During a recent, trip to New Orleans my first impression of its culturally rich, yet dark, mysterious vibe was, “This is a Greg Dulli kind of town.” Powder Burns is a meditation on beauty rising from destruction. A divergent collection of highs and lows alike, the record kicks off with the instrumental ‘Toward the Waves,’ which flows directly into the soulful, rocking ‘I’m Ready.’ The album was recorded mostly in New Orleans (much of it after Hurricane Katrina), in a ramshackle studio powered by generators. Conceptually, there’s a duality at play; as a city struggles with destruction, Dulli wrestles one last time with his classic demons of drugs and guilt. In forensic science, “powder burns” are analyzed to determine the distance between a victim and the weapon that killed them. Seeing New Orleans on her knees had a profound affect on Dulli, as this record finds him staring down his own grim path that came too close to the smoking gun.