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The Afghan Whigs — Do To The Beast [2014]

The Afghan Whigs — Do To The Beast [April 15, 2014]

 The Afghan Whigs — Do To The Beast

♣   Their first album in 16 years this April.  Score: ½
♣   „I make most of my records rather selfishly, they're done for me by me. That someone else would like it is just a bonus.” — Greg Dulli
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Album release: April 15, 2014
Record Label: Sub Pop (Catalog No SP1061)
Duration:     40:49
01. Parked Outside      4:37
02. Matamoros      2:43
03. It Kills      3:33
04. Algiers      4:03
05. Lost In The Woods      4:54
06. The Lottery      4:05
07. Can Rova      3:44
08. Royal Cream      4:33
09. I Am Fire      2:51
10. These Sticks      5:46
2014 Sub Pop Records
♣   “Do to the Beast is the first new album by The Afghan Whigs in over a decade and a half. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1988, the band has long stood out from its peers, with their savage blend of hard rock, classic soul, and frontman Greg Dulli's searing angst and obsessions. The new album is both a homecoming it marks their return to Sub Pop and a glimpse into the future of one of the most acclaimed bands of the past thirty years.”
In french:
♣   Retour, apres 16 ans d'absence (meme s'il convient de ne pas oublier les projets paralleles ou solos de Greg Dulli), d'un des meilleurs groupes de la scene alternative rock US des années 90. Recommandé.
Description from label:
♣   *The non-Loser edition of the LP (which will ship out once the Losers are all sold out) will also be 180 gram, 45 rpm vinyl, but on classic black vinyl instead of white, in case there is any confusion about that. Thanks!)
♣   Do to the Beast is the first new album by The Afghan Whigs in over a decade and a half. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1988, the band has long stood out from its peers, with their savage, rapturous blend of hard rock, classic soul, and frontman Greg Dulli’s searing obsessions. The new album serves as both a homecoming — it marks their return to Sub Pop, for whom the Whigs were the first signing from outside the label’s Northwest base — and a glimpse into the future of one of the most acclaimed bands of the past thirty years.
♣   Do to the Beast proves an appropriately feral title for one of the most intense, cathartic records of Dulli’s entire career — one that adds fresh twists to The Afghan Whigs canon. On it, one finds the film noir storytelling of Black Love, the exuberance of 1965, the brutal introspection of Gentlemen, but rendered with a galvanized musical spirit and rhythmic heft that suggests transcendence and hope amidst the bloodletting. ♣   “A lot of records I’ve done stemmed from epochal experiences in my life — and this time I’ve used them all,” Dulli says. “These new songs are very visual to me. They come from the neighborhoods of my mind. It’s like Rashomon, with the story told from different points of memory.”
♣   Do to the Beast was created in L.A., New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Joshua Tree — a virtual map of the band’s past and present homes. “The album was named in Cincinnati, which is especially fitting,” Dulli notes. “I was recording a beatbox track for the song ‘Matamoros,’ and my friend Manuel Agnelli (of Italian rock band Afterhours) was in the control room. After I finished, he said it sounded like I was singing ‘Do to the beast what you do to the bush.’ And I thought, ‘Brother, you just named the record.’”
♣   Do to the Beast features Dulli and Curley joined by the Whigs’ current core players — guitarists Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic, multi–instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and drummer Cully Symington. While original Whigs guitarist Rick McCollum does not appear on the record, a panoply of notable personages from the group’s past and present make memorable cameos: soul maverick Van Hunt, Mark McGuire (Emeralds), Usher’s musical director Johnny “Natural” Najera, Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys), Clay Tarver (Bullet LaVolta, Chavez), Dave Catching (QOTSA, Eagles of Death Metal), Patrick Keeler (Raconteurs, Greenhornes), Ben Daughtrey (Squirrel Bait), Joseph Arthur, and a host of others. For Dulli, these outside collaborators add crucial dimension. “Someone like Alain is a great texturalist,” Dulli says. “He and Mark McGuire create these, womblike tapestries and nuances. And Johnny Natural blew our minds when we played with him and Usher at South By Southwest. They were all instructed to play guitar not as guitar, but to create a supernatural sound — and each one of them ran with that.”
♣   Likewise, “It Kills” contrasts its lush Gamble and Huff–style orchestration with Van Hunt unleashing a passionate virtuoso howl — transforming the song in the process. ♣   “We’d brought Van Hunt on tour with the Whigs, and began duetting on his song ‘Mean Sleep’ together every night.,” Dulli notes. “He’d do this scream live that he didn’t do on the recording; and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, he sounds like Bobby Womack!’ When I wrote ‘It Kills,’ I wanted another voice on it, like a Greek chorus, so I called Van. I said, “Do whatever you like, just try not to use actual words — and if you can do that Bobby Womack thing, do that, too!”
♣   Indeed, Do to the Beast takes The Afghan Whigs to previously uncharted zones. That’s clear from the Lennonesque primal screaming announcing album opener “Parked Outside” — one of the hardest–rocking Whigs songs ever, propelled by a pile–driving riff that would make Malcolm Young envious. First single “Algiers,” meanwhile, hotwires a pounding “Be My Baby” drumbeat with spaghetti–western atmospherics. Elsewhere, “Matamoros” — named after a town in Mexico cursed by a series of Satanic murders — finds Dulli at his most psychosexually sinister: over its relentless, Zeppelin–meets–disco groove, he coolly threatens to expose “every little crime that you hide.”
♣   Such themes of duality, viscera, and love destroyed echo throughout tracks that dynamically flow in and out of each other — from ambitious revenge fantasy “These Sticks” to album centerpiece “Lost in the Woods.” Here, Dulli imagines himself on his deathbed in an especially haunting lyric, set to a swinging melody evoking Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. “That song resonates the most with me,” he says. ♣   “It reminds me of my childhood; sitting in the back of my parents’ Bonneville hearing ‘You’re My Best Friend’ by Queen on AM radio. I played a distorted Wurlitzer at the end to capture that feeling; I did a lot of little personal homages like that throughout this record.”
♣   That there’s even a new Afghan Whigs release at all comes as something of a surprise, even to its members. After the band initially split in 2001, Dulli went on to considerable notoriety with his bands The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins (the latter an ongoing collaboration with close friend Mark Lanegan). While Whigs songs would pop up occasionally in his sets, Dulli didn’t fully engage that material again until a solo acoustic tour in 2010, which Curley joined for a few dates. The Afghan Whigs subsequently reunited for a successful 2012 tour that found them headlining major festivals like Lollapalooza, curating their own All Tomorrow’s Parties gathering, and selling out prestigious venues throughout the U.S., Europe, and Southern Hemisphere. But once the tour was over, so, apparently, were the Whigs. “We played a final New Year’s Eve show in Cincinnati,” Dulli recalls. “And I assumed we were done. We’d completed the cycle.”
♣   That wasn’t actually the case, however. The Afghan Whigs were unexpectedly brought back into the ring by The Fader, which had arranged for them to play a surprise collaborative set with R&B superstar Usher at 2013’s SXSW conference. “That moment crystallized the possibility that we’d record together again,” Curley says. “Soon after, Greg began compiling the ideas he’d kept in his pocket that he felt were distinctly Whigs songs.”
♣   Reunited anew, The Afghan Whigs will tour worldwide in support of Do to the Beast — kicking off an extensive jaunt with a performance at Coachella 2014 in April. ♣   “It feels like a celebration, and the start of something new,” Curley says. “Something that’s exhilarating and scary at the same time.”
Website: http://theafghanwhigs.com/
In dutch:
Barry, Dinsdag 18 02 2014, 15:15
♣   Fantastisch nieuws natuurlijk: na maar liefst 16 jaar komt er in april een nieuwe plaat van soulrockers The Afghan Whigs, nadat we de afgelopen jaren vooral platen van Gregg Dulli's Twilight Singers en The Gutter Twins (met Mark Lanegan) voor de kiezen kregen. Do To The Beast gaat hij heten en de eerste single Algiers is nu te streamen op Spotify: bezielde rock zoals je gewend bent, met de doorleefde zang van Dulli die je zonder moeite weer weet te grijpen. Vorm en chemie heeft die band niet verloren, zo kun je alvast voorzichtig concluderen.
Luister het nummer via de link hieronder, vier zeer fijne minuten lang met veel akoestische gitaar maar evengoed een rauwe, bezwerende gitaarsolo en zang die met kopstem mooi de hoogte ingaat met lichte autotune-effecten die gelukkig niet teveel overheersen. Do To The Beast verschijnt 14 april via Sub Pop. Update: bekijk nu ook de gewelddadige western-video bij het nummer: (http://kickingthehabit.nl/2014-02-18/afghan-whigs-algiers-van-nieuw-album-do-to-the-beast)
♣   Big Top Halloween (1988)
♣   Up in It (1990)
♣   Congregation (1992)
♣   Gentlemen (1993)
♣   Black Love (1996)
♣   1965 (1998)
♣   Do to the Beast (2014)
Other projects:
: Dulli has recorded and performed with Mark Lanegan as The Gutter Twins
: Dulli continues to record and tour with his evolving collective The Twilight Singers and as a solo artist
: Dulli also has been executive producer on a number of works by Italian indie-rock band Afterhours on top of acting as their sponsor for a number of US tours between 2006 and 2011.
: Curley is the bassist of Fists of Love
: McCollum is the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Moon Maan
: Horrigan is the bassist for Brendan Benson
: Steve Earle is the drummer for rock band Moonbow, featuring Dave McElfresh (also guitar and fiddle for Hank Williams III) and lead singer Matt Bischoff (also known for his role as a contestant on the television series "Survivor")
: Earle is the songwriter, lead singer, and rhythm guitarist of Earle Grey
: Dulli does most of the lead vocals on the soundtrack to Backbeat, a 1994 film about the beginning days of the Beatles. Dave Grohl (Nirvana), Don Fleming (Gumball), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) accompany Dulli as a "supergroup" playing the Beatles early live staples (none of which are actually written by the Beatles).
Born: May 11, 1965
Origin: Hamilton, Ohio, U.S.
♣   2005 Amber Headlights LP (Infernal Recordings)
♣   2008 Live at Triple Door LP (Infernal Recordings)
♣   2010 Live in New Orleans LP (Kali Nichta Music)
INTERVIEW by DAVE KERR, published 16 May 2006:
: http://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/features/35284-the_twilight_singers_from_despair_where

The Afghan Whigs — Do To The Beast [2014]



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