Austin-Texas rockers White Denim have put together a brillant and uncompromising sophmore release with Fits. The trio continues to move the goalposts from their 2008 debut Workout Holiday; playing with an amalgum of disperate sounds and rhtyms, agilely shifting (often mid-track and without warning) from garage rock, to blues, country, punk to psycadelica. Recorded in their trailer, tracks reel with howls, gigantic riffs, impressively tight and explosive rhtyms and reverberating inventive energy. It should be a complete pileup, but instead, it makes for a wonderfully chaotic and heady mix.
The album opener "Radio Milk / How Can You Stand It" bolts out of the gates with reverberating beats, wailing guitar and a dizziying change-up, eventually shifting gears for the catchy and jolty single "I Start To Run" and the swirling, moody instrumental "Sex Prayer". Flip the record for the mellower half of the album for the sunny grooves of the likes of "Paint Yourself" and "Regina Holding Hands". But the real highlight of the album is the excellent "Mirrored And Reverse".
Once the dust cloud settles, the sheer cleverness and subtlety of Fits becomes clear, rendering this album such a compelling listen.
"Fits" is out now on Downtown (US) and Full Time Hobby (Europe). White Denim will be playing at Point Ephémère (Paris) on 9 September - check their MySpace page for updated concert dates. In the UK, pick up "Fits" from Rough Trade Shops and get a bonus mix CD put together by the band here.
Josh, is drumming noise or does drumming become not noise when accompanied by guitars and vocals, keyboards, etc.?
I’m not sure it’s ever just noise, or maybe it’s always noise. I try to remember that melody, by very simple terms, is harmonic ideas moving left to right. If that’s the case, it makes it difficult to peg ‘drumming’ as the barbaric instrument you make it out to be in that question.
Do you play by feel only?
Yes, and I bathe in a river, and rode a horse to school every day.
How do you go about creating a rhythm for the other guys to play to? Can you describe your process in a song like "Shake Shake Shake" which is very drum commanded?
We all try to represent each other in our own playing. That being the case, I’m thinking about what the other guys hear in their parts. Sensitivity towards the other players is very important. That song is pretty easy to describe. Steve (bass) and I locked on to a groove very quickly, and I stripped my part back to the bare essentials. After that, I rebuilt my part based on the space and tonality of James’ guitar parts.
Is it possible for an over 70's active age group to dig your vibe? Would you ever consider playing a gig in an old folks home?
Yes, and heck yeah.
How do you think you will view your music when you are 70 if you live that long?
I hope that we’re producing work that I will always be proud of.
Have you ever worn white denim while drumming?
What is your worst injury from drumming in a complete state of drummer ecstasy on stage?
Is it possible for you to flirt with sexy girls while drumming, and are you successful afterwards?
No. I look like an imbecile when I play. I’m only successful when I go to a different bar, and someone pities me for not speaking the language.
What's is on your hi-fi at the moment?
Dynastie Crisis’ Singles ("Vivre Libre", "Faust 72", "Rock’n Roll Dans la Rue", "Réveille-toi" , "Jesahel" and "Le Monde Eclate")
Check out part two our White Denim interview on Thursday featuring James Petralli and Steve Terebecki.