Third Man Records, owned and operated by The White Stripes frontman Jack White, are known for working with a variety of artists from all over the world in different genres, and the most recent artist to get all up in their shit is New Zealand native and London-living Willy Moon.
You might recognise the name if you read this site as we named him as One To Watch back in April, highlighting his bombastic and charismatic approach to soulful, Hip-Hop-inspired early Rock ‘n’ Roll. He pulls off the amalgamation perfectly, showcased on his new track that he’s releasing with Third Man Records.
“Railorad Track” will be released as a 7” single via TMR on August 20th and backed with “Bang Bang”, another new track. Check out “Railroad Track” below as he saunters through some disused Nashville streets.
If you’re gonna do bad things, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Clearly Jack White has done something wrong in his new video for “Freedom At 21”, otherwise he wouldn’t be trying to evade the law in his gorgeous green car, or escape from jail with his pumped up guitar kicks, or get Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme outta bed on a Monday morning to take up his role of volunteer-badass-cop-who-stands-at-road-blocks-looking—like-a-smug-badass.
“Freedom At 21” is taken from Jack White’s debut solo album Blunderbuss, which is out now.
Jack White and The Peacocks - Roseland Ballroom - May 22nd, 2012
I’ve always been a casual Jack White fan: I admired him from afar, appreciated his musical brilliance, and was casually into his bands, but I never really delved into his catalogue; with six full-length White Stripes albums, two fronting The Raconteurs, two in The Dead Weather, and his debut solo album “Blunderbuss”, the man’s discography is vast, and I just never knew where to begin. Even so, when his solo shows at Roseland Ballroom were announced, I knew I had to go: his showmanship as a mere drummer was incredible when I saw him in The Dead Weather, and the few minutes he had on guitar were mind blowing. I obviously wasn’t going to be able to see The White Stripes anytime soon, so a Jack White solo “greatest hits” show would have to do. And thus began my few-month Jack White binge, when I finally had the stamina to dive into his music.
By the time openers, The Alabama Shakes, came on, Roseland Ballroom was already beyond crowded, with even those in the back packed liked sardines. The Alabama Shakes are a new favorite of mine, as I’ve been listening to their debut, “Boys & Girls”, on repeat ever since it came out and was pleasantly surprised when I heard they would be opening. Lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard, comparable to a female Otis Redding, really commandeers the band and is quite the powerhouse. The band is a hybrid like no other and is unique in its fusion of neo-soul vocals paired with rock instrumentation. Howard was so exciting to watch: she had so much soul and expression and was so invested in what she was singing, making the set refreshingly genuine. Highlights of the set were when she just exploded singing “BE MY BABY” during “Be Mine”, and as a female guitarist myself, I also particularly enjoyed when she showed off her incredible guitar skills while soloing on “Hold On” and “I Found You”, proving that female guitarists can do more than just play rhythm. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys headline the venue in a few years, as they managed to captivate all 3500 people in the sold out crowd.
The Alabama Shakes
After a brief set change, it was finally time for Jack White. The curtains opened, showcasing an elaborate setup of White’s all-female backing band, The Peacocks, opening with “Sixteen Saltines”, a “Blunderbuss” rock & roll number, which had White already showing off his genius guitar chops. He and the band played a lot from the new album, my favorite of which was the lead single, “Love Interruption”, which had White and one of The Peacocks harmonizing in a seductive duet, in a style reminiscent what he and fellow bandleader Allison Mosshart did as The Dead Weather. “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” was another crowd-favorite, to which White prefaced “Here’s a new one, we haven’t played it twenty-four hours”, before diving into the bluesy number. The set was very “Blunderbuss”-heavy, but it was really the older tracks that were the most memorable.
Jack White’s catalogue is genre defying in that it covers different aspects from rock & roll, blues, indie rock, soul, and folk – the latter of which was illustrated during The White Stripes’ folk number, “Hotel Yorba”, which elicited one of the most raucous crowd responses of the night, as the sold out crowd chanted the chorus and shuffled along to the music. Another White Stripes classic, “We’re Gonna Be Friends” had White playing more stripped down, with little instrumentation besides for his acoustic guitar, showing that the legend has a softer side. “Two Against One”—a track prepared originally by Daniele Luppi and Danger Mouse as a part of their “Rome” collaboration, featuring Jack White was another slow number that further showcased how versatility. “The Hardest Button To Button” and “Ball and Biscuit”, both White Stripes originals, had the crowd moving, especially as The Raconteurs hit “Carolina Drama” followed, definitely a crowd favorite, as everyone was singing along.
Jack White and The Peacocks doing “Love Interruption”
What really made the show so incredible was the way that White and his band managed to rearrange every song with such precision and brilliance. His all-woman backing band included a phenomenal drummer and keyboard player, along with a steel guitarist, a super pregnant upright bassist, and a fiddle player. What seems like an odd setup resulted in such a brilliant reworking that really fleshed out his songs and gave it a fresh revamping, the most exceptional of which was the newly fiddle-prominent “Hotel Yorba”. White, mostly known for being the guitar god that he is, managed to play a few songs by the piano, proving that along with his drum work in The Dead Weather, Jack White is an unstoppable musician who has mastered almost everything.
Right before the encore, we were given the ultimate surprise: what was set up as a VIP area, filled with chairs and a lucky bunch with a great view of the stage, turned into a stage, as two men in top hats pulled back a curtain to reveal Jack White and his all-male backing band, Los Buzzards, who played with him the duration of the show the night before (we were lucky – the night before had no surprise ending, and had no Peacocks – meaning no “Love Interruption”). They dove right into a heavier White Stripes number, “Black Math”, which had Jack White really rocking out and showcasing his guitar mastery. “Cut Like A Buffalo”, arguably The Dead Weather’s most popular track, had White and Los Buzzards playing some blues-infused rock & roll. After the blues-heavy number, White got out his guitar slide, and played some incredible slide guitar improvisation before starting the White Stripes’ “Catch Hell Blues”, which in my opinion was the song that most showcased his talent, making him somewhat of a modern Jimi Hendrix for his skills and innovations. The show was capped off with the only predictable thing of the night – a heavy rendition of the White Stripes’ most popular tune, “Seven Nation Army”, which had the crowd go bonkers, while everyone chanted along to rock’s most recognizable bass line.
Jack White is already partially through his summer tour, which will include many festival appearances and European shows, with a few more North American dates sprinkled in, which I’d recommend to anyone who loves a good concert.
Jack White and Los Buzzards on a different stage
St. Vincent played “Cruel” from her latest album “Strange Mercy”, Damon Albarn dropped “Apple Carts” from his “Dr Dee” album, and the fantastic Charles Bradley and his Extraordinares performed “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)” from the album “No Time For Dreaming”.
Jack White did “Blunderbuss” track “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy”, The White Stripes classic (and my personal favourite song of theirs) “Ball And Biscuit”, and a little interview with Jools in which they did an impromptu version of “St. James Infirmary Blues” on piano.
Also recorded was Alabama Shakes letting rip on their “Boys & Girls” track “Hang Loose”, all of which can be seen below.
Check out Jack White on The Colbert Show last night as he performed “Freedom At 21” from his new album “Blunderbuss” and chats to Stephen about…..well, a bunch of stuff that’s not “Blunderbuss”. Peep it below, thanks to The Audio Perv.
Jools Holland’s show kicked off tonight with a bumper line-up of artists who’ve released some of the best albums of the year so far.
Jack White played a couple of tracks from his excellent debut solo album “Blunderbuss”, Alabama Shakes played from their equally-as fantastic debut LP “Boys & Girls”, and Canadian experimental indie-electronic artist Grimes played from her stunning album “Visions”.
Watch each of the performances below and let us know what you think in the comments.
When the news broke that The White Stripes had officially broken up back in February of 2011, my feelings were somewhat mixed: of course, The White Stripes were and still are one of my favourite bands, one of the few bands active in my lifetime whose discography seems to warrant obsessing over and scouring through in the same fashion as those of many more established legends, and, of course, you always look forward to a new album from your favourite band. The discovery that no such new album would ever come was naturally something of a disappointment.
But there was an excitement too: it had already been five years since the last White Stripes record, and you won’t find many people who would be willing to put “Icky Thump” and “Get Behind Me Satan” on the same critical pedestal that “Elephant”, “White Blood Cells” and “De Stijl” have risen to over time. The White Stripes may have broken up in 2011, but even to diehards it was obvious that the project was losing steam some time before that. With the break up announced, it was finally possible to anticipate a Jack White solo album, an album free from the much-commented upon, self-imposed restrictions of The White Stripes, or any of the obligations of working with a collaborator. Press releases in the build up to “Blunderbuss” stressed that these songs could not have been recorded as anything other than a Jack White album, and so anticipation heightened: “Blunderbuss” would be “Jack White: Unbounded”, or perhaps, given the turmoil of band breakup and White’s separation from his wife Karen Elson in the same year, “Jack White: Unhinged”.
Certainly there are signs on “Blunderbuss” that White’s songwriting has been informed by the tumultuous events of 2011. On the crunching single “Sixteen Saltines” White wails “Who’s jealous of who? If I get busy then I couldn’t care less what you do”. Similarly, on opening track “Missing Pieces”, he describes the departure of a partner as a process of painful disembodiment, albeit disguised by an upbeat tune and White’s faintly comic delivery of key lines – “I woke up and my hands were gone, yeah, I looked down and my legs were long gone.” All disguise, whether musical or tonal, is dropped for the track’s final, biting line: “Sometimes someone controls everything about you” and when that person leaves, they “take a part of you with them.” It’s hard not to imagine that White is describing Elson here, though it could just as easily be Meg White. After all, Jack did claim in a recent interview that “Meg completely controlled The White Stripes”.
Just whose presence it is that seems to pervade White’s lyrics here is ultimately not something to get hung up on: White showed plenty of bile as a member of The White Stripes and, given his obvious continuing readiness to put music ahead of personal history [Elson provides backing vocals on this album], it hardly seems fair to assume that hints of hostility here pertain to the real world any more than they did in his past work. White’s greatest talent, besides his breathtaking skill as a guitarist, has always been in fanciful first-person storytelling with an emotional punch.
Besides, beyond the prickliness of some of the opening tracks, “Blunderbuss” moves away from any remotely confessional territory and evolves into a genre-hopping joyride. The transformation begins with lead single “Love Interruption”, a fairly simple folk number whose macabre metaphors don’t make for the same uplifting reading on paper as they do when heard to a tune. It’s followed by the title track, an old western love story with an impeccably measured pedal steel guitar opening. White displays his punning chops as he and his lover flee from her previous man, “a romantic bust, a blunder turned explosive blunderbuss.”
Later White tackles old fashioned rhythm and blues on “I’m Shakin’” – the highlight of which has to be his tongue in cheek exaggeration of Little Willie John’s pronunciation of nervous [he’s “noy-vus”] – before some irresistibly cheery honky-tonk on “Trash Tongue Talker” and “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy”. The result of all this good cheer is that by the time the upbeat final number, “Take Me With You When You Go”, comes around, the only thing preventing it from being bundled into the same category as previous, light-hearted White Stripes album closers like “It’s True That We Love One Another”, “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)”,and “Effect & Cause” is that “Blunderbuss” exhibits the same charm and ‘wink wink, nudge nudge’ attitude as those songs do for almost half of its length, not just at its conclusion. Oh, and also the fact that “Take Me With You When We Go” explodes into the hardest rocking track on the album at exactly its halfway point. The riff ranks among White’s finest and makes for an absolutely killer conclusion.
The only complaint that can really be borne against “Blunderbuss” is that it doesn’t feature a little more of the powerful riffing that it closes with and that people have come to expect from Jack White, though his music has been trending that way for some time. The result is that “Blunderbuss” doesn’t simply come off as “Jack White: Unbounded”, an explosion of raw creative energy in a newly personal context; rather, it’s simultaneously reserved and adventurous, reeling in the hard rock while putting out feelers everywhere else, and, importantly, it’s just a total blast.
Over the weekend we posted one of Jack White’s newest songs “Freedom At 21”, a track that he’d released into the world via helium balloon as a 7” single, that then touched down somewhere for someone to rip it and throw it up online.
He’s now got the entirety of “Blunderbuss” streaming via iTunes, but you can also listen to it below. Tracks like “Freedom At 21”, “Love Interruption”, and “Sixteen Saltines” only served to heighten the excitement surrounding the album and our patience has paid.
Listen to “Blunderbuss” in its entirety below and let us know what you think. How does it fare against our beloved White Stripes catalogue?
The Mhurs popped up in the LBYB inbox courtesy of Josh Sickels from 1, 2, 3, and we haven’t been so excited about a new band since, well… since we first heard 1, 2, 3. I say new, but The Mhurs have actually been together for four years. They’re putting a proper record together for the first time now, though, and based on the four tracks available right now, it’s shaping up pretty damn nicely.
I was sold on The Mhurs as soon as I heard “I’m Sorry Forever”. It opens with an eery guitar line and the slightest of bass touches hinting at what’s to follow: an absolutely immense main riff with bluesy verses and a big, filthy guitar solo for a bridge that could have been ripped straight from the fingers of Jack White.
But The Mhurs aren’t just cheap blues rock imitators. “Why?!” is more akin to the adventurous sound of Blonde Redhead when they let one of the Pace brothers take over on vocals. Lead singer Jonathan Maguire’s soaring vocals are accompanied by an identically soaring guitar part. The two intertwine beautifully, all the while underpinned by rolling drums a la Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Throw Away Your Television”. “Together To Stay Together” and “Let The Right One In” add some gentleness to the otherwise rocking proceedings, as their titles suggest. The first is a spacious, diverse, six minute epic, and the second is a tender number that sounds like a potential album closer.
The eclectic references should give it away: there’s more variety in these four songs than some artists manage to squeeze out of a complete record and, more importantly, every track is great. What’s more, these MP3s are numbered 7 through 10, which means at least 6 more tracks to come from The Mhurs in the near future. Download the four we’ve got so far below, and look forward to the full album dropping around mid-June.