The music world lost The White Stripes last week. I have to say that it kind of felt inevitable considering everything Jack White has his hands in these days. Multiple bands (Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and stamping is brand of approval producing local Nashville acts, like Daniel Pujol . . .it just seemed like something had to give. Unfortunately for me, it was The Stripes. To me, that was his best work. It was music purity at it's best. It was two people, playing their guts out with undeniable passion. They were raw and managed to capture you in songs that were simply constructed on two instruments unlike most bands (the only two that come to mind are the glaringly obvious Black Keys and the lesser know, but genius Death From Above 1979 (who called it quits a few years ago, but just announced that they're getting back together).
The best part about the three bands I mentioned above is that they all have two members, yet they churn out a HUMONGOUS sound with such simple instrumentation. There's no flash, just pure energy, pure emotion . . .pure genius. Take DFA 1979, for example. There are two members. One plays drums, the other plays bass. If you used the like above, you get an idea what I'm talking about. THAT sound comes from guys playing the hell out of their instruments. That brings us to this week's band, who, at their own admission, embrace a "less is more" approach, and it works beautifully.
Austin's, Whalers are four guys how simply seem to get the most they can out of their instruments. The core of the band, guitarists Kyle Rother and Dan Martin, have been writing together since 2003, when they both worked for the radio station at TCU. After graduation, they moved back to Austin and in 2008 the duo became a trio with the addition of drummer, Milos Bertram. The final piece of the Whalers puzzle was added with the addition of singer, Gus Smalley and bassist Amir Mozafari (who replaced Joseph Goessling in 2010), and the table was set.
The best part of Whalers songs is the '60's reverb that gives the songs a timeless, hazy Beach Boys quality that seems to swim around in the layered guitars and Smalley's piercing vocals. This all sounds complicated, but it's not. Whalers, with the help of sound engineer, Kevin Ratterman (who TSE favorite, My Morning Jacket covets as a genius) lay down songs that are transportive in nature, but not overwhelming to the ears. Everything fits and each song is tight. My favorite track on their EP, "How the Ship Goes Down" is Heatwave, and just one listen will give you an idea of what I mean. The guitars are dreamy and the drums never take over the song. The vocals compliment the entire feel of the song and, in the end, you're left with a remarkable song and an amazing EP, collectively.
Go get it now. Here are some links:
You can stream/purchase the album HERE
You can find their Facebook page HERE
Check them out ASAP.
P.S. some of you may hear them and make a Strokes connection, but I didn't mention The Strokes because I'm already sick of hearing about them and their new album.