Cool Band: Black Whales

Black WhalesRemember the first time you heard Jane’s Addiction and it was weird and a bit menacing but still kind of fun and light? This is before Perry became a model for douche-y brands that market to douche-y guys like Navarro. There was something so cool about that band that you couldn’t really put your finger on. Something unique and interesting and…baffling.

Black Whales don’t sound like Jane’s Addiction (except occasional vocal inflections) but I am getting some nostalgic feelings of those first encounters with Jane’s that made me seek out more. The Seattle quintet treads delicately on enough musical styles that none really define the band. These guys are children of mix tapes, that’s clear. But rather than mimicking the styles of their heroes they do what any band worth a second listen does: they eke out their own sound from those colliding influences. That’s not to say this is some mish mash of sonic crumbs. In fact, it’s a bit spare—in a good way. Their EP Origins is stripped down to the elements: slamming drums and interesting beats; quirky, catchy guitar lines (not riffs, but melodic lines); anchored bass; and arresting vocals. *Yes, I just typed “arresting” in describing vocals.

Despite the spare production, Origins is not some minor undertaking. As lead vocalist/guitarist Alex Robert explains,”No memories, no regrets, no heartbreak, no blood. The album is meant to sound wide-eyed and optimistic but with lots of ghosts and memories still hanging around. I guess that’s as close as it gets to thematic.”

MP3: Black Whales – “Young Blood”

VIDEO: Black Whales – “The Diamond Divide”

Black Whales: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki (not the band, but interesting info on actual black whales)

9 thoughts on “Cool Band: Black Whales”

  1. yes, a bit of the Blitzen vibe going on. Other songs have maybe some early Strokes (early!! ha!) going on with the cool guitar lines. The whole EP is really very good. One of the better new bands I’ve heard lately.

  2. OK…what was the point of bringing up Jane’s except to dis them gratuitously? Seems rather pointless and more like a cheap shot. And what is exactly “weird and a bit menacing” about Black Whales?

    I don’t think Perry and co. have much control or care who their music gets marketed to. And if they do, I still don’t care who also likes Nothing’s Shocking or Ritual; it doesn’t make them any less powerful or meaningful to me.

    C’mon Derek, please don’t go all Spin magazine on us…

  3. The point in bringing Jane’s up was as a reference to hearing a band unique and exciting enough to make you want to find out more. There’s something unusual about Black Whales that I can’t put my finger on and I had a similar experience with Jane’s Addiction many years ago. That’s the only relevance as far as that goes. Oh, and the occasional vocal inflections I also mentioned.

    Perry et al. certainly have control over their participation in promoting the band and/or unrelated clothing lines and I think they can probably defend themselves just fine. C’mon Kiko, don’t go all Billy Cyrus fan on us.

  4. I used to be in a Janes Addiction tribute band called “Jane Says”. We disbanded in 2000. My old lady was goin’ through some shit and I had to be there for her. Now I do originals man. It’s the only way to go. Whether I get rich or not is irrelevant, ya hear me?

  5. Again. I’m back at this article. I’m now at the point of really fuckin’ liking this band. It’s kind of come full circle.

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