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efd on 05/19/2010 at 09:00AM
The Brooklyn-based band White Hills recently returned for a second visit to WFMU, laying down a devastating follow-up to their April 2007 appearance. This most recent performance included two songs from the new self-titled album that was recently released on Thrill Jockey, as well as a song from their second full-length Heads On Fire and one from their split release with The Heads.
It was back in 2005 when White Hills attracted the attention of Julian Cope and his Head Heritage web site: a track from the band was included on the Due To Lack Of Interest, Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled sampler CD alongside Comets on Fire and Temple of Bon Matin, among others. They went on to release their first full-length, Glitter Glamour Atrocity, in early 2007 and made their first appearance on my show shortly thereafter.
It seems silly to try to write a description of White Hills's music when there are links just pixels away that you can click on to hear them for yourself. But, in this short attention span world I will entice you to click those links by quoting writer Ben Graham, who called their sound a "glam-tinged fusion of Stooges, Hawkwind and Can" on the UK music site The Quietus earlier this year. He adds:
"[T]he bruisingly heavy 'Three Quarters' [...] is White Hills at their most bleak and nihilistic, with Dave coldly chanting "We don't care, she don't care, they don't care, no-one cares," over the band's patented Stoogewind riffing, exploding midway through into a raw Ron Asheton style solo. Many bands of course attempt this type of music, but few pull it off with the power and freshness achieved here. There's no stodge, no drag- this shit is lean and dangerous."
I recommend that you throw that short attention span out the window and listen to their May 4 session in its entirety (the first track in the player above). You don't have to listen through headphones to enjoy it -- but it wouldn't hurt! And don't sleep on the 2007 WFMU session, either. Many thanks to Glenn Luttman for engineering both sets.
efd on 04/19/2010 at 02:07PM
Last Tuesday I posted a Facebook status update about the live set by The Laureates that I was airing on my show that night. In an effort to convey the catchy musical smarts that would be on display, I wrote "A must for fans of Sloan, GBV, Big Dipper, the Kinks, etc. etc." Then, realizing a (slightly) more succinct way to put it, I added "or: 'A must for fans of songs that are good.'"
The Laureates began germinating at the end of 2005, when singer/guitarist Chad Preston wrote a collection of songs that he subsequently recorded on his own as a lo-fi album of sorts. Inspired by that initial effort, Preston set about putting together the right band to really do justice to the music. By early 2007, the band was complete: Pete Gray and Crawfie Ward had joined as the rhythm section, and guitarist Adam Penly finally rounded out the combo. The band's first EP (available for free download) was released later in 2007, and it subsequently became a staple of my show. "I Want To Miss You" was the standout track to my ears, but the rest of the EP was certainly no slouch -- as evidenced by another track on the EP, "Witching Boots," attaining the highly coveted "Song I heard on the Evan "Funk" Davies show on WFMU and immediately thought 'I must have this'" slot on the Unblinking Ear blog's 2007 roundup.
As it turned out, The Laureates were just getting started. A full-length CD, There Are No More Gentlemen, was released in November 2008, and it proved that the songwriting chops displayed on the EP were no fluke -- as did the No Kontrol EP (available for free download), released earlier this year. The band will be returning to the studio soon to start working on a new album, and the new songs they played in this session are a strong indication that it'll be another gem. Give a listen and I think you'll agree.
Special Blog Bonus! Throughout 2010, The Laureates are posting a cover song each month to their website. So far, they've released covers of songs by the Breeders, Troggs, Soft Boys and Velvet Underground. They performed the VU song live during their WFMU session, and you can grab that MP3 right here:
Thanks to Diane Kamikaze for engineering the session.