The Afghan Whigs – ‘Uptown Avondale’ – Round 9: Rob’s EP choice

Afghan Whigs - Uptown AvondalePerhaps this would have been better chosen for the ‘decade of progression’ round, as it captures a band at precisely the moment when they dropped what they were doing and grasped their destiny. By the time they called it a day the Afghan Whigs had established themselves as fine alchemists of 90s guitar rock and bleeding 60s/70s soul. The route to their ‘Black Love’ and ‘1965’ albums begins in ‘Uptown Avondale’, the 1992 EP comprising four cover versions of Motown-era classics – ‘Band of Gold’, ‘True Love Travels on a Gravel Road’, ‘Come See About Me’ and ‘Beware’.

Listening back, and knowing where they went next with ‘Gentlemen’, you can almost hear the band cutting loose and declaring ‘THIS is who we are and THIS is what we want to do’ They forge new ways to meld the blank stare of grunge and the subtextual bleakness of soul, nowhere better than on a desolate version of ‘Band of Gold’. Hear the wheelspin as they power off towards the future they’d been waiting for.

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