Posts Tagged ‘jack white’

Have You Heard The New…Jack White?

April 25th, 2012 | Features | 0 Comments

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines

So finally, the inevitable Jack White solo album arrives. But even though I’m like the number one Jack White fan on earth, I’m not celebrating this album, but actually, kind of mourning. Because Jack White’s just not cool anymore. I said it.

Back in the early 2000s when The White Stripes bust out on the scene, they were cutting edge. Two people. Guitar and drums. Mutant-blues garage rock. There were actual debates about The White Stripes. Some people could not get over the fact that they didn’t have a bassist. It was almost like some kind of heresy to these people, while others felt that way about Meg White‘s drumming. You don’t hear people saying stuff like this anymore. But Jack won the debate. He was and still is the rock star of my generation and he’s still doing what he’s always done: playing the music he loves and doing it well. But indie or alternative rock has changed. It’s divided even more, with, on one hand, rock bands that have moved towards accessibility, while others have moved towards experimental sounds and arrangements.

By accessible, I’m not talking about Nickelback, which was “accessible” or mainstream five, ten years ago (and really still is), I’m talking about Gotye and Foster The People. While on the other hand you’ve got the Animal Collectives, the Dirty Projectors, and many, many more who are the experimental rockers. In this current musical landscape, The White Stripes would still be to the left of ‘accessible’, but only because of the off-kilter-ing effect of Meg White‘s drumming. She was the key to The White Stripes‘s genius and Jack knew it. But without her, Jack’s songs and general ‘rocker’ persona slides into the field of ‘accessible’, and thus boring.

Blunderbuss as an album is everything about Jack White that is in the right context endearing and enjoyable, but is otherwise annoying and kitsch-y. I’m talking about his folk-yness, his love of old school blues and country music, his showmanship, etc. Blunderbuss is all these things let free, unbalanced by other personalities and restraining influences. And it’s just not very interesting. Even the album’s most badass song, “Sixteen Saltines” – which features some awesome pedal effects that figure prominently in the song’s composition – lacks the chutzpa it would otherwise have gained from less technical sanding. That’s not to say that White’s gifts are not on display throughout, though. His jovially bombastic guitar theatrics are wonderful as usual and take various forms on the album in songs like “I’m Shaking” and the aforementioned, while his producer and arranger skills lend the perfect touch to songs like “Love Interruption” in the form of a well-placed organ or slide guitar in “On And On And On”. But ultimately the whole thing is too cozy, too comfortable, and White hasn’t yet found a way to balance the honesty of the old time genres he loves with his natural showmanship.

Have You Heard The New…Jack White?

January 30th, 2012 | Features | 0 Comments

I idolize Jack White more than any other living celebrity or whatever on Earth. Dude makes kick-ass music, has solid business sense, keeps his operations under control, and has been doing all of those things for over a decade now. I don’t think you could honestly call a single album he’s ever had his paws on a dud. That’s impressive. So now he’s announced that he’s got some songs he’d like to release as a solo album called Blunderbuss. The thing drops April 24th on Third Man/Columbia Records. Be ready. We got the first taster today with the song “Love Interruption”.

As a first single, this is hardly another “Seven Nation Army” or “Blue Orchid” or “Ichy Thump”. If anything, it’s more reminiscent of the kind of solid folky/bluesy ditties that served as place holders on White Blood Cells. It’s solid though, and has a cool organ thing going on that kind of reminds me of the clarinet parts on “Love Is The Truth”, the song Jack wrote for a great Coke commercial. Co-vocals on the song provided by Ruby Amanfu are ok – can’t say they really add or detract from the song much.

In terms of what this leads us to expect from the album, I’d say that the song – along with the little information we have – suggests this is simply going to be an unambitious collection of cool little songs Jack has on his hard drive (or box full of tapes, considering the luddite that he is) that he wants to share with the world now that the White Stripes aren’t putting stuff out. The guy’s never made a dud, so I don’t expect one now.

What did you think of the song? What do you think the next album will be like? Let us know in the comments section or over Facebook or Twitter.

The Greenhornes

March 26th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is kind of famous by proxy of another band, which itself is also famous really because of another band. However, they’re still a really legits band. The band of the week is…


You – yes, you reading this – sort of, kind of know The Greenhornes. Maybe your eyes scanned their name quickly once or you overheard something or maybe you caught the song of theirs that was used in Jim Jarmusches‘ film Broken Flowers. The reason you kind of know them is because bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler are the rhythm section in The Raconteurs – their band with Jack White and Brendan Benson. What most people don’t know is that they’re a great garage band in their own right who’ve been slogging it out since 1996.

So, as we all know, about 10 years ago we had the garage rock revival in which The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives and The Vines spearheaded a return to like…good music. That way also included The Greenhornes, who made a kind of lunge for the big time also, most successfully with their 2002 album Dual Mono. In years to come the album may seriously be recognized as a classic (out) of its time. It’s just a solid album with classic retro rockers (“Satisfy My Mind”), dark smoky duets with female singers (“There Is An End”), and pure, shameless power-pop (“Gonna Get Me Someone”).

They made an EP that was released on the once-really-cool V2 label before that fell apart and the rhythm section got recruited by Jack White for not only The Raconteurs, but Lorreta Lynn‘s backing band on the incredible Van Lear Rose album (that White produced). Their latest album – their first since 2002 – is 2010’s ****, or ‘Four Stars‘.

Truth be told, the album sounds very after the fact. The sound of the early 00’s garage rock revival that The Greenhornes continue to sport feels dated, and they’ve lost the momentum that one could feel in the excitement of Dual Mono. The annoying thing is that it’s not like garage rock isn’t still popular, but now what’s in is to sound like lo-fi psych-garage rockers updating the sound of bands like The 13th Floor Elevators (Black Lips, Harlem, Strange Boys). But damnit, they still know how to write some killer songs – namely, “Song 13”. True, it’s not exactly groundbreaking lyrically, but it’s just a phenomenally well-composed piece of rock. The lyrics work beautifully even if they’re not the deepest, and the production and arrangement are just spot on in every way.

The Greenhornes are not a band that deserves to die out, no band that can write songs this stellar should. If they can push themselves to stop writing overly-retro songs like, “Need Your Love”, they’ll be alright. I don’t expect it to happen and it most likely won’t, but whatever, they’ve made some truly great music. Most of us wish we could say the same.


June 3rd, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

No Jack, I am your father…