Close to Live

I’ve been fighting (and losing to) the flu for nearly a week now, and because of that, I very sadly missed Patrick Sweany’s recent CD release show for That Old Southern Drag at the Zephyr Pub in Kent, Ohio, this past Friday (if anyone who did attend the show would like to contribute a review and/or photos, please let me know – contact information can be found to the right), so we’re missing the final big event of Patrick Sweany Month here at NTSIB.

And as I’ve mostly been listening to comfort music (the Godfathers, the Parting Gifts, the Dirtbombs and the Black Keys… I may have a skewed sense of comfort) when I haven’t been laid up on the couch, watching old movies and making my own music (i.e., whining about being sick), there’s not been a lot of new music intake going on here at NTSIB HQ. And the closest I can get to a live performance right now is via television. So, I give you my favorte televised performance to date: the Afghan Whigs’ fierce cover of Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”, performed at an MTV-hosted party for the film … Continue reading

No More Words: Rock Instrumentals

Once upon a time, in the relative infancy of rock ‘n’ roll, rock instrumentals were such a popular form that some artists were dedicated entirely to instrumentals and some who, while having a few songs with vocals, built their reputation on instrumentals – artists like the Ventures, the Fireballs, Duane Eddy, The Surfaris and Dick Dale. In time, the popularity of rock instrumentals faded until today when it seems like rock instrumentals are mainly the domain of dinosaurs and noodlers.

Here are a few of my favorite rock instrumentals, ending with what I hope is a glimmer of hope for the future of good rock instrumentals.

Link Wray was a man ahead of his time. A stone cold and cool greaser with a dangerous sound, you can still hear his influence today on some of today’s music. If cool has a soundtrack, Wray’s 1958 hit “Rumble” is definitely a featured number.


Released a year later, it’s difficult to believe that “Sleep Walk” by brother duo Santo & Johnny could even exist in the same universe as “Rumble”. It’s a dreamy piece with some of the most evocative guitar ever recorded.


In the late ’50s and … Continue reading

Craig Wedren/Greg Dulli at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH, 10.16.10

Craig Wedren

Given my long-standing love for Greg Dulli (generally referred to in my world by his proper name: Greg fucking Dulli), it was a given that I would jump on tickets to this special acoustic show, Dulli’s first solo tour. When it was announced that Craig Wedren of Shudder to Think would be opening, my eyes nearly rolled back in my head. In the later 1990s, before bands began breaking up and band members died, my holy triumvirate of music was topped by the Afghan Whigs with Morphine and Shudder to Think anchoring the other corners. I was fortunate enough to see each of these bands play before tides turned, and I cherish the memory of those shows. To be able to check in with the frontmen of two of those bands in one night was a special treat.

Wedren looked exactly as I remembered seeing him back in 1997 when Shudder to Think toured in support of 50,000 B.C.: fresh, lean and handsome with a spectacular smile and a sparkle in his eye. Mixing his solo … Continue reading

Bits: Conrad Plymouth, Americana Music Fest, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Plastic Ono Band, The Afghan Whigs, Ohio Hip Hop Awards, The Black Keys-ish

  • Conrad Plymouth has another beautiful song, a demo called “They Keep Everything So Clean”, up at their Tumblr.
  • The Americana Music Festival starts up tomorrow, and if you can’t make it to Nashville for the festivities in person, will be simulcasting the awards and honors show Thursday evening, according to the Carolina Chocolate Drops Twitter account (though I have yet to find any information about it on
  • Speaking of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, here’s a nifty mini-lesson from Dom Flemons on playing the bones.
  • The Plastic Ono Band has a pair of all-star gigs coming up in NYC on October 1 and 2. Special guests include RZA, Mike Watt, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Perry Farrell, among others.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio’s Midpoint Music Fest on September 23-25 will include a couple of Afghan Whigs-related highlights in the form of photographs by John Curley and a documentary entitled Ladies and Gentlemen: The Afghan Whigs. Details here.
  • The Ohio Hip Hop Awards and Music Conference will be hitting downtown Cleveland September 17-19. Details here.
  • And because I’m trying to get … Continue reading

Die, Sloopy, Die: The Afghan Whigs

I find myself drawn to the music of Ohio artists. It could be some innate loyalty to or a sharing of basic ideas with my fellow Ohioans. Or it could be that Ohio turns out more excellent music per capita than the rest of the world. I may be biased, but I’m going with option B.

Die, Sloopy, Die is a tribute to great Ohio bands of the past and present. The name is an anti-tribute to our official state rock song “Hang On, Sloopy” by the McCoys because, while it is awesome that we were the first state to declare an official state rock song (and, so far, we are one of only two states to do so, Oklahoma having declared the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” their official state song), we chose one of the lamest songs it was possible for us to choose.

The Afghan Whigs

“Ladies, let me tell you about … Continue reading

Bits: A.A. Bondy, Freddie Gibbs, You Weren’t There, The Afghan Whigs, I Need That Record!

  • A.A. Bondy trotted out a couple of new songs, “Another Country” and “Slow and Lo”, at the Newport Folk Festival. You can listen to (and download) his Saturday set at NPR Music.
  • This week, Yours Truly is featuring 5 Days of Fred with daily features on Freddie Gibbs.
  • This week, Pitchfork’s One Week Only feature is You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984.
  • Summerskiss has confirmed that the Afghan Whigs’ final album, 1965, will be re-issued on 180 gram vinyl with seven bonus tracks and an 8-page booklet on August 24. It’s a European-only release.
  • I Need That Record!, Brendan Toller’s heart-wrenching documentary about the state of independent record stores in America, is now widely available on DVD, including through Amazon and Netflix. This was one of NTSIB’s favorite scores from Record Store Day this year, and we encourage you to check it out.
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