Release Date: Feb 23, 2010
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
It’s taken me all of 22 years to get to the stage where I can identify the single thing about a piece of music which makes me sit up and go ‘Buh?!’ That single thing is the riff. And I don’t mean a hook, or a beat, or a melody or a tune, I mean a riff. Something played on a guitar. By a man or a woman who you wouldn’t take home to meet your parents.
A label like "space-rock" deserves music that's as nuanced and limitless-feeling as space, and space-rock deserves a band like White Hills. Not only do they add urgency to familiar psychedelic rock templates, but they pay just as close attention to the quiet moments as the raging ones-- each track on their self-titled Thrill Jockey debut displays a careful layering of sounds and atmospheres. The album is carefully sequenced and covers a lot of ground in seven tracks, though the propulsive "Dead", originally released as a single late last year, sits atop it like the flag on the peak of a mountain.
White Hills are a psychedelic rock group from Brooklyn centered on the duo of guitarist Dave W. and bassist Ego Sensation. Its sound hews closely to 1970s space rock as perfected by groups like Hawkwind, to whom it is invariably compared. The band records and rehearses at Oneida's Ocropolis space in Brooklyn, that group's explorations into the experimental potential of hard rock also informing the White Hills sound.
Touting titanic spacerock jam sessions with seemingly nowt left out... Touting titanic spacerock jam sessions with seemingly nowt left out – or at least nowt that wouldn’t have featured on a mid-70s Hawkwind LP – NYC band White Hills seem to be aiming for authenticity, which you might either take as a signal or their redundancy or a reassurance that they aren’t going to try and fix what isn’t broken. It does mean that their eponymous third release for Thrill Jockey can be rather prosaically boiled down to: if you like whooshy spacerock, you’ll like this.
While I was getting into “Dead,” the first track on White Hills’ new self-titled LP on Thrill Jockey, I was somewhat distracted trying to figure out who this galloping charge of the psych brigade reminded me of. The guessing game continued through the second track, the more free-form “Counting Sevens,” and by track three’s “Three Quarters” — which rides a repetitive, head-nodding, fuzzed-out riff for nine minutes, with a killer guitar solo appearing about three-quarters of the way through — the niggling problem had intensified so much that I looked to the press release for a clue. Therein lay the answer, one so obvious I literally exhaled an audible “Oooohhh!”: The influence shows.
On their MySpace profile, White Hills describe their music as sounding like “deep space instrumental passages flow[ing] in and out of hypnotic grooves”, which is pretty much the most accurate way to describe the music that this New York duo unleash. On their new self-titled album, guitarist Dave W. and bassist Ego Sensation (yes, really) recruited Oneida’s Kid Millions to play drums on the entire record, which was also recorded at the Ocropolis, Oneida’s studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
In high school I was the on-again-off-again bassist for a band called Indigo Mood. They were the stereotypical high school stoner band. They didn’t give a fuck because they didn’t want too and Jimmy Page didn’t. All the best music is from the 1970’s and if you argue you’re gay. Boston is ….