LOTD Recommends: White Denim

Left of the Dial

LOTD Recommends: White Denim

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016

Rick McNulty hosts Left of the Dial on Fridays, 7-11 pm. Follow him on Twitter @Rick_Daddy

I swear that every song on the new White Denim album arrives with a fully-formed mustache.

camel stache 2There’s no other way to explain it. Call it butt rock, cock rock, freedom rock — whatever it is, these songs are accompanied by a big, bushy ‘70s mustache. Like the ‘stache on that swingin’ guy in those old Camel ads.

Stiff is the best southern boogie album you’ll hear all year. I was a little worried that White Denim’s flavor might mellow after the departure of guitarist Austin Jenkins and drummer Joshua Block (now backing Leon Bridges). However, Jonathan Horne and Jeff Olson have filled in admirably. And if anything, leader and songwriter James Petralli has doubled-down on the guitar riffs and summertime party rock songs.

This isn’t to say the music is shallow, but rather it contains the kind of complex pheromones that touch that care-free pleasure center (that same sweet spot that ZZ Top, Skynyrd, and AC/DC stoked several years ago).

It’s a full-bore guitar attack from the very beginning on “Had 2 Know (Personal),” followed by more dirty riffs on a paean to good times with the perfect title of “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah).” White Denim hits overdrive by the third track, “Holda You (I’m Psycho);” most of the album is relentless riff rock — it’s like getting pistol-whipped with a guitar. And this makes me happy.

Petralli is also capable of the slow-burn groove, all falsetto and shag carpeting on “(I’m The One) Big Big Fun.” It’s one less button on his shirt that reveals just a little more chest hair than you remembered. The closer, “Thank You,” (co-written with Cass McCombs) is a sweet and subdued aperitif to wind down the record, which makes for a gentle ending after the furious haymakers served on most of the album.

Stiff has the makings of a banging summer album. I wanna hear it around the pool, blasting from car stereos and over the PA at the Top Notch. Careful not to get ketchup in your mustache.

This Song: James Petralli of White Denim // Bayonne

This Song

This Song: James Petralli of White Denim // Bayonne

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016

Songs can serve as musical touchstones that we return to when we want to remind ourselves what we want music to be. For White Denim’s James Petralli, that song is the Grateful Dead’s “That’s It For the Other One,” which helped him realize how he wanted to approach both the guitar and recording. With the song as a starting point, Petralli goes on to explain why drummers are the most important members of the band, why all musical expression is valid and what it was like to record the bands’s new record “Stiff” with Ethan Johns.

Then Bayonne explores how The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”   showed him how powerful openness and vulnerability in music could be and  explains how he approached his new record “Primitives” with that same openness.

 

Watch White Denim perform “Ha Ha Ha Ha Yeah” on VuHaus

Check out White Denim’s Tour Dates

Watch Bayonne, who previously went by the name Roger Sellers, perform “Waves” from him new record “Primitives” Live in Studio 1A.

Check out Bayonne’s Tour Dates

Subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher to get the new episodes of  This Song delivered to you as soon as they come out.

Listen to the songs featured in episode 33 of This Song.

Music News 06.30.14

SoundCheck

Music News 06.30.14

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014

Austin music and fireworks change this year; Spoon hit the road with a tour; Gary Clark Jr. is Rolling Stone’s newest ‘Young Gun.’
This is your SoundCheck.

Music News 05.28.14

SoundCheck

Music News 05.28.14

Posted by on May 28, 2014

White Denim ‘guitar legends’ in Rolling Stone; Do music festivals change the live music scene?; Axl Rose responds to ‘greatest singer of all time’ label.
This is your SoundCheck.

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