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Tag: Attack of the '90s (1-10 of 96)

21 thoughts on 21 years of the Afghan Whigs' masterpiece 'Gentlemen'

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When I first started this job back in April 2011, I was subjected to an EW tradition: I was sent a list of questions whose answers made up an office-wide introduction to my cultural obsessions. When it came time to express an all-time favorite from the music world, I settled on the one name I always shout out whenever anybody asks me what songwriter I defend above all others: Greg Dulli.

Dulli has made excellent work I have absolutely adored in several different guises, including the Twilight Singers, the Gutter Twins, and the Backbeat Band. But he got started with the Afghan Whigs, a mercurial indie rock/R&B hybrid from Cincinnati who first appeared on the scene with the haunting Big Top Halloween in 1988 and wrapped up their original run with 1998’s 1965. (They recently reconstituted for an ongoing series of shows and the brand new album Do To The Beast, which came out earlier this year.) Their masterpiece is, undoubtedly, their 1993 major-label debut Gentlemen, which is getting the deluxe reissue treatment today in the form of Gentlemen at 21. The new version contains a remastered version of the original record, plus a second disc of demos, B-sides, and live tracks that further flesh out the strange and wonderful universe the band helped create more than two decades ago.

Gentlemen has been a cornerstone album for the better part of its existence (and, subsequently, mine), so in honor of this definitive work now being able to legally order a boilermaker, here are 21 thoughts about Gentlemen. READ FULL STORY

Hear the Afghan Whigs demo of 'Debonair,' an exclusive premiere from 'Gentlemen at 21'

The Afghan Whigs’ Gentlemen, originally released in 1993, not only represents the band’s major-label debut, but it’s also the platonic ideal of the group’s sound. Over the course of 11 tracks, the Whigs melded the sultry slink of R&B with the jagged crunch of indie rock, all fueled by frontman Greg Dulli’s sly, savage take on relationships.

On October 27, Rhino will release Gentlemen at 21, a deluxe reissue of the album celebrating the fact that it has finally reached drinking age. In addition to the original remastered album, there are 17 bonus tracks that include a bunch of b-sides, live performances, and the original Gentlemen demos.  READ FULL STORY

Summerland Tour preview: Everclear's Art Alexakis on playing the hits and choosing food over sex

In 1995, Everclear released their second album Sparkle & Fade, which not only contained the band’s breakout hit “Santa Monica” but also a ruggedly dreamy composition called “Summerland.” Nearly two decades later, Summerland is more than just a song. It’s a franchise, and it serves as the name of Everclear frontman Art Alexakis’ touring mini-festival, which is about to kick off its third consecutive year on the road (and fourth overall). Starting this Friday, June 13, in Pompano Beach, FL, Everclear will take Soul Asylum, Eve 6, and Spacehog across North America for a healthy series of doses of alt-rock nostalgia. “These are still real bands,” Alexakis notes. “They’re not bands coming out of the mothballs to play the hits. That’s the difference between our tour and some of the other ‘90s tours. If that’s what you want to see, that’s totally cool, but that’s my thing. A lot of those bands are starting to sound like karaoke bands. I want to hear rock bands.”

Enjoy EW’s conversation with Alexakis about the new trappings of rock stardom below, and check out the official Summerland site for the full list of tour dates.

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Chris Cornell tells EW the stories behind classic 'Superunknown' songs -- EXCLUSIVE

Today marks the release of the deluxe 20th-anniversary edition of Soundgarden’s landmark 1994 album Superunknown.

The band celebrated the release of the two-disc (or five-disc, if you’re fancy) monster with a show at New York City’s Webster Hall last night—cleverly, tickets were $19.94—where they ran through the album top to bottom, with an encore of “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage” tossed in for good measure.

To properly celebrate one of the crowning achievements of the grunge era, EW caught up with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who shared the stories behind some of the tracks from Superunknown.

Read on to find out how Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament led the band to “Spoonman,: and exactly what the heck a “Black Hole Sun” really is (or not).  READ FULL STORY

Weezer's debut: 20 thoughts on 20 years

Weezer’s self-titled debut album came out 20 years ago today. I wrote about this watershed anniversary in the pages of this week’s issue, but here are a lot more thoughts I had while paying homage to one of the best rock debuts in the history of the medium.

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Ben Folds Five's 'The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner': 15 thoughts on 15 years

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Fifteen years ago today, Ben Folds Five released their third album, titled The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. It is by no means a masterpiece (though it is ultimately underrated), and had to have been considered a commercial disappointment after the group’s previous effort, 1997’s Whatever and Ever Amen, went Platinum on the back of the breakout single “Brick.”

But Reinhold Messner is also deeply wonderful in its strangeness, and it stands as one of the ballsier post-crossover albums a one-hit wonder ever produced. (And make no mistake: BFF is a one hit wonder—Folds had solo success after the band broke up, but their impact as a collective begins and ends with “Brick.”) To celebrate the album’s 15th anniversary (an off-kilter number, I acknowledge), here are 15 thoughts about an album that I literally think about every day.

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Kurt Cobain's life and legacy: A conversation with biographer Charles R. Cross

Twenty years ago, we lost Kurt Cobain. Few singular stars were as deeply influential as the Nirvana frontman, who smashed apart the otherness of the rock star persona and made it a more egalitarian pursuit.

No two Nirvana albums were ever alike, and it seemed like Cobain’s musical horizons were continuing to expand when he left us. His approach to singing, his songwriting style, and his band’s shifting dynamics so permeated rock radio that there seemed to be an entire subgenre of hit-making bands (Bush, Silverchair, Sponge, and the like) who seemed to exist solely as Nirvana avatars. READ FULL STORY

The Unsung Melodies of Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain’s old home sits in Seattle’s quiet Denny-Blaine neighborhood, a posh place with water views where people probably kept to themselves even before an iconic rock star died in their midst. The room over the garage where the Nirvana singer’s body was found on April 8, 1994, after he ended his life at 27 with a gunshot wound to the head, is now gone, and the house is ­isolated by a large fence, an imposing gate, and some Middle-earth-level greenery growing up around it, so fans tend to stick to Viretta Park next door. There, a pair of benches have acted as a standing tribute to Cobain, with decades’ worth of messages etched into the wood by grunge pilgrims from around the world. I’ve made this trek myself ­multiple times, and as I sit on one of the benches, the same question that has occupied alt-rock devotees for the past 20 years tugs at me: Had he not died so young, what would Kurt Cobain’s music sound like now?

 

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What would Kurt Cobain's music sound like today?

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, I ruminate over the anniversary of the death of one of the last great rock stars with a simple question: Had he not died in April 1994, what might Kurt Cobain’s music have sounded like now?

In order to find some possible answers, I talked to Cobain’s friends and collaborators about his potential musical directions; the master playlist craftspeople at Beats Audio took those cues and built a batch of songs that help extrapolate what Cobain might have sounded like had he lived.

“Cobain always seemed like an old soul and I agree that he would have continued to explore more acoustic music, as opposed to electric,” says Beats’ Scott Plagenhoef. “He wrote personal lyrics but they were opaque and non-linear and he never wrote narratives. There is also a temptation to assume major creative forces like Cobain would remain progressive into their older age but the fact of the matter is that was never a quality that he displayed even during his lifetime. There is no indication he would have embraced electronic music, for example.”

The playlist includes a handful of tracks that seem like inevitable Cobain compositions (Elliott Smith’s “Waltz No. 2 (XO),” Wilco’s “How To Fight Loneliness,” The White Stripes’ “We’re Going To Be Friends”), as well as some reasonable stretches (EMA’s “California,” Cat Power’s “He War,” Lambchop’s “My Face Your Ass”). Spin the whole thing here while you consider what might have been.

What do you think Kurt Cobain would have sounded like in 2014? Let us know in the comments.

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