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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gentlemen Callers

From its gorgeously composed cover of two kids striking a grownup pose to its sonic assault from Rick McCollum's blistering guitar leads and Greg Dulli's snarling delivery, The Afghan Whigs' Gentlemen (1993) was an album about doomed relationships that rewarded repeat spins--preferably at high volume.

In a year when Whitney Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You" filled the malls, the lotharios narrating Dulli's songs tackled romance and lust with a blunt, adult candor: "But she wants love and I just want to fuck."

The Afghan Whigs weren't a huge draw when I saw them at the fabled 1994 HFStival at RFK Stadium--a lineup of "18 bands for 18 bucks" that opened with Pavement and closed with Counting Crows--but Dulli and company were an incredible, underrated live act.

It's not surprising to see the Afghan Whigs come in at the relatively high #740 in the 897 Greatest Artists Countdown.

But it is refreshing to think back to a time when "Where's Waldo" jokes were funny, Jon Stewart wore leather jackets on TV, and Greg Dulli was a welcome addition on a major label...

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