Release Date: Aug 24, 2018
Record label: City Slang
A dozen years as ever-evolving Austin essentials, White Denim delivers one of its best demonstrations of rock & roll raucousness. Founding members James Petralli and Steve Terebecki, joined by onetime NRBQ drummer and local beatmaster Conrad Choucroun plus various homegrown associates, push playful studio experimentation to its natural seams. Even with all the jazz, jams, and wonky improvisations, the nine tracks of musicians' music remain fun, unpretentious.
Returning for their seventh studio album, White Denim's mission statement remains the same. In band leader James Petralli's words, that is "to make interesting, up-tempo rock'n'roll". It is no surprise, then, to hear a litter of Southern rock wig-outs, garage fuzz, and jazz drumming at the core of 'Performance' - an album that refuses to let up across its nine tracks.
And so they remain outliers in the world of indie rock, presumably due to the significant debt their sound owes to Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Humble Pie, T-Rex and the MC5 . The darkly comedic aspect of all this genre-policing is that White Denim would probably be much richer, and more well-known, if they had been accepted by the hard rock and heavy metal community in the first place. They blast the record open with the darkly seductive glam of "Magazin", which rolls like Bolan, punches like Cream and glides like Bowie.
a weird retro as futuristic as formica tables erratically jazzy proggish Zappa an old hardcover book about home decor that shows you those open spaces with terraced interiors, fluffy carpets and bold-coloured wallpapers a record box full of Yes, ELP, and Little Feat the funniest thing is the difficulty in pinpointing the definite moment it transports us to as suburban as the grass in the front yard being mowed in the background. except for 'good news', which screams 1974, embroidered patches sewed to the back pocket of bellbottoms, baseball t-shirts, platform shoes and feathered hair Cool Whip junior high kids smoking their first joint in their grandparents' backyard during the 4th of july barbecue this isn't music for big city apartments, it's too spacious and it needs room to keep growing and expanding this isn't adult rock either, although it definitely screams baby and a pram sometimes an old green couch in a basement with wooden wall panels, on its left arm lies an ashtray stolen from a motel in Colorado white denim's performance somehow makes you feel like you'll get your shit together; by making complex sounds and riffs seem simple and natural, it evokes a "you got this" feeling within that reassures you everything's going to be alright but at night you still fall asleep with your teddy bear .
Building upon their already varied discography might at first seem like a lofty demand for Austin, Texas's White Denim. The group have released several stellar records in their 10-year existence. There's 2011's D, which really introduced the world to the eclectic garage-rock and Americana-meets-prog-jazz stylings of the group, and 2013's Corsicana Lemonade helped push them along further into commercial success.
If you haven't checked in with Austin rockers White Denim in the past five or so years, here's a refresher: After gaining blog buzz for their gnarly, unpredictable tunes in the late 2000s, they joined artists like Santigold and Mos Def on Downtown Records for their fifth album, 2011's D. Under estimable producers including Ethan Johns and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, their sound mellowed, taking on a more sanded-down, straightforward feel. As the buzz (and the broader influence of blogs over the music industry) faded, band members Josh Block and Austin Jenkins peeled off to write for, record with, and back up Fort Worth rock-soul throwback Leon Bridges.
For their eighth release, Austin rocker's White Denim pick up the threads left over from 2016's 'Stiff' and have delivered yet another set of up-tempo jams. Keeping to the back-to-basics boogie that made numbers such as "Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)" such a standout two years back, 'Performance' sees the quarter on tight and mischevious form. From the off, it's clear that frontman James Petralli's lyrical prowess and soulful swagger have only increased over time, retro synth work also adding some new depth to the group's heady mix of psych, funk and Southern rock.