haven’t moved forward. Never too late, it’s said, I’m fixing this mistake lately, and will soon focus on something huge that I think I’m really missing, The Mars Volta.

It’s funny because I actually saw them on the streets in Camden lying on a wall, before I came back to Spain in 2000. How do I know? I had seen their pictures published in Kerrang Magazine several times, and even though Camden is full of eccentric characters, Goths, punks, rockers…those afros were unmistakable. If eye contact counts on my behalf, that was an encounter with At The Drive-In worth including in my memoires, Toi n’ The Stars. Yes, we looked at each other enough as to notice we were observing. I was wearing some remarkable t-shirt I cannot recall enough as to pay attention, and  I stared at their afros, having a laugh remembering my unfortunate perm which turned out to become an afro at age 13. I should have told them something, but since I hadn’t listened to their stuff,  focused on different business, didn’t consider it much appropriate, thus I kept walking.

Later I found out, this happened few months before their last album, Relationship of Command, my personal starter into the afro guys’ universe, was released.

And what has made me get hooked to this album? Many features could me listed, but all of them can be summed up into one adjective: POWERFUL.

Relationship of Command is an explosion, and consequently a release, of restrained aggressiveness. Controlled freaky mayhem, combining, intense melodies with insane vocals, symbolic lyrics, and complex patterns and structures of songs.

The experience of listening to this album is so intense and overwhelming, after 13 songs split into 40 minutes, I end up exhausted for real.

I’m particularly enjoying listening to music at nights through my headphones, and this album features so many arrangements and details, it is very shocking.

Let me show you a clear example, with Enfilade. Thrilling and devastating. No need to say anything else.

A Stich in Time is the second EP of The Twilight Singers, Greg Dulli’s main project for the past decade.

It had been many years since the last time I listened to this treasure, mainly because the copy which used to be at my former home, wasn’t mine, as usual. I had forgotten of its existence till few days before Mark Lanegan’s live show in Barcelona, when Live With Me, the amazing Massive Attack cover opening A Stich In Time, came back to my mind.

The collaboration among these two unique and charismatic characters is perfect. The result of the  combination of such different styles and personalities is simply thrilling.

This EP also features Mark Lanegan in Flashback, very very Afghan Whigs style, despite it belongs to Fat Freddys Drop. I had a crush on this one, especially for the lyrics.

There’s something natural in the way you touch me

There’s a feeling that I can’t explain

There’s something mystic  in the soul connection

There’s something magic in your misty eyes

Perhaps you think there’s nothing special in them, but the final result is very elegant and classy, and I find this song loaded with a great deal of sensuality.

The other three songs are fantastic too, worth remarking They Ride, but I have to be honest and admit the great value of this EP is the presence of Lanegan and, as explained, the combination of the two vocalists.

As I said half joking few days ago, and feeling very excited about the upcoming visit of The Afghan Whigs at the end of this month, I’m Dullied, or Dullized lately 🙂

ALBUMS OF WEEK 16 – 1965 / DEAD SET ON LIVING

Last week was a good one in terms of music, I recovered some albums, and listened to some new stuff. Well, couldn’t be other way, considering I’m not working and consequently I can add 8-10 hours to my personal amusement, so most tasks I spend my time carrying out, are accompanied with some music.

5 weeks remaining to see The Afghan Whigs at Primavera Sound Festival, I’m passing though a Dulli stage, thus I’m swallowing all the Whigs, Twilight Singers, Gutter Twins, and solo stuff.

Few months ago I told you about my weird experience attending a show of The Afghan Whigs in London, 1999, and Black Love, probably their most remarkable and praised album, together with Gentlemen.

This time I want to talk about 1965, actually my favorite album of The Whigs, and perhaps a bit underrated, something I really cannot comprehend.

The starter of the album, Somethin’ Hot,  is as effective as the ignition of the match right at the beginning, simply powerful. And yes, it is VERY hot indeed.

After lots of hearing and thinking, I’ve reached the conclusion that I simply adore Dulli’s imperfection in his voice and melodies, something I’ve just realized that caused me trouble and displeasure years ago, so probably this was another factor which increased my weird feelings towards what I saw at the Camden Palace show. What can I say? In terms of music, and in many others, human being is not arisen enlightened, and it takes time to value and appreciate certain things. I’m telling you this right now, but I got friends who despise Dulli’s voice for the same reason I adore.

Not the only case I’ve experienced such initial rejection to finally surrender to imperfection. I used to have the same feeling towards Neil Young, see?

Moreover, after assuming and enjoying imperfection, I reached another stage regarding Dulli’s voice, combined of course with the outstanding  instrumental part of the rest of the band, I find it HOT.

There are certain tunes to be highlighted in this album moving my emotions to the peak of the mountain, so to speak, which really move me and make me feel, not only musically speaking, but also because of the message of the lyrics.

Hey… Welcome home

I got a little wine

Some Marvin Gaye

Come on and taste me,

Come on and take me, I’m yours

Melting, literally… I’d sell my soul for finding a passionate guy telling me such thing. Grrrrr!!!

Uptown Again, 66, Citi Soleil, John The Baptist… basically the whole album contains a rate of groove and sensuality  capable of breaking any meter.

Alone in the dark , better in great company…nothing can go wrong with 1965.

Completely opposite to the elegance of Dulli and company, one of the album releases which has impressed me more this year up to date. Dead Set On Living.

To be honest I didn’t expect such style and energy in these guys. My preconceived idea of this band was quite opposite, so when I was assigned to review this album for a magazine and on Sunday afternoon, half recovered from massive hangover, I played this album with the headphones at loud volume it was a fuckin’ blast!!!

R.A.T.S, the song chosen for opening the album is like a fist right into your mouth, believe me, it IS like that. Long time since I’ve had such of feeling of “Damn, What is THIS?”. Supported by the collaboration of the leader of Sacrifice, Rob Urbinati, this song as the starter is EPIC WIN.

Road Sick, the first single of Dead Set on Living, is awesome! It reminds me of Fu Manchu, kind of punk-stoner-rock, right in the middle of King of The Road and California Crossing, a road song, intense, fast and loud. Aaah! I just love it!

There’s a variety of style and rhythm in the album, with some dark songs, and other ones more catchy. Anyway, quality in compositions is a constant throughout the album. The main aim of the band was to reflect the essence and the intensity of their live performances. Recording reduced takes to the minimum to catch all the spontaneity and the harshness, as well as the limited addition of arrangements , keeping their powerful sound as much intact as possible, a hard task Cancer Bats have managed to successfully accomplish.

Dead Set On Living is the adrenaline shot we often need to face the world and all its bullshit.

The band is visiting Barcelona in May, 21st, performing only their Bat Sabbath show, the Black Sabbath tribute they started some time ago during an after-show party at Sonisphere. I’d prefer to see them playing the new tunes, but I won’t miss the chance to see them by all means, and let me tell you something, if you like headbanging and rockin’ you shouldn’t miss them if playing in your city.

*Bat Sabbath Show @ Rocksound, Barcelona

ALBUMS OF WEEK 49 – BLACK LOVE / BLACKLISTED

During the 5 days I spent in Madrid, these two albums were essential during this winter break spare time. I’m unable to decide which one to choose as the album of the week, thus both of them must be referred to as the soundtrack of week 49.

THE AFGHAN WHIGS – BLACK LOVE

I started being in the mood for The Afghan Whigs a week before and all a sudden the announcement that the band members were joining back, emphasized the nonstop listening and the purchase of those almost forgotten album.

Not sure right now whether I explained my personal experience with the band led by Greg Dulli. I might repeat myself this time but I think it’s necessary to talk about it.

The Afghan Whigs used to be praised by the press in the 90’s, specially by the rock magazine I’ve been buying since I was 16, Popular 1 Rock.

When living in London I had the opportunity of attending one of their shows, in 1998, but it was a complete disappointment. On one hand I didn’t understand by Dulli was so respected when he was constantly singing out of tune. It was like I couldn’t get into the show, plus, with all due respect, it seemed like a gay party, full of homo couples not paying much attention to the show but chatting, kissing and cuddling. I felt quite out of the scene, not belonging to such atmosphere, and the songs didn’t catch me either. Thus I forgot about them for many years. It was my ex who reintroduced me to the band, and since then I really dig.

Black Love is a very dark album, apparently inspired by an attempt by Dulli to this work became the soundtrack of a film noir project he was developing, which never saw the public light. This is what I’ve always heard, I don’t really know, but it’s true it seems like following a kind of plot or pattern. You have to listen to the whole album.

The first 7 songs of the album are reckless and outstanding: My Enemy, Blame, etc. Step into the Light, Honky’s Ladder… these tracks really kick ass. However at this point the level and rhythm of the album decrease quite much, making this final stage a bit less bearable. It’s like all the action is concentrated on the first part, and the rest misses the emotion and intensity.

This reunion is something that really pleases me, and probably if attending the local festival they’re playing at in May 2012, I will come to terms with this band once and for all.

NEKO CASE – BLACKLISTED

It’s curious Neko Case’s third album is also marked by a very dark tone. My mood wasn’t so dark, but it’s true I was after something atmospheric and Blacklisted really was an option.

This was her third album, recorded after moving from Seattle. Seems that she was fed up with the city, reckoning it was a tough one. The cover picture shows a her lying on the road, right by an opened van with a Seattle plate, full of furniture and personal belongings.

Country is quite rooted in the style, classic instruments such as banjos and pedal steels are present in the compositions, but it’s different. Blacklisted is dark, intense and deep.

I’ve always thought Neko’s voice is unique. Beautiful, strong and powerful, a delicacy difficult to explain, her style is elegant and very personal, has something sexy and attractive too. Being completely subjective, I’d say she’s currently my favorite female singer.

Perharps this cut belonging to this album I’m talking about, might reflect what I find hard to explain. I’m in love with Neko Case

DEEP RED BELLS