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TBTS Eustachian Ruminations, 2/24/10 Edition

February 24, 2010

Friends, sometimes the powers that be in the universe just smile upon you.  Thankfully today is one of those days.  In a week that brings us new releases from Shearwater and Shout Out Louds, I thought my Happy Meter had peaked out.  Then, out of the blue, I stumble across this gem of a story on  Greg Dulli is working on a new Twilight Singers album. I can’t explain how happy this information makes me.

Many of you will know Dulli from his first (and most popular) band The Afghan Whigs.  I have to admit to you that I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard an Afghan Whigs song, if I have I don’t know it.  My first experience with the Whigs was their cameo in Ted Demme’s 1996 classic Beautiful Girls.  But at the time this movie came out, the bigger story for me was the inclusion of the up-and-coming singer-songwriter Pete Droge, who I had a man-crush on at the time due to his sophomore album Find a Door. Anyway, I remember watching the Michael Rapaport/Uma Thurman/Martha Plimpton bar scene in Beautiful Girls and wishing the band’s singer (Dulli) had more range.

Fast-forward over ten years to 2007, when a friend of a friend was cool enough to burn me a copy of the Twilight Singers first masterpiece, 2003’s Blackberry Belle. If you love rock music and haven’t heard Belle, I’m truly sorry.  From the opening track, named after the Jack London novel Martin Eden, this album just grabs me by the throat and doesn’t let go.  “Black out the windows, it’s party time . . . let’s go play suicide. . . ” croons Dulli over a rolling piano, and you can almost taste the deprivation.  The rest of the songs revolve around the theme of personal devistation, which is what Dulli was going through at the time of the recording of the album due to the death of his good friend Demme.

I instantly fell in love with Blackberry Belle and thus began something of a fascination with all things Twilight Singers.  For whatever reason, I’ve never been that interested in listening to the Afghan Whigs or Dulli’s 2008 collaboration with Mark Lanegan under the Gutter Twins moniker.  But when I found out that the Singers released an album in 2006 which served as something of a resurrection anthem to Dulli’s adopted hometown of New Orleans, I had to have it.  Powder Burns views the rebuilding of a city through the lens of the rebuilding of a man, specifically Dulli after kicking some serious drug problems.  Having worked with people suffering from various addictions, I can tell you that there’s no song that captures the experience of an addict any better than “Candy Cane Crawl,” and there are many other excellent songs on this album.  Again, if you love rock and roll, you should do yourself a favor and get Powder Burns as soon as possible.

So with that history as a backdrop, you can see how stoked I was to read that Dulli was back in the studio recording a new Twilight Singers record.  Add to that the bonus of having him once again collaborate with Ani DiFranco, who also appeared on a number of Powder Burns tracks.  Add into this that Dulli describes the new material as having a “seventies AM radio” vibe, and I’ll be on pins and needles waiting for this thing to drop.

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