Mark Lanegan. Enough Said.

Mark Lanegan doesn’t get enough attention, as far as I’m concerned. So, for your Friday enjoyment, here’s a selection of some of my favorite Lanegan-led songs. Warning: knee-melting may occur.


Mark Lanegan – “Methamphetamine Blues”


Isobell Campbell and Mark Lanegan – “Back Burner”


Soulsavers, featuring Mark Lanegan – “Revival”


The Twilight Singers with Mark Lanegan – “Live with Me/Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”


Mark Lanegan Band – “I’ll Take Care of You”


Mark Lanegan – “Man in the Long Black Coat”


Isobell Campbell and Mark Lanegan – “Come on Over (Turn Me On)”


Mark Lanegan Band – “Wedding Dress”

Bits: The Imperial Rooster, Bang Bang Boogaloo, Modest Mouse & Big Boi, Craig Wedren, The Twilight Singers, Wolfgang’s Vault

  • The Imperial Rooster will be playing at El Farol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 10 at 6 PM MST and the set will be broadcast live on Radio Free Santa Fe. Tune in locally at 98.1 or via the Radio Free Santa Fe website.
  • New York label Bang Bang Boogaloo has put together a killer compilation of unsigned New York bands called New York Rock & Roll 1. You can listen to and download it for free on their website.
  • Big Boi revealed, via Twitter, that he’s working on an album with Modest Mouse. “Been camped out in the Lab with Modest Mouse all week, workin on the new mouse LP, coolest cats ever. Long Live The Funk.” Cannot wait to hear the results of that collaboration.
  • Both Craig Wedren and the Twilight Singers are offering new songs for free download. Wedren’s “Cupid” is a Shudder to Think-era tune re-purposed for his upcoming solo album, WAND. The Twilight Singers’ “Don’t Call” is a non-album track, as well as being a Desire cover.
  • Wolfgang’s Vault has added a video section to their mammoth live music archives. While you’ll find the old stand-bys you’d expect from WV – the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band – you’ll also find some NTSIB favorites like A Place to Bury Strangers, the Builders and the Butchers and even the Gutter Twins. Worth a dig.

Bits: Pinetop Perkins, The Dead Milkmen, Arthur, The Twilight Singers, CXCW

  • Blues piano great Pinetop Perkins has passed away at the age of 97. Perkins played with Robert Nighthawk, Earl Hooker, Muddy Waters, was the oldest Grammy winner and toured until the end.
  • The Dead Milkmen have released their first album of new material in 16 years. You can listen to song samples and download The King in Yellow at their website.
  • Arthur is dead, long live Arthur. While music and culture mag Arthur has gone on “indefinite hiatus”, they have begun archiving their back issues online. While it’s a work-in-progress, there’s already a lot to dive into.
  • The Twilight Singers will be hitting up Letterman on April 26.
  • Even though Couch by Couch West is over, one of the advantages it has over SXSW is that you can still experience all the music – and see the hipper-than-humans dog and cat contingent – on the CXCW Tumblr. And you should. Great performances from Conrad Plymouth, Doc Dailey, Tim Lee 3, Two Cow Garage, The Imperial Rooster, Neko Case (that’s right – Neko Case. In bed. You didn’t get that at South By) and so many more talented folks. Can’t wait to do it again next year.

Bits: Nicole Atkins, The Meat Puppets, The Twilight Singers, The Black Keys, A Place to Bury Strangers

  • Nicole Atkins will be playing a live acoustic session and chatting on livestream Wednesday, 1.19, at 1:30 PM ET/10:30 AM PT.
  • The Meat Puppets will be releasing their new album, Lollipop, in April, Paste reports. Their line-up now includes Shandon Sahm, son of Texan multi-instrumentalist Doug Sahm, on drums.
  • The Twilight Singers’ upcoming album, Dynamite Steps, is available for pre-order at Sub Pop. The pre-order entitles you to stream the album online immediately, and if you pre-order by 2.15, you’ll receive two non-album tracks.
  • Though they’ve had to cancel their Australia/New Zealand tour and part of their European tour, the Black Keys juggernaut rolls on with an appearance on Austin City Limits airing 1.22 on PBS, in a split episode with Sonic Youth. (The Keys’ appearance was taped about three months ago. I am very excited about this, having hoped for a Keys ACL for a long time now.)
  • A Place to Bury Strangers will hit the road again this spring, including SXSW gigs where they will premiere material from their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled album. These guys are amazing live.

    THU 3/10 – ATLANTA, GA – Masquerade*

    FRI 3/11 – DURHAM, NC – Motorco Music Hall*

    SUN 3/13 – DENTON, TX – 35 Conferette Festival*^

    TUE 3/15 – SAN ANTONIO, TX – Korova*

    WED 3/16 – AUSTIN, TX – SXSW

    THU 3/17 – AUSTIN, TX – SXSW

    FRI 3/18 – AUSTIN, TX – SXSW

    SAT 3/19 – AUSTIN, TX – SXSW

    SUN 3/20 – HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, AR – Valley of the Vapors

    MON 3/21 – HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, AR – Valley of the Vapors (pedal workshop)

    TUE 3/22 – OXFORD, MS – Proud Larrys*

    WED 3/23 – GREENVILLE, SC – The Handlebar*

    THU 3/24 – BALTIMORE, MD – Ottobar*

    *with Hooray for Earth

    ^with Dan Deacon, !!!, How to Dress Well & Local Natives

Speaking of APTBS, they’ve treated us to a tale of hopscotch gone awry with the video for their remix of Holy Fuck’s “Red Lights”, directed by Thomas Smith as a gift to APTBS.

Holy Fuck – Red Lights (A Place to Bury Strangers Remix) from Spool on Vimeo.

Bits: Hell and Half of Georgia, the Low Anthem, Conrad Plymouth, the Twilight Singers, Mark Sandman

  • Shows! Hell and Half of Georgia will be playing a free show in Long Beach, California tomorrow, 12.29.10. On the other side of the country on the same day, the Avett Brothers, the Low Anthem and Bombadil will be playing a benefit show in Carrboro, North Carolina – tickets go on sale at 10:00 AM EST today, 12.28.10. (The Avett/Anthem/Bombadil benefit show sold out within the first hour.) Conrad Plymouth will play a New Year’s Eve show with Ian Olvera and the Sleepwalkers and Laarks at Linneman’s in Milkwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • The Twilight Singers have made another track, “On the Corner”, from the upcoming album Dynamite Steps available for free download.
  • And the news I’m personally most excited about right now is the impending release of Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story. The singer/bass player/avant-instrumentalist for Morphine was and is a huge influence on me, and I’m very much looking forward to this documentary, which will be hitting the festival circuit in 2011. Check out the trailer below, and find more video clips at the Gatling Pictures website.

Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (Trailer) from Gatling Pictures on Vimeo.

Bits: The Twilight Singers, Pulp, Ghostface Killah, J Mascis, Patterson Hood, Twain

  • The Twilight Singers will be releasing their new album, Dynamite Steps, on February 15. Guests on the album include some of the usual suspects – Ani DeFranco, Petra Haden, Joseph Arthur and, of course, Mark Lanegan – as well as Nick McCabe of the Verve.
  • The original Pulp line-up is reuniting for the first time since 1996. They have a couple of European fests booked for next year with additional plans likely.
  • Rap Radar has the first single, “Together Baby”, off Ghostface Killah’s forthcoming album Apollo Kids up for you.
  • J Mascis will be releasing an acoustic album called Several Shades of Why on March 15.
  • Special treat: Cuckoobird has posted a special Patterson Hood solo show that took place at the end of last month. Patterson Hood is several kinds of awesome.
  • The Low Anthem are on the road with Emmylou Harris. During a break, Mat Davidson played a surprise Twain show in Brooklyn. Watch Mat and all his hair below.

Twain “I’ll Be Fooled Again” from Possum Den Productions on Vimeo.

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 and film work (including a song from his project Baby) with a few Shudder to Think favorites – like the ubiquitous “Red House”, “Hit Liquor” and “X-French Tee Shirt” – Wedren switched off between acoustic and electric guitars and occasionally employed a loop station to create a rich layers of sound. And he was as at ease on stage as ever, cracking wise, musing and making dedications to his mother and his wife.

Craig Wedren’s best instrument has always been his voice, and it remains strong and supple. He ranges from baritone to falsetto and back again with ease, sometimes using the loop station to create eerie harmonies with himself. Beautiful from start to finish.

Greg Dulli

When Greg Dulli took the stage, flanked by frequent collaborator Dave Rosser on guitar and Rick Nelson on cello and violin, it seemed he might be satisfied to rest on his laurels for this low-key “Evening with”. While the first four songs of the set, which included the Gutter Twins’ “God’s Children” and brand new Twilight Singers’ track “Blackbird and the Fox”, were good, something was missing. The renowned Dulli fire was set to low. But with the Twilight Singers’ stormy “Bonnie Brae”, the burner was turned to high, and that familiar, scorching howl rolled forth from Dulli’s ragged throat.

Though the evening was heavy with Twilight Singers songs, Dulli did, as promised, trot out some Afghan Whigs classics like “Let Me Lie to You”, “If I Were Going” and “Summer’s Kiss”, and even, per an audience request, an unscheduled turn on “66” (the first time played on this tour, Dulli quipped that Cleveland had broken his cherry).

The encore, which kicked off with the Twilight Singers epic “Candy Cane Crawl”, contained the only true non-album cover of the night, a passionate take on José González’s “Down the Line”, culminating in Dulli’s repeated howl warning “Don’t let the darkness eat you up”. It was a goosebumps moment.

Dave Rosser already has a solid reputation as a stand-up guitarist and didn’t fail to impress, but it was Rick Nelson who really shined on the strings this night, sometimes flowing a layer of incomparable beauty under a song and sometimes ramping up the passion to roof-blowing proportions.

But it wasn’t a perfect evening. In attendance was the drunkest crowd I’ve ever experienced in such a small venue, and they kept sending their loudest, gabbiest emissaries to stand right in front of the stage and chit chat, both to Dulli and among themselves, through both sets of the night. One particular offender, who had bullied her way rudely in front of people who had been holding their spots for two hours, had to be called out by Dulli twice before she got the message to “shut your fucking mouth”. It was possibly the first time I’ve ever left a show annoyed.

Greg Dulli Setlist

Bits: The Twilight Singers, Infantree, Devo, The Mississippi Sheiks, Matador at 21

  • The first taste of the new Twilight Singers album is available. Get a free download of “Blackbird and the Fox” here.
  • My Old Kentucky Blog premiered the video for Infantree’s “Slaughter House” today. Check it out. MOKB may be on the fence about the song, but we love it.
  • Devo will be heading out on a tiny, little tour at the end of the month, so hope you Devotees are ready to travel.
  • (Additionally, you can get ready for Halloween by purchasing a Devo costume from their webstore. Yeah, that’s… I don’t know what to make of that.)
  • If you are a casual blues fan, you may not have heard of the Mississippi Sheiks – you may not even realize there were blues bands back in the 1930s since all the focus is usually on the man-with-a-guitar bluesmen of the time – but you’ll likely know their songs as covered by other artists. No Depression is running a contest to win a Things About Comin’ My Way: A Tribute to the Music of the Mississippi Sheiks DVD, CD, poster and T-shirt. Contributors include Van Dyke Parks, Dave Alvin and Alvin Youngblood Hart, among others.
  • If you didn’t make it to the Matador at 21 celebration in Las Vegas this past weekend, check out the recap at Stereogum to decide just how bitter you should be about missing it.

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 myself…”

The facts: The Afghan Whigs formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1986 with Greg Dulli on vocals/guitar, Rick McCollum on guitar, John Curley on bass and Steve Earle (no, not that Steve Earle) on drums. They were the first band not from the American northwest signed to Sub Pop Records. They released six studio albums, beginning with Big Top Halloween in 1988 and ending with 1965 in 1998.

The first time I heard the Afghan Whigs, they scared me. I was about twenty years old, and while I was not prim and proper, I had a frigging lot to learn. The tones of anger, which projected both outward and inward, that colored Greg Dulli’s vocals in the songs on their seminal album Gentlemen translated to menace in my ears.

It took me a couple of years to come around, and I don’t remember how it happened, but it seems like I went from being horrified by them one day to wanting to be all up in Greg Dulli’s business the next day. My then-husband and I set about collecting every album, EP, single, video, magazine article and any other items emblazoned with “The Afghan Whigs” that we could get our hands on (I retained possession of the collection when the husband and I split up, possibly because he feared grievous bodily harm if he tried to come between me and my treasures). They became, and remain, my favorite band.

“I’ve got a dick for a brain…”

If I had to use only one word to describe the Afghan Whigs cannon, it would be “swagger”. The story set forth when listening to their albums in chronological order is one of a group of angry, young punks who got into their mamas’ Stax and Motown collections one day, put on suave suits and never looked back. The anger remained, but now it was topped by a layer of strutting, smooth-talking cockiness.

Gentlemen is considered by many to be the Afghan Whigs’ masterpiece, concisely marrying their early punk energy to the soul spirit that would become their trademark. While their earlier albums showed promise, they were scattered, directionless. Gentlemen was a clear vision, sharp, slickly jagged, cleanly dirty.

The Afghan Whigs – Be Sweet

Their next effort – and one of my all-time favorite albums – Black Love, pushed the music further into soul territory while still retaining a metallic edge. A Curtis Mayfield influence weaves itself throughout, wrapping around images of sex, violence and religion. The whole album is a challenge: Step up or be stomped.

Then everything fell apart in the glorious mess that was 1965. It is an unrepentant party album, though it still carries Dulli’s characteristic Catholic guilt and flashes of brilliance within its decadent atmosphere.

“And my brain is gonna sell my ass to you.”

The Afghan Whigs became known for their way with a cover song, often taking songs that seemed innocuous, cutting them open and turning them inside out to expose their viscera. Songs like the Supremes’ “My World Is Empty Without You” and Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold” became suicide notes of abandonment in their hands. Al Green’s “Beware” turned from a plea to a threat. And if you never thought you’d want to get naked to a song from The Wizard of Oz, just listen as the quartet turns “If I Only Had a Heart” into a slinky, steamy torch song.

The Afghan Whigs-If I Only Had A Heart

In 2001, the Afghan Whigs went their separate ways (with a two-song reunion in 2006 for their Rhino Records retrospective Unbreakable), McCollum, Curley and their Spinal Tap-esque succession of drummers moving on to other projects, but none as successfully as Dulli. He has released four albums under the aegis of the Twilight Singers, with a fifth album on the way as of this writing. Additionally, he put out a solo album in 2005, an album with Mark Lanegan as the Gutter Twins in 2008 and in 2005, played in a live-only covers band called Uptown Lights – along with numerous other production jobs and guest spots.

Greg Dulli will be embarking on his first solo tour this October and on through November, playing stripped-down versions of his songs – including Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers titles. He’ll hit the Grog Shop in Cleveland on October 16.

Summer’s Kiss: A Greg Dulli, Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers & Gutter Twins Compendium

The Twilight Singers Official Website

The Gutter Twins Official Website

Moon Maan Official Website (Rick McCollum)

Staggering Statistics Official Webstie (John Curley)

Ultrasuede Studio (John Curley)

Rebirth of the Cool: Wolf Like Me

Moving forward in time for this edition of Rebirth of the Cool, our origin song of the day is “Wolf Like Me” by the incredible TV on the Radio. This was one of the first TVOTR songs I heard (along with “Providence” and “Dry Drunk Emperor”) when a savvy friend recommended them to me back in 2007. It was love at first listen.


(Sidenote: Kudos to Jimmy Kimmel for bringing the feel of an intimate concert hall into the studio, thus encouraging better performances.)

Local H – whose cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” helps me feel less guilty about liking that song – took a crack at “Wolf”. They imbue the song with their characteristic immediacy and bring the emotional center of the song from the hips up to the chest.


Then along came Dulli. Greg Dulli has long been a purveyor of fascinating, gorgeous, twisted covers, from Paul K. and the Weathermen’s “Amphetamines and Coffee” to “The Temple” from Jesus Christ Superstar to Al Green’s “Beware” to Prince’s “When Doves Cry” to all sorts of others in between. His take, with the Twilight Singers, of “Wolf” strips it down to its raw core.