Tag Archives: Dead Weather

Jack White – Blunderbuss; Band Of Skulls – Sweet Sour

Jack WhiteBlunderbuss (Third Man/Columbia)

Band Of SkullsSweet Sour (Vagrant)

When the White Stripes quietly called it a day last year, we were in still in the glow of Jack White’s many side-projects and production credits to really allow the news to sink in.

If the idea of a Stripeless world has finally got you down, a quick scan of the college radio playlists show there are plenty of suitable facsimiles. One of the better ones, Southampton’s Band of Skulls, released their sophomore album earlier this year, Sweet Sour, a  record of consistent vintage gear blooze and bare-ass arrangements that point to an obvious indebtedness to White.

And then there’s Jack himself, foraging out into the solo abyss with Blunderbuss. Named after an old firearm, White checks to see if his aim is true when delivering a full length’s worth of music as attention grabbing as his previous explorations.

Band of Skulls seem content on building on White’s Dead Weather era, complete with a punchy power trio format and a young woman by the name of Emma Richardson to add a bit of sweetness to the crunch of their cavestomp.

Sweet Sour pines for the most basic of hooks, with frontman Russell Marsden following the always welcomed tradition of the Malcolm Young School of big riffs. Drummer Matt Hayward keeps everyone in line through the intimidating power of his four-speed rhythms, allowing Marsden’s chords to take center stage.

Like AC/DC, or even Dead Weather if you want to get down to it, Band of Skulls find the challenge is to find something lyrically worthy to make such a temper-tantrum with their guitars. After a bit of head-nodding, you begin to realize that the choruses are nothing more than clever song-titles repeated and their more somber moments sound like Marsden and Richardson’s brooding over endless loops of the acoustic guitar part of Zep’s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.”

You have to squint to see the cracks in Sweet Sour, and I am sure it will play nice in the various movies and commercials these tracks will inevitably get licensed to. There’s just really nothing more than the competency it exudes, forgoing any attempt to challenge the blueprint and prompting Sweet Sour to wallow in the very same indecisiveness that even its title suggest.

Is it sweet? Is it sour? No, it’s something bland and of little character from a power trio who seems too concerned with their own career path than really letting their heart show. Even the mistakes this album claims to have, seem intentionally placed just to give it a bit of dusty charm and by the end of side two’s slow tempo fade, you’ve already forgotten how good some of the riffs really were on the previous side.

On the other hand, Jack White is firmly committed to making his first solo effort a stark departure from his other work, exiling the riff for big, basement arrangements with emotional openness and a willingness to try new approaches. There’s no need to amend for any certain style when there’s a clean canvas with each new song, and White is clearly using different colors than he’s done in the past.

The stupid zip-gun guitar tone makes another unwelcome return, but making up for its presence is a solid-slew of new rhythms, surprising arrangements (the female vocals to Rudy Toombs “I’m Shakin’” are wonderful) and some of White’s most personal work to date.

One of the most prominent instruments throughout the record is his use of the upright piano, which adds to the homespun feel of Blunderbuss. It also cuts down on the need for White to embellish on his previous instrument of choice and add things like pedal steels, fiddles, Hammonds, and any other vintage instrument that he’s found in Nashville’s ample pawn shops.

Each vintage tone seems to be placed in the right environment, bridging the gap between the records he’s trying to emulate and the clever ways he works to get new listeners–hopefully younger ones–to open their minds to the tones of his influences.

Blunderbuss confirms White’s place within rock’s current royalty, and it marks a clear transition from White the band member, or even band leader, for that matter. The record is intended as a subtle departure from the sounds and tones of previous commitments, setting on a new direction where arrangements are carefully considered as well as the instruments that fill in the space.

The difference between the two offerings, other than the direct link that White provides? Band of Skulls seem intent on parlaying their blooze into bankroll, looking for their place next to other garage practitioners on the echelon of notoriety.

Meanwhile, Jack White seems to be making records that will match up next to the long players in his own collection, its success measured by the records it prompts you to discover.

Video: Band Of Skulls – “Sweet Sour”

Video: Jack White – “Hypocritical Kiss” (live)

Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #16

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

# Cracking the pallophotophone code. Radio recordings from 1929-31 ft. the voices of Edison, Herbert Hoover, & Henry Ford. http://ow.ly/1Uhq4 2 minutes ago

# A great interview with Topspin’s Ian Rogers about the music biz: http://bit.ly/bwSs0E @iancr 22 minutes ago

# On This Day in 2004: “Glorious Noise is good” — Colin O’Malley, TRUSTe http://ow.ly/1UeSS Do you still follow us, @micshasan? about 1 hour ago

# RT @soundofthecity: The 10 Most Shocking Revelations About the Tragic Last Days of Gang Starr MC Guru http://bit.ly/cxBA2o about 2 hours ago

# Cool. RT @genesimmons: Hey, if you’re 14 years old or under, you can attend any KISS concert in the upcoming N. American Tour for FREE. about 19 hours ago

# “We support the boycott of Arizona.” RT @robertloerzel: Los Lobos cancels Arizona concert. http://www.loslobos.org/site/news.shtml about 20 hours ago

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 802 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this stuff as it happens…

Continue reading Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #16

The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards

The Dead Weather - Sea Of CowardsThe Dead WeatherSea Of Cowards (Third Man)

It’s damn near impossible to hate Jack White. In fact, most complaints that I’ve heard or read are relatively superficial ones that have little to do with his music and more to do how his music is presented visually. White is a classicist rock musician, deeply rooted in and respectful of its past. It’s clear that he’s studied the records on his turntable intently and the footnotes of his term papers (or albums) are clearly audible.

Sea Of Cowards is the second album from the Dead Weather, a project where White finds himself behind the drum kit instead of center stage, even though the focus is squarely on his slight frame. I did a double take when I heard the band was releasing a new record as it was only last summer when they released their debut.

Continue reading The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards

The Dead Weather to Perform New Album on MySpace

The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards The Dead Weather will be streaming a live performance of their new album Sea of Cowards today on MySpace. The show will take place at Third Man Records‘ in Nashville. A guest list was created for members of TMR’s “Vault” record club to attend the show.

The band is scheduled to perform at 5:00pm EST. As of 7:13am today, the show is still on despite severe weather and flooding in the region.

The Dead Weather: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

The White Stripes: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

The Kills: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

New Dead Weather video: Die By The Drop

Video: The Dead Weather – Die By The Drop

Jeez, we can’t seem to go more than a week without Jack White dropping another single! Who’s he think he is, Berry Gordy? This one is the lead off single from the Dead Weather‘s sophomore effort, Sea of Cowards, due May 11 on Third Man/Warner Bros. I’m happy to see them spend some Warner dollars on a high-production video with costumes, sets, masks, special effects, and smoke machines. Badass. I also like how Jack is morphing into Johnny Depp and Alison Mosshart is gradually becoming indistinguishable from Meg.

Crazy to look back and realize how influential Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands have become. Who would’ve guessed?

The Dead Weather: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

The Dead Weather – Live in Newcastle

Dead Weather Live in Newcastle

The Dead Weather at Newcastle Academy

Newcastle, England, October 21, 2009

The Dead Weather played a powerful, no holds barred set that kept the crowd riveted for the full 75 minute show…apart from one point when Jack had to tell some people in the crowd they were talking too loudly between songs.

For the most part Jack White led the band from the back with his Bonham-esque drumming. He is multitalented; I half expected to see him driving the band’s tour bus on to their next gig in Edinburgh. This is not just Jack’s band this is a gang of four who all play their part. Can’t wait for their next visit.

More photos after the jump…

Continue reading The Dead Weather – Live in Newcastle

Jack White Releases “Version II” of “Buffalo” Video

Video: The Dead Weather – “I Cut Like A Buffalo” Version II

Crazy old Jack White. Seems like it was just a couple weeks ago that he released a video for the Dead Weather‘s “I Cut Like A Buffalo.” Oh yeah, it was just a couple weeks ago. Well, now he’s gone and released a second video for the same song. This one features a dead ringer for the creepy little guy from Twin Peaks, but only one belly dancer. It’s also in black and white and has more of Jack’s Wonkatastic dance moves. Or mimery. Or whatever that is.

Kinda fun to play them both at the same time…

Dead Weather: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Continue reading Jack White Releases “Version II” of “Buffalo” Video

New Dead Weather video: I Cut Like A Buffalo

Video: The Dead Weather – “I Cut Like A Buffalo”

Jack White directed this video for the Dead Weather track that features his own bad self on lead vocals. In the live version of the song, Alison Mosshart isn’t even on stage plays guitar [Corrected to reflect reality. -ed.], so it’s no surprise she’s not in the video (unless she’s one of the wigged ladies behind the veil). Jack’s in full Wonka mode on this reggae jam. Can’t wait to hear the dub remix.

Dead Weather: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Continue reading New Dead Weather video: I Cut Like A Buffalo

Screaming Females – Bell

MP3: Screaming Females – “Bell” from Power Move, out now on Don Giovanni.

There’s no faster way to garner attention for your band these days than to be associated with Jack White. If you can get a supporting slot for whatever he’s touring with, all the better. If you can KILL in that supporting slot…well, then you’re golden.

Screaming Females may have just struck gold. DeRo described their opening slot as thus, “In a rare example of an opening band being every bit as awesome as the headliner, the New Jersey trio Screaming Females provided ample evidence that it was more than ready for the sudden leap it recently made from tiny, underground all-ages clubs to sold-out theaters as the Dead Weather‘s hand-picked support.”

Not bad.

Video: Screaming Females – “Buried In The Nude”

Screaming Females: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Pay to Slum: A hologram at the end of the world and other tales.

The Dead Weather

Josh Groban might make the closed captions sing, but it’s Will.i.am‘s world to steal. Did you hear the news? i.am and his band, Los Angeles-based underground Tybo fighting champions and dance-pop vocal trio the Black Eyed Peas, have with this week’s activity on the Hot 100 been officially canonized by the ruling order of their native Mars. Their jerseys were also retired. But don’t switch off your hologram machines just yet, Midwestern children — “I gotta feelin'” your product placement party visionary and beloved spin move endorser is still gonna hologram his way across the nation. Will.he.WILL!

Between Fergie-offs at the local Y and keeping up with all Will’s tweets from the gaseous fog near Phobos (“I don’t even know where that is, but it sounds hologro-mantic!“), it can be difficult to remember that there’s a real rock ‘n’ roll band behind the digitized neon smoke and bedazzled mirrors. That’s right, and they’re called the Dead Weather.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: A hologram at the end of the world and other tales.