“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” — Oscar Wilde
Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan may have come from the gutter (whether this applies to the drain hole, that slurped-up grunge whole, or their mental/physical states at the time of formation) and merged in darkness, calling themselves “twins,” or the “Satanic Everly Brothers,” but they’ve always managed to avoid the wash-out — their latest offerings Saturnalia and Adorata are far from gutter-material and aren’t about compromise, perhaps implied by the name Gutter Twins or the blending of any two musical souls.
However, you’re right if you see darkness and plenty of sexy down their line (no worries, they won’t let this darkness eat them up). They just let their idle hands do what they do, produce “gothic blues,” apparently (if we haven’t twisted the message of “Idle Hands”). It’s the best thing, really.
But let’s start from the beginning. Quite awhile ago we began following Greg Dulli wherever we went, or wherever he went (not literally, of course, that would be borderline stalkerish), on semi-roundabout trips. See, Dulli has always appealed to the “grunge kid” in us, a kid that doesn’t want to grow up, though our first trip with the “psychosexual” alt-frontman was through 2006’s Powder Burns, the fourth product of post-Afghan Whigs-gig the Twilight Singers. We later backtracked through his back-catalogue on our BFF Amazon.com — discovering his non-Northwestern, Northwestern explosion band the Whigs and, of course, what jail and gentlemen are like — and loaded up our cart. Maybe we just smell a sweet fragrance about Mr. Dulli?
Either way, here’s a breakdown of why we broke down (to iTunes and, ultimately, the Gutter Twins):
First of all, our love for everything grunge and post-grunge allows room for any voice and lyrical mind that seems to combine Robert Smith, Tom Waits, Andy Wood, and Chris Robinson, as well as room for any man who decides to work with a band member from the Screaming Trees (who possessed a combination of quality loverock and metal, and garage and punk, and long hair and flannel, that could never be passed up). Needless to say, Lanegan’s Screaming Trees (which also went the way of the drain-hole, to the grunge kid’s dismay) haven’t gone unnoticed or un-played in our collection obsession, nor have they gone unshopped on our BFF. So, of course, we swallowed the hope of the Gutter Twins, a band named for the above quote from Oscar Wilde (that also signed themselves to Sub Pop along with many other grunge greats) and began asking ourselves questions. Some of our questions: There’s a song called “Belles” on Adorata, are the Twins trying to tell us something? Do they know they misspelled our last name? Would our own twindom be defined as gutter twindom — are we too, gutter twins? And if so, does this have to do with the fact that we may be the only two souls left for dead in iPod circles? Wow, Dulli and Lanegan are so perceptive.
Well, we must let Mr. Dulli know that, even though, yes, we do not own iPods, meaning, yes, we do not have a need for iTunes, we specifically downloaded iTunes to purchase the Gutter Twins’ exclusive EP (the aforementioned Adorata) released in September. A lot of musicians are going the way of the exclusive iTunes release and we support those band boys, of course, but we’re two very old-fashioned gals when it comes to tunes.
We love records (LPs! Vinyl lives!) and what we dig, most of all, are hard copies of music (you can’t hold or frame an MP3, after all). Those booklets (err, liner notes?) that come with CDs? We actually leaf through those, reading and memorizing their lyrics, posting them on MySpace (as music-geeky as that sounds) and using them in life, hence our adoption of the phrase “songs to live and learn by,” which was sort of stolen from Echo and the Bunnymen. We even read those “Thank You” sections, perhaps to track down other possible musicians we might like based on our favorites’, well, favorites, (yes, we’re fans of those too)!