In 2008 we saw all kinds of releases across the board. Noise-pop seemed to be a pretty big deal, as did lo-fi production. But when preparing for our year-end lists, we came across the conundrum of deciding the biggest disappointments in 2008. Today’s Friday Top 5 is full of albums that our staff really looked forward to listening to when they were released, but instead fled in fear as to what our ears had just heard. List is after the jump
Local Austin heroes, White Denim, have been garnering ridiculous amounts of press over the last few years, blasting off into the world of the inter-web with raving reviews and undying fan loyalty. Finally, the band have a full length album, Exposion, for all audiences to grab.
Their live shows are known for their riotous behavior and their vocal interchanges. Packed full of energy every step of the way, White Denim has easily found their way into the hearts of every Austinite, if not every person that considers themselves in the know.
One would figure that with the backing of local production company, Transmission Entertainment, that White Denim would be sure-set for a take off into the most fruitful of places. The question for most is would their daring stage show translate across formats and into speakers across the nation everywhere.
Unfortunately, the answer is no. This will greatly anger folks from the Lone Star State, but rest assured, a poor review is warranted here. They may still own the local stages with a tenacity uncommon to most witnesses, but their first real foray into the world of recorded music is not as fruitful as one would hope for these developing artists.
First, note the translucence in the vocals. They just don’t have the passion that they do when the band is standing in front of you, and most, even those who have never seen the band live, will feel as if the vocals are lacking in something. You could call it sincerity, or even passion, but they seem hollow, as if the band is stretching to maintain the effects felt by listeners in a live setting.
Upon further listening you will also find that the band seems more comfortable residing in the soundscapes of sloppy folk rock set in the sixties. The recording provides some similarities to the live audience meandering of the band, but without the visual, or the live experience the music fails to translate. Every ounce of fun is seemingly stripped from the songs; in fact, this just doesn’t seem like the same band winning hearts across America. It’s hard to find a song that makes you move your feet outside of “Shake Shake Shake,” which is always going to be a favorite.
The question, or perhaps the wall, in dealing with this album revolves around the fairness of treating an album the same way you would treat a live show. Is it acceptable to place judgement on a band because they fail to transcribe the raw power of the live show? More than likely, it’s not that fair, but that is what one has to deal with in this case. You have a phenomenal live band, one that everyone needs to see at least twice in their life, but one that just can’t give that magic out through the powers of modern technology. But, die-hard fans will surely be pleased to hear some of their favorites played through their bedroom speakers.
You can judge for yourself by picking up Exposion on the White Denim website.
A White Denim show has just been added to the bill at Club Deville this Wednesday (10/22). The Austin boys will be headlining with Dayton garage rock outfit Heartless Bastards opening things up. Tickets for the show are only $9 and I suggest you buy them now before this thing sells out. The show is in support of the band’s debut US LP Exposion which you can buy/download today before the November 3rd vinyl release date. You can also head elswhere on our swanky site to preview the outstanding track “Sitting” from the new album.
We posted earlier this summer about White Denim’s latest single “Let’s Talk About It” which appeared on the band’s UK only release Workout Holiday. Lucky for us in The US & A, the band is dropping another album this year on Nov. 3rd entitled Exposion. First single from that album “Sitting” is below and it just might not be the White Denim you’re used to. You can stream more sweet tunes on the band’s website.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/sitting.mp3]
Download: White Denim – Sitting [MP3]