Considering the success and critical mass Greg Dulli has enjoyed over the past two years with The Gutter Twins (with his long-time friend Mark Lanegan), it’s almost hard to believe that there hasn’t been a new album from his band The Twilight Singers since the 2006 release of Powder Burns. Finally, that wait is almost over.
Sub Pop Records will release Dynamite Steps, The Twilight Singers’ fifth album, on February 15th, 2011 worldwide. While long-time Twilight Singers and now Gutter Twins fans will certainly find what they’re looking for with this release, Dynamite Steps goes further with its ambition, both sonically and confessionally, than ever before.
The album explores the thin line between life and death, mortality and immortality, resignation and celebration—that mythical moment when your life flashes before your eyes, drawn out here over the course of eleven songs.
Clearly the next chapter in an already long and stellar career for Dulli, Dynamite Steps reaches a whole new level of catharsis and progression, evocatively cramming all the highs and lows of the maverick singer-songwriter’s past half-decade into unexpected sonic trapdoors. The opening track “Last Night in Town” encapsulates that vibe, setting the stage for the emotional thrill ride that’s about to come over the rest of the album.
Dynamite Steps was “shot on location” at various locales significant to Dulli’s life. You can hear the sense of place emanating up from the grooves: here, the weary nighttime decadence of New Orleans rubs up against the oppressive sunshine of Los Angeles and the desolation of Joshua Tree’s desert vistas. Various guests make contributions to the album including Ani DiFranco, Joseph Arthur, Petra Haden, Nick McCabe (The Verve), and of course Mark Lanegan.
Since the late 1980s Greg Dulli has been a musical force with which to reckon, first rising to fame as the magnetic leader of the Afghan Whigs When the Whigs split up at the end of the ‘90s, Dulli followed his muse and began to innovatively fuse indie, soul and electronic sounds in his post-Whigs collective The Twilight Singers, who released their first album, Twilight as Played by The Twilight Singers, in 2000. Their beloved second album, Blackberry Belle, followed in 2003, and that was followed by a covers album entitled She Loves You in 2004. The band’s 2006 release, Powder Burns, made many critics “Best Of” year-end lists.
In 2008, Sub Pop veterans Dulli and Lanegan returned to the label as The Gutter Twins with the release of their debut album, Saturnalia. The band toured the world over for two years, made SPIN’s Top 20 Albums of the Year list and performed on Later With Jools Holland and The Late Show With David Letterman.
Greg Dulli is currently in the middle of the “An Evening With Greg Dulli” tour, a stripped-down retrospective string of dates. The Village Voice on his New York performance: “His voice is a soulful rasp that can spit out invective as easily as it can seduce a lover into believing his lies… the music he’s made throughout his career straddles the gap between early Amerindie’s spitfire and soul’s hip-thrusting.”
Prior to the start of the tour, Dulli made one of the new Twilight Singers’ tracks, “Blackbird and the Fox,” available for free download from their website.
The Twilight Singers will announce their worldwide touring plans for 2011 shortly.
Full track listing for Dynamite Steps:
1. Last Night in Town
2. Be Invited
4. Get Lucky
5. On the Corner
7. She Was Stolen
8. Blackbird and the Fox
9. Never Seen No Devil
10. The Beginning of the End
11. Dynamite Steps