Not that anyone should have needed it, but we were reminded a few months ago just how awesome The Afghan Whigs are when the Greg Dulli-fronted outfit made a triumphant return with “Do to the Beast” after an interminable 16-year recording hiatus. That record prompted me revisit their groundbreaking stuff from the early- to mid-1990s when The Afghan Whigs ruled the alternative rock roost.
The folks at Rhino are celebrating one of the band’s masterpieces — 1993 gem “Gentlemen” — with the two-disc set “Gentlemen at 21.” Disc 1 features a remastered version of the original 11-track album and Disc 2 includes 17 rare demos, B-Sides and live performances. It’s an abundance of riches for anyone who loves music from that era.
Time has not dulled the effectiveness of “Gentlemen” even a little bit. The title track sounds as great as ever, and The Afghan Whigs also soar on “Debonair,” “When We Two Parted,” “What Jail Is Like” and “I Keep Coming Back.” The bonus material on “Gentlemen at 21” ain’t too shabby, with killer demos of “If I Were Going,” “Fountain and Fairfax” and “Brother Woodrow,” along with live performances of “What Jail Is Like,” “Now You Know” and “My World Is Empty Without You/I Hear a Symphony.” Highly recommended. (Jeffrey Sisk)