Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2017 Mar-Apr Contents 12 Rhythms
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF RHYTHMS MAGAZINE -
Playing to sold-out room in melbourne a few weeks
ago, young Chicago outfit whitney kicked things off
with a Dolly Parton cover, included a version of Dylan’s
‘tonight i’ll Be staying Here with you’, and also a 1972
obscurity by nrBQ, (which Brian wise would have
appreciated!) ‘magnet’. nestled in amongst their own
unique mixture of soul, country and pop tones, these
tunes helped paint a clearer picture of the band’s broad
influences (they’ve also been known to throw in allen
toussaint and everly Brothers covers). on one hand,
the band is serious about songwriting, and are lifer
music fans. on the other, they’re out to have some fun
with it, leaving edges untrimmed. People talk of them
failing to fulfill the potential of their songs and i read
one particularly vengeful post condemning them as lazy.
though that’s kind of like complaining about Dylan or
young singing out of tune – it’s missing the point – it is
tantalising to imagine what this band would sound like
with some tight three-or-four-part harmonies.
Whitney is about conjuring a sound that the band can claim
ownership of. I suspect it’s nothing more contrived than
the unique sum of their individual styles. Julien Ehrlich’s
singing and drumming are anything but conventional,
but the band has decided to place his thin, high, pitchy
voice out front as a strength, not a weakness. It’s crucial
in conjuring the unaffected, wistful tone whilst the more
ebullient rhythms and melodies behind it strike the
affecting contrast that is Whitney’s signature. You don’t
know whether to dance or cry.
I didn’t closely listen to the band’s debut, Light Upon The
Lake, until December last year, otherwise it would have
been riding high in my Rhythms end of year Top Ten. In
case you haven’t yet heard of Whitney, Elton John named
Light Upon The Lake, as one of his favourites of 2016 (and
the band has a substantial gay following if the Melbourne
audience is any indication). Ehrlich was previously in
a band, Smith Westerns, with Whitney guitarist Max
Kakacek (Ehrlich also played drums in psych-soul-pop
outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra and was in a band called
Touching Voids). Ehrlich and Kakacek wrote all the music
for Whitney and recruited guitarist Tracy Chouteau, bass
player Josiah Marshall, keyboard player Malcolm Brown
and trumpet player Will Miller to help perform and record.
Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado helped the band produce their
debut album at his home studio in LA, though there’s
little-to-no studio trickery besides double-tracking Ehrlich’s
voice. Nevertheless, something magic was captured on
Light Upon The Lake. And it’s not easy to put your finger on
the source of that magic.
At first, Ehrlich’s soprano is so puny it almost makes
you giggle. But it’s that vulnerability that nails you – and
the intimacy. He almost sounds like he’s murmuring to
himself, down-mouthed soul-searching wandering alone,
whilst being followed by a bouncing, swaying R&B band
persistently trying to cheer him up. And Kakacek, at his
best, chimes in with simple but ingenious guitar motifs, like
the six-note-slide part in ‘Golden Days’ (in live performance
he issued some crackling country licks).
Then there are the melodies, which are positively
McCartney-ish (indeed there’s more than a little Abbey
Road on Light Upon The Lake, particularly in Kakacek’s
slide playing. And the title track invokes the nocturnal,
dreamy contemplation of ‘Blackbird’ (alright, that wasn’t
on Abbey Road)). With Ehrlich’s voice reaching for the
heavens, always bee-lining for the inevitable resolution,
the vocal melodies waltz and skip like children’s tunes.
On a song like ‘Golden Days’, where the instruments swell
and soar and the whole shebang evolves into a good ole
‘nah, nah, nah’ vocal outtro, the combined results are about
as blissful as music can get (with the verse “It’s a shame
we can’t get it together now” pointing to Thunderclap
Newman’s ‘Something In The Air’, Speedy Keen’s soprano
another good reference point).
It’s going to be interesting to see where Whitney head to
next – they don’t give the impression of a band united under
a vision of longevity. For the moment, they’re clearly having
a great time, enjoying each other’s company, drinking
anything that’s handed to them onstage, hanging out with
fans after shows. Whatever happens next, Light Upon The
Lake, resplendent in clear blue vinyl, will forever be my
soundtrack to the summer of 2016/2017.
BASEMENT DISCS HIGHLY RECOMMEND
NEW MAR/APRIL LIVE IN-STORE
̄XYLOURIS WHITE FRI 3RD MARCH
̄DORI FREEMAN (USA) THURS 9TH MARCH
̄JOSH RENNIE-HYNES FRI 17TH MARCH
̄LIAM GERNER FRI 24TH MARCH
SAT 22ND APRIL RECORD STORE DAY EXTRAVAGANZA!
* CHECK WEBSITE FOR DETAILS & UPDATES
All shows in-store at 12.45 (lunchtime)
* also available on vinyl LP
• ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS 'When We Fall'
• BELA FLECK 'Juno Concerto'
• CHRIS DIFFORD 'Chris To The Mill'
• COLIN HAY 'Fierce Mercy'
• ERIC GALES 'Middle of The Road'
• GUY CLARK 'Best of the Dualtone Years'
(2CD incl, prev unreleased Live & Demo tracks) *
• JOHN MAYALL 'Talk About That' (Joe Walsh guests)
• KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD 'Flying
Microtonal Banana' *
• DVD/BLURAY NICK CAVE &THE BAD SEEDS
'One More Time With Feeling'
• OLD 97's 'Graveyard Whistlin' *
• OTIS TAYLOR 'Fantasizing About Being Black'
• ALISON KRAUSS 'Windy City'
• STEVE HACKETT & DJABE 'Summer Storms &
• FAIRPORT CONVENTION '50:50 @ 50' (Guests
including Robert Plant, Jacquie McShee)
• HURRAY FORTHE RIFFRAFF 'The Navigator' *
• JIM LAUDERDALE 'London Southern'
• JOEY DEFRANCESCO 'Project Freedom'
• KURT ROSENWINKEL 'Caipi'
• LAURA MARLING 'Semper Femina'
• MAGNETIC FIELDS '50 Song Memoir'
• PIETA BROWN 'Postcards'
• TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND 'Live from the Fox
Oakland' (2CD + BluRay) plus (3LP also) *
• VALERIE JUNE 'The Order of Time' *
• REVEREND PEYTON'S BIG DAMN BAND 'Front
• CONOR OBERST 'Salutations' *
• TAMIKREST 'Kidal' *
• DEVON SPROULE 'The Gold String'
• JETHRO TULL 'The String Quartets'
• LLOYD COLE 'In New York 1988–1996) (Dlxe Ltd Ed
• REISSUE PAUL McCARTNEY 'Flowers In The Dirt'
(Special Ed 2CD, Ltd Dlxe Ed Box Set, 2LP Vinyl)
• ERIC BIBB 'Migration Blues'
• JULIA HOLTER 'In The Same Room' *
• THE MAVERICKS 'Brand New Day' *
• RODNEY CROWELL 'Close Ties'
• ALLANHOLDSWORTH 'Eidolon' also avail 'The Man
Who Changed Guitar Forever’ (12 CD BOX)
• IMELDA MAY 'Life Love Flesh Blood' (Dlxe Ed also)
• GUYDAVIS&FABRIZIOPOGGI 'Sonny&Brownie’s
• MARK LANEGAN 'Gargoyle' *
• ED SHEERAN 'Divide' (Dlxe Ed also)
• JAMIROQUAi 'Automaton' *
• REISSUE FLEETWOOD MAC 'Tango in the Night'
(Special ed 2CD, Super Deluxe 4CD + LP & LP)
• PAUL WELLER 'Jawbone' (Music from the film)*
• GOLFRAPP 'Silver Eye'
• RAY DAVIES 'Americana' *
• SEAN ROWE 'New Love'
• RY COODER 'Live at The Bottom Line 1974'
• DVD/BLURAY ERIC CLAPTON 'Live in San Diego'
Special Guest J.J Cale, Derek Trucks, Robert Cray also)
• THUNDERCAT 'Drunk' *
• FATHER JOHN MISTY 'Pure Comedy' *
• ORCHESTRA BAOBAB 'Tribute to Ndionga Dieng'
• COCO MONTOYA 'Hard Truth'
VALERIE JUNE ‘The Order of Time’
Valerie’s highly anticipated 2nd album is an enthralling &
illuminating leap forward. The Tennessee bred, Brooklyn
based songwriter weaves electric blues, African rhythms, cosmic
atmospherics and delicate soul into an inventive & wholly original
rumination on love, family, struggle & the passing of time.
ALISON KRAUSS ‘Windy City’
Though the 10 tracks on this new album were mostly
recorded back in 2013, the process to complete the project
was slowed by extensive touring with UNION STATION & vocal
problems that forced her to stop singing for a brief period. This is a
beautifully curated collection of classic songs & whilst they span
different eras & musical genres there is a unifying sensibility... &
that voice... what a beautiful thing!
THE MAVERICKS ‘Brand New Day’
Their 9th studio album features 10 tracks that they took
their time to build... this time, on their own label, there were
no pressures to make ‘radio friendly’ tracks necessarily, and gave
the band the chance to zero in on their Latin influences. In a world
where things have become increasingly divisive, it’s safe to say
this project should bring a good dose of light & joy into our lives!
SEAN ROWE ‘New Lore’
We’re huge fans of his amazing baritone & evocative
songwriting... and this one delivers a collection of affecting
stories of desperation & resilience, augmented by very tasty musical
arrangements, flourishes of piano & a string section. Recorded at
the historic SAM PHILLIPS Studio in Memphis.
OTIS TAYLOR ‘Fantasizing About Being Black’
Blending his unique songwriting, playing & compelling
vocal style- which he refers to as ‘trance blues’ – this new
project inspires with stories of the enduring human spirit...
a hypnotic sound coupled with Taylor’s lyrics tell a story of
OPEN 7 DAYS
24 Block Place Melbourne 3000
MAIL ORDER WELCOME
PHONE 9654 1110
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