Thursday, September 29, 2005

MP3: The Afghan Whigs - Rebirth Of The Cool

I haven't fallen for a band the way I have about the Afghan Whigs for a long long time. The grunge/alt rock scene of the late 80s/early 90s has always been a big thing for me, having gone through obsessions with: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Tad, Mudhoney, Melvins, Seaweed, Green River, Mad Season, Screaming Trees and even Stone Temple Pilots (they had one good album!), but amazingly I hadn't heard a note of Afghan Whigs until about a month or two ago. I know own every single release that it's feasibly possible to get for less than a hundred pounds. They were that amazingly good.

The Whigs were formed by singer/guitarist/legend Greg Dulli, lead guitarist Rick McCollum, bassist John Curley and drummer Steve Earle (not that one) in 1986. They released one ultra rare album named Big Top Halloween on their own label, Ultrasuede, in 1988, and by 1989 were signed to Sub Pop. They released their debut for Sub Pop in 1990, named Up In It, and their third, critically acclaimed album 'Congregation' in 1992. They followed that with a covers album, Uptown Avondale, and later that year signed a major label deal with Elektra Records.

Their first album for Elektra, and their one true unbeatable classic was 1993's Gentlemen. The title track and the song Debonair were MTV storming hit singles, and it looked like the band were set for mainstream success. However their followup, 1996's Black Love, failed to take them further forward, and personal problems caused interference to recording and touring schedules, thus making their next album, 1998's '1996', their last.

I can't quite describe what it is that I love so much about the Whigs. But I think it comes down to something like this:

Grunge + Soul + Intensity + Cool = Afghan Whigs = AMAZING.

In a way Greg is almost like an American Morrissey, but of course with the badassness that that would entail (as opposed to the tweeness). They're both hopelessly romantic, yet know they're far more intelligent than you, and somehow manage to get that across in a way that makes you want to like them, not matter how repulsive they try to make themselves appear. They also had similar haircuts.

So anyway the Whigs just seem to have had the formula for greatness down so amazingly well. It's a shame that their recorded output sometimes suffers from poor sequencing and occasionally poor production, because when they truly hit their peak with Gentlemen, they made a record that as soon as I heard it went into my top 10 records of all time. Anyway after the bands break up frontman Dulli has gone on to record three fantastic albums under the name Twilight Singers, all of which are also essential purchases. Your life is rather incomplete without at least 5 or 6 Greg Dulli albums in your collection.

As for the mp3s, we're got a super quadruple helping of greatness. First of all is Milez Iz Ded, the bonus track from Congregation, and a tribute to Miles Davis. Thus we get alcohol+sex+funk. Second up is Come See About Me, a Supremes cover from the fantastic Uptown Avondale EP, one of a number of great motown and soul covers the band released as bsides, and possibly one of my favourite covers ever. Amazing. Third is an absolutely classic album track and single from Gentlemen, named What Jail Is Like. Fourth is Honky's Ladder, the lead single from the slightly disappointing but still pretty damned great Black Love album. I sometimes complain about the overproduction of the last two Whigs albums, but I think on Honky they get it just about right.

Anyway as you can tell, i'm quite obsessed, and you should be too. For more info on The Whigs, Twilight Singers and Greg Dulli, all you need to do is check out the indispensable Summer's Kiss. Enjoy.

Download: Milez Iz Ded - MP3 4.09mb (rapidshare)
Download: Come See About Me - MP3 3.02mb (rapidshare)
Download: What Jail Is Like - MP3 2.82mb (rapidshare)
Download: Honky's Ladder - MP3 3.84mb (rapidshare)

Discography: (minus Big Top Halloween, which is mega unavailable)

(click to buy at

Up In It (1990)

Congregation (1992)

Uptown Avondale EP (1992)

Gentlemen (1993)

What Jail Is Like EP (1994)

Black Love (1996)

1965 (1998)

'Twilight' as Played by the Twilight Singers (2000)

Twilight Singers Play Blackberry Belle (2003)

Twilight Singers - She Loves You (2004)


Anonymous Ade said...

Hey Jamie,

A million thanks for these songs. Like you,I love the Afghan Whigs.
Great blog, btw.


1:12 am, September 30, 2005  
Blogger Scott said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:42 am, September 30, 2005  
Blogger Scott said...

You left Big Top Halloween off the discography list. It was their debut album on their Ultrasuede label and one Dulli has since disowned, from what I understand.

You can see here it's quite the collector's item.

Thanks for the tracks.

1:48 am, September 30, 2005  
Blogger Neil said...

I agree with everything you've said. You probably know already but there's a new Twilight Singers album - Amber Headlights. Fantastic.

5:49 pm, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the most maddeningly underated bands of the 90's, I'm just so damn grateful that Dulli didn't drop off the face of the earth and got his stuff together to build on the soulcore sound he'd perfected with the Whigs into the awesome soultronic sounds he's making with the Singers.

The man's been an inspiration to me for a decade. So much passion, so much conviction. It never mattered that he wasn't technically a great singer. You hear him put every ounce of his soul into a performance, and you believe he is regardless.

Black Love is my favourite Whigs album, by a considerable margin. Perhaps it is overproduced compared to Gentleman, but it's the sheer intensity of the songs... Honkey's Ladder is the tip of the iceberg.

8:23 pm, October 14, 2005  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you mind reuploading Milez Iz Ded, please?
I've been looking everywhere for it and can't find it.

12:05 am, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Jamie Summers said...

reuploaded milez to:

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