Archive for White Denim

The First Great Album Of 2014 Is Here: Sleepy Sun’s “Maui Tears”

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on February 9, 2014 by johnbuckley100

If T.S Elliott had been a fan of rock’n’roll he would have rethought this “April is the cruelest month” thing.  By April, the record releases are coming fast and furious.  January’s a different matter.

Which is why it is so fantastic that on January 28, Sleepy Sun released Maui Tears, which has gotten us through, oh, all sorts of things: snow days and cold, avalanches of work, that feeling when you are midway through writing your fourth novel where it seems you are still deep underwater, legs kicking, trying to get to the surface before your lungs explode, all the while worrying about the bends.  Oh, okay, back to Sleepy Sun’s great new album.

For those not hip to the band, just go check out “Galaxy Punk.”  It kicks with the force of White Denim’s “Drug,” a perfect pop song but also a showcase for the kind of virtuoso guitar playing that just saws its way through soft brain matter.

Maui Tears is constructed along the blueprint specs that Stephen McBean used in Black Mountain’s Wilderness Heart: there’s tuneful, exciting, straight-ahead rock’n’roll (“The Lane”) followed by acoustic balladry you might have found on early Led Zep, and then immersion into the headphone imperatives of metal-psyche.  “Outside” is, for our money, a better version of MBV than anything found on m b v.  “11:32” is a mere 4:10 worthy of punk-metal goodness, and on “Thielbar” you can catch a whiff of Black Rebel Motorcycle exhaust and it smells like… victory.

We really like this album not simply because there’s not a lot of other great new music to listen to — at least not until Temples’ rec comes out on Tuesday.  We really like this album because it is amazing.

Tulip Frenzy’s #3 Best Album of 2011: White Denim’s “D”

Posted in Music with tags , on November 26, 2011 by johnbuckley100

White Denim is the inverse of The Black Keys: a maximalist band that shows off what can be created by overdoing it.   Adding a second guitarist on D, they plied the ground between Southern and prog rock, two unfashionable genres that when mixed in the Austinite’s mixmaster came out as an elixir of joy.  When we wrote about D earlier this year, we described them as one of those Ben & Jerry’s mashups mixing Brendan Benson with The Magic Band, because they found a way to take a power pop sensibility and stick it spoon deep into the tight choreography of a Captain Beefheart track.  But even that doesn’t do justice to a band that produced some of my favorite country music of the year.  Great singing, great songwriting, with a turning radius tighter than a Fiat 500, these guys would be the house band for any benefit raising money to Keep Austin Weird.

White Denim’s “D” And How Don Van Vliet’s Band Fared In Probate

Posted in Music with tags , , , on June 11, 2011 by johnbuckley100

Thirty seconds into “It’s Him” on White Denim’s new album, D, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Devendra Banhart inherited The Magic Band from Captain Beefheart. “To Byron Coley, Mr. Van Vliet left his ashtray heart. And to Mr. Banhart, he left his cassette player, his top hat, and his band.”

“Southern Prog” is how some have termed the expansion of White Denim from a trio to a double-axe murdering foursome, but this isn’t progrock.  This is sweet pop music rehearsed in Tex Watson’s garage, after an afternoon sipping jimson weed tea. Yes, the reference to The Minutemen is apt, but less so on D than anything that came before it. The addition of the perfectly named Austin Jenkins on second guitar doesn’t make it “Southern,” though having an additional guitarist adds a formalism to the rehearsed-within-an-inch-of-its-life machinery.  And when we say pop music, not Southern Prog, we mean that White Denim seem slightly closer in spirit to neighbor Jack White’s buddy Brendan Benson than to Duane and Dicky jamming with the Flaming Lips.  Moreover, progrock as a reference point only counts if a band like Citay can be thrown into this particular patch of prickly pear.

We did not expect ever to want to play a White Denim album for company, for they’ve previously been headphone stalwarts, guaranteed to clear a room waiting for the PTA meeting to start.  Yet D is such a tour de force we could see it entertaining a Mensa convention while anyone who ever loved Clear Spot could tap her feet and nod.  This is music for a late-night drive to the border, music to be played after that all-nighter as the sun rises over the Salton Sea.  More immediately, this is music to play as our Summer ’11 anthem.

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