Category: Alt-rock

Throwback: Happy 57th Birthday, Bjork!

JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Bjork’s 57th birthday.

New Video: The Afghan Whigs Share a Glittery Visual for “A Line of Shots”

Since their formation in Cincinnati back in 1986, The Afghan Whigs — currently Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar), John Curley (bass), Patrick Keeler (drums), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and the band’s newest member, Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn (guitar) — have a long-held reputation for refusing to play by convention: During the flannel and plaid of the early 90s grunge era, the members of The Afghan Whigs stood apart from their contemporaries for wearing suits and for being far more likely to slide into a soulful groove than a power chord-driven riff. 

Reuniting after an 11 year hiatus in 2012, the JOVM mainstays released two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades, that found the band writing and recording music that furthered their story together, while pushing their sound in new directions. 

The JOVM mainstays ninth album together — and first in five years — the Christopher Thorn co-produced How Do You Burn? is slated for a Friday release through Royal Cream/BMG. The album reportedly picks up on the sound and approach on the Whigs’ last two albums and sees them pushing it either further.

With the pandemic forcing Greg Dulli to abandon plans to support his critically applauded solo album Random Desire, the band began working on How Do You Burn? in September 2020 and continued over the next 14 months in remote recording sessions: Dulli, Thorn and Keeler in California; Curley, Jon Skibic (guitar) and Nelson laying down and engineering their own parts in Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans respectively. “Once we got the system down, we started flying,” Greg Dulli says. 

The album features guest spots from a collection of frequent and longtime collaborators including — the late Mark Lanegan, a collaborator of Dulli’s in The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, as well as a close friend. Lanengan sung backup vocals on two album tracks. “It was Mark who named the album,” Dulli says in press notes. Susan Marshall, who contributed to 1998’s 1965 contributes vocals on album track “Catch A Colt.” Van Hunt,who toured with the band in 2012 and contributed to 2014’s Do to the Beast, contributes vocals on “Jyla” and “Take Me There.” And last but definitely not least, Marcy Mays, lead vocalist on Gentlemen‘s “My Curse” contributes vocals to “Domino and Jimmy,” a song that Dulli had specifically written with Mays in mind. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles: 

  • I’ll Make You See God,” which is arguably one of the hardest and aggressive songs they’ve written and recorded in close to 30 years. 
  • The Getaway,” a widescreen ballad that pairs Dulli’s whiskey and cigarette-like croon with a gorgeous string arrangement, twinkling keys and Dulli’s unerring knack for crafting earnest, lived-in material with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. 

How Do You Burn?’s third and latest single “A Line of Shots,” is a woozy yet anthemic ballad featuring heavily distorted and delay pedaled guitars, Greg Dulli’s imitable croon paired with a slow-burning groove and the band’s unerring knack for rousing, fist-up-in-the-air choruses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “A Line of Shots” was so much of a crowd favorite during the JOVM mainstays’ May 2022 US tour that the band decided that the song needed its own moment in the sun. 

Directed by Patrick Pierson, the accompanying video for “A Line of Shots” continues on some of the space-related imagery of “The Getaway” including the spacesuits and lights that are shot to look like stars and planets — but while set at a roller skating rink, punningly called The Cheap Skate. Fittingly, we also get some gorgeous young skate dancers of color doing their thing; but at its core is a nostalgic and swooning fever dream of youth and young love.

Since their formation in Cincinnati back in 1986, The Afghan Whigs — currently Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar), John Curley (bass), Patrick Keeler (drums), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and the band’s newest member, Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn (guitar) — have a long-held reputation for refusing to play by convention: During the flannel and plaid of the early 90s grunge era, the members of The Afghan Whigs stood apart from their contemporaries for wearing suits and for being more likely to slide into a soulful groove than a power chord-driven riff. 

Reuniting after an 11 year hiatus in 2012, the JOVM mainstays released two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades, that found the band writing and recording music that furthered their story together, while pushing their sound in new directions. 

Slated for a September 9, 2022 release through Royal Cream/BMG, the JOVM mainstays’ ninth album — and first in five years — the Christopher Thorn co-produced How Do You Burn? reportedly picks up on the sound and appraoch of 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades and pushes it even further. With the pandemic forcing Greg Dulli to abandon plans to support his critically applauded solo album Random Desire, the band began working on How Do You Burn? in September 2020 and continued over the next 14 months in remote recording sessions: Dulli, Thorn and Keeler in California; Curley, Jon Skibic (guitar) and Nelson laying down and engineering their own parts in Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans respectively. “Once we got the system down, we started flying,” Greg Dulli says. 

The album features guest spots from a collection of frequent and longtime collaborators including — the late Mark Lanegan, a collaborator of Dulli’s in The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, as well as a close friend. Lanengan sung backup vocals on two album tracks. “It was Mark who named the album,” Dulli says in press notes. Susan Marshall, who contributed to 1998’s 1965 contributes vocals on album track “Catch A Colt.” Van Hunt,who toured with the band in 2012 and contributed to 2014’s Do to the Beast, contributes vocals on “Jyla” and “Take Me There.” And last but definitely not least, Marcy Mays, lead vocalist on Gentlemen‘s “My Curse” contributes vocals to “Domino and Jimmy,” a song that Dulli had specifically written with Mays in mind. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

  • I’ll Make You See God,” which is arguably one of the hardest and aggressive songs they’ve written and recorded in close to 30 years. 
  • The Getaway,” a widescreen ballad that pairs Dulli’s whiskey and cigarette-like croon with a gorgeous string arrangement, twinkling keys and Dulli’s unerring knack for crafting earnest, lived-in material with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. 

How Do You Burn?’s third and latest single “A Line of Shots,” a woozy yet anthemic ballad featuring heavily distorted and delay pedaled guitars, Greg Dulli’s imitable croon paired with a slow-burning groove and the band’s unerring knack for rousing, fist-up-in-the-air choruses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “A Line of Shots” was so much of a crowd favorite during the JOVM mainstays’ May 2022 US tour that the band decided that the song needed its own moment in the sun.

The JOVM mainstays are about to embark on a UK and European Union tour that starts on July 23, 2022 and ends on August 10, 2022. The band will take a few weeks off and then go on a month-long US tour that includes a September 15, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel. They’ll cap a big year with a return to European Union and UK. Tour dates are below.

EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR DATES 

07/23                Brighton, UK                              Concorde 2

07/24                Suffolk, UK                                 Latitude Festival

07/26                Frankfurt, Germany                    Batschkapp

07/28                Vienna, Austria                           Flex

07/29                Prague, Czech Republic             Lucerna Music Bar

07/30                Berlin, Germany                          Metropol

08/01                Oslo, Norway                              Parkteatret Scene

08/02                Stockholm, Sweden                    Debaser

08/03                Copenhagen, Denmark               Amager Bio

08/05                Hamburg, Germany                    Uebel & Gefährlich (Half House)

08/06                Nijmegen, Netherlands               Roosje Live In Park @ Openluchttheater Goffert

08/08                Stuttgart, Germany                     Im Wizemann

08/09                Cologne, Germany                      Luxor

08/10                Lokeren, Belgium                        Lokersee Feesten

U.S. FALL HEADLINE TOUR DATES

09/09                Minneapolis, MN                       Fine Line Music Café

09/10                Chicago, IL                               Metro

09/11                Cincinnati, OH                          Bogarts

09/12                Detroit, MI                                   St. Andrews Hall

09/14                Washington, D.C.                     9:30 Club

09/15                Brooklyn, NY                            Brooklyn Steel

09/16                Philadelphia, PA                       Underground Arts

09/17                Boston, MA                              Paradise

09/20                Charlottesville, VA                    Jefferson Theatre

09/21                Asheville, NC                            The Grey Eagle

09/22                Birmingham, AL                        Saturn

09/24                New Orleans, LA                      One Eyed Jacks

09/28                Austin, TX                                 Mohawk

09/29                Dallas, TX                                 The Echo Lounge & Music Hall

10/01                Denver, CO                              Gothic Theatre

10/02                Salt Lake City, UT                     The Commonwealth Room

10/05                Portland, OR                            Wonder Ballroom

10/06                Seattle, WA                              The Showbox

10/08               San Francisco, CA                    The Regency Ballroom

10/09           Dana Point, CA       Ohana Encore

10/11                Tucson, AZ                               191 Toole

10/12                Los Angeles, CA                       Belasco Theatre

EUROPEAN FALL HEADLINE TOUR DATES

10/22                Madrid, Spain                           Teatro Barceló

10/23                Barcelona, Spain                      Apolo 2

10/25                Milan, Italy                                Santeria

10/26                Rome, Italy                               Largo

10/28                Munich, Germany                     Freiheitshalle

10/29                Zurich, Switzerland                   Bogen F

10/30                Luxembourg                              Den Atelier

11/01                Amsterdam, Netherlands           Paradiso

11/02                Antwerp, Belgium                      De Roma

11/04                Manchester, UK                         Cathedral

11/05                Glasgow, UK                               St. Lukes

11/06                London, UK                                 KOKO

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Nation of Language Covers The Replacements

Rising Brooklyn-based synth pop trio and JOVM mainstays Nation of Language — Ian Richard Devaney (vocals, guitars, percussion), Aidan Noell (synth, vocals) and Michael Sue-Poi (bass) — can trace their origins back to 2016: Devaney and Sue-Poi were members of The Static Joys, a band that became largely inactive after the release of their sophomore album. As the story goes, Devaney was inspired to start a new project after hearing hearing OMD‘s “Electricity,” a song he had listened to quite a bit as a child in his father’s car.

What initially started out as Devaney fooling around on a keyboard eventually evolved to Nation of Language with the addition of Noell and Sue-Poi. Between 2016-2019, the Brooklyn-based synth pop trio released a handful of singles that helped to build up a fanbase locally and the elsewhere.

The JOVM mainstay’s full-length debut, 2020’s Introduction, Presence was released to critical praise, landing on the Best Albums lists that year for Rough TradeKEXPPasteStereogumUnder The Radar and PopMatters. The Brooklyn-based pop trio capped off the year with the “A Different Kind of Light”/”Deliver Me From Wondering Why” 7 inch, which featured the A Flock of Seagulls meets Simple Minds-like “Deliver Me From Wondering Why.”  

Late last year, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays released their critically applauded sophomore album A Way Forward, which featured lead album single “Across That Fine Line,” which contained a run of decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired material. As a child of the 80s, “Across That Fine Line” brings back memories of listening to A Flock of Seagulls, Thomas DolbyHoward Jones and a lengthy list of others. And much like the sources that seemingly inspired it, the song is rooted in earnest, lived-in songwriting.

“‘Across That Fine Line’ is a reflection on that moment when a non-romantic relationship flips into something different,” Nation of Language’s Devaney explains in press notes. “When the air in the room suddenly feels like it changes in an undefinable way. It’s a kind of celebration of that certain joyous panic, and the uncertainty that surfaces right after it.  
 
“Sonically, it’s meant to feel like running down a hill, just out of control. I had been listening to a lot of Thee Oh Sees at the time of writing it and admiring the way they supercharge krautrock rhythms and imbue them with a kind of mania, which felt like an appropriate vibe to work with and make our own.”

Earlier this year, the rising Brooklyn-based synth pop outfit made their late night, national TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where they performed “Across That Fine Line” is a segment filmed at Baby’s All Right. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays completed a lengthy, headlining, international tour that included a March 2, 2022 stop at Webster Hall with Dark Tea.

Fittingly released for Pride Month, Nation of Language covered The Replacements‘ 1984 classic “Androgynous.” Written by Paul Westerberg as a twinkling piano-driven ballad celebrating gender non-conformity and gender non-conformity based relationships centered around Westerberg’s emotional delivery, Nation of Language’s take is contemplative yet playful while featuring atmospheric synths, skittering beats and Devaney’s plaintive vocals.

“One of the things that made covering ‘Androgynous’ so exciting is that, for me, so much of the original song is carried by Paul Westerberg’s incredible melodies and emotional delivery, and that really leaves a lot of opportunity to imagine new instrumentation,” Nation of Language’s Ian Devaney says in press notes. “I felt like as long as I was able to channel enough of that emotional power but bring the vocals into my own space, it would be a challenging and worthwhile endeavor.” 

The “Androgynous” cover will appear on a limited edition 7″ vinyl that will also feature a surprise single on the B-side. The 7″ will be released in August through the band’s direct-to-customer store and will be available for pre-order upon its digital release.