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The Afghan Whigs | Turn on the Water | 7-inch Single

The Afghan Whigs Turn on the Water Cover Art

By the time the single for “Turn on the Water” was released in 1992, The Afghan Whigs were relatively cemented in the underground alt rock scene and either had or were about to release their third album and second on the then go-to Seattle label for the burgeoning grunge scene: Sub Pop.

This single, too, found a welcome home on the Sub Pop label. However, one oddity is that, at least per Discogs, the release country isn’t listed as US but Germany. You’ll find quite a few German Sub Pop releases in the 90s, and to this day they continue to release European pressings as well.

The Afghan Whigs Turn on the Water 7" Back

Take a look at The Afghan Whigs 2017 album In Spades, and you’ll find it has German pressings on black vinyl and white vinyl with white being the Loser Edition similar to that found in the US. Sure enough, look at the back of the sleeve — not only is there a small script below the Sub Pop label that reads “Made In Germany”, there’s a German address in the credits as well.

Both the A-side “Turn on the Water” and B1 “Miles iz Ded” comes from the band’s 1992 LP Congregation

The third track on the single, which is B2 and called “Chalk Outline” is exclusive from an official standpoint, but did find its way onto an unofficial CD in 1993 called “Now We Can Begin!”

In addition to this 7-inch single, there was a 12-inch maxi-single and a few variations of CDs listed as CDEPs as well. In all but one of the CD versions, you’ll find the same three songs. The one that differs includes these three plus Delta Kong. That CD version is the only German-released one whereas the other CDs came out in the US.

This is pretty par for the course for early 90s Sub Pop with definitive alt rock and grunge rock leanings. And while The Afghan Whigs were not a Pacific Northwest band, hailing instead from Cleveland, OH — they kind of split that area of other non-PNW grunge leaning bands like Dinosaur Jr. In other words, their music at times seemed a bit more catchy than a lot of the obscure Sub Pop grunge of the day — barring some of the most well known names, of course.

The Afghan Whigs Turn on the Water Vinyl

And I think that’s why you see bands like this continue to thrive today: The Afghan Whigs’ latest LP was released in 2022. Dinosaur Jr. released their most recent LP in 2021. And you’ll even find a few of the more noteworthy PNW grunge bands still active today — Mudhoney’s latest came out in 2019. 

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