Tag Archive | "White Stripes"

Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color

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Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color

Posted on 27 May 2015 by Sarah Robertson

There’s nothing more exciting than a band whose second album is even more brilliant than its first. What on earth will the Alabama Shakes do next?

This timeless soulful masterpiece pulses with catchy melodies, ecstatic rhythms and a range of tracks that could provide the backdrop to a cult road trip film.

alabamashakes

Skipping past the slightly more average opening track that the Shakes have puzzlingly named their magnum opus after, the album opens up with a run of tunes that could all be hits.

Brittany Howard quickly reminds anyone who has forgotten how well she can sing with the beautiful second track Don’t wanna fight, effortlessly reaching those top notes as well as being the brains behind the guitar.

The third track Dunes is the ultimate example of clever writing, showing us how powerful simple can be. The slow melodic start is transformed at the chorus with Howard’s strong guitar laying the background as she asks the listener, ‘Am I losing it?’.

The next track Future People shares first position for best tune with two others tracks, Gimmie all your love and Shoegazing and I can’t think of any other album that has done this to me since I discovered Led Zeppelin.

Future People is around three minutes of pure bliss. We’re brought into it by a light guitar riff but a heavy layer of bass takes us to a space more akin to dance music before we’re flung swiftly back into grunge. I don’t know if I want to headbang like a banshee or jump up and down.

Gimmie All Your Love is just intense drama all the way through. Great use of pauses and explosions of sound with Ms Howard belting out her lyrics in an uber cool American accent. The instrumental finale will blow you away. This is unique writing at its absolute best.

We steer into a more reflective acoustic area next before a brief trip to the world of punk in The Greatest, which sounds like it was great fun to write/sing/play. Some definite Lou Reed influences here.

The track Shoegaze is happiness personified. It makes me imagine I’m driving a huge Cadillac down the West Coast of America in the blazing sunshine with the world at my feet. If you to listen to this track without having the same vision I will eat all of my three hats.

The shakes are ultimately still the sounds of the soulful sixties crossed with rock and roll but the range of styles in this album shows how incredibly dynamic they are, how diverse their writing is. And how god damn skilled they are at it. There’s so much packed into this album, the more you listen to it the more detail you find.

I can’t help but wonder if Jack White hadn’t publically endorsed them, would they still be famous? I can only conclude that they may not have risen so quickly but with talent like this, it would only have been a matter of time.

Sound and Color was released in April and has achieved the top spot in the American and Canadian album charts. Quite a feat for a band that came out of nowhere in 2011.

This is my album of the year so far.

by Sarah Robertson

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Jack White – Blunderbuss

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Jack White – Blunderbuss

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Joe

We are proud to admit that foppish indie bands who struggle to shift a few thousand CDs are our usual review fodder. It is unheard of for us to review an album that is top of the UK and US albums charts at the time of writing. But for Blunderbuss, the solo debut of former White Stripes man Jack White, we will make an exception.

Sure, Blunderbuss has mainstream appeal among classic rock fans. But there’s just the right alternative edge to attract the attention  of this foppish blog and to elevate it the above the likes of other stadium sized rock blues acts such as Kings of Leon.

Take the opening bars of the first track Missing Pieces with its disjointed keyboard and guitar riff. It’s by no means a classic rock riff in the Guns and Roses sense, but this odd, unshowy run of notes is what makes this track so effective.

The powerchords that start Sixteen Saltines are simply gloriou. Then for Freedom At 21 the tempo slows slightly and White starts to sound more like Kelley Stoltz, the underrated singer songwriter whose band supported White’s post White Stripes outfit The Raconteurs in 2006. Across the album  cliches of rock such as guitar solo-ing are thankfully kept to a minimum, with keyboards taking a front seat.

As a slice of rock n roll I’m Shakin’ is not quite dirty enough  to be compared to Jon Spencer  Blues Explosion, but it has a sense of fun that’s missing from so much of rock these days. There’s even something for Kinks fans here on the ever-so Ray Davies influenced Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy.

And the track  Love Interruption is elevated from standard rock ballad to an enjoyable, quirky alternative rock ballad with the addition of some simple clarinet and bass clarinet playing from Emily Bowland.

The album takes a little dip towards the end on the more bluesy Trash Tongue Talker but picks up for the final flourish of Take Me With You When You Go, a kind of a showcase of the album with a wonderful piano swagger. It sounds a little, just a little, like Queen as it picks up towards the end.

This is certainly the best album I’ve heard by White in his various guises and the fact that this album has pricked up the ears of this blog as well as a vast swathe of the global CD and download buying public shows how wide and varied  his appeal now is.

To show we are still a little indie blog, despite dipping our toes into the mainstream waters of the album charts, I’d like to recommend Feet Fall Heavy, the second album from England’s Kill It Kid, from last year. It’s probably only sold a few hundred copies but its dirty alternative take on Delta blues is sure to appeal to Jack White’s many new fans.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

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White Stripes Single Sells for £11,000 ($17,000)

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White Stripes Single Sells for £11,000 ($17,000)

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Joe

A rare White Stripes single has sold for £11,000 ($17,000). The deal was made through Jack White’s Third Man Records.

The expensive purchase was a  copy of the band’s second single ‘Lafayatte Blues’, which has a cover hand painted by White and Italy Records boss Dave Buick due to a delay in printing the actual covers.

Just 15 copies had these covers and all were originally sold at a gig in Detroit in 1998 for just £3.50 ($5.50) each.

Since that gig and prior to this latest sale just two have been resold. One sold in 2003 for £500 ($789) and another a year later went for £1,000 ($1700).

This is still not the most valuable Jack White record. While working as an upholsterer and performing in a band called The Upholsterers Jack sealed up 100 copies of an EP by the band  in furniture. None have yet emerged.

Jack White

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