Good bartenders can consistently make your drink. Better bartenders can make your drink taste better than it ever has. But the best bartenders elevate the whole experience of crafting well-balanced cocktails with such grace and precision that it earns them the title of mixologists. The same can be said of musicians. A good musician knows how to compose a song. A better musician can consistently compose great songs. And the best musicians can compose and perform their songs in ways that reinvigorate and revitalize how you hear their music. That being said, rock music’s current best mixologists are White Denim.
Hailing from Austin, Tex., White Denim are a quartet of brilliant musicians who, over the past decade, have continually found ways to reconstruct and reinvent themselves in a musical landscape constantly cluttered with a mishmash of genre-bending talent. Formed in a similar patchwork fashion as their songs, the band started as a mixture of members of Parque Touch (James Petralli) and Peach Train (Steve Terebecki), and has since become the amalgamation of Petralli and Terebecki rocking the main vocals, guitar and bass, Jeff Olson banging on drums, and Jonathan Horne also picking up guitar.
What makes White Denim so amazing is their ability to piece together so many different aspects of psychedelic rock, blues, punk rock, progressive rock, soul, jazz, experimental rock, and dub on each of their albums. Their jammy approach to recording has led them to create unusual song structures and arrangements that effectively turn cluttered chunks of noises into rich, complex compositions of musical artwork that explode with sound and shatter listeners’ preconceived notions of popular music. It’s that well-balanced goodness that tastes silky sweet the whole way down.
For a small sampling, check out their latest single, “Holda You (I’m Psycho),” below. Off their new album, Stiff, officially out March 25, the song is a high-energy rocker with quick-hitting drums and guitar riffs that teeter toward the erratic. While their 2013 release Corsicana Lemonade had a heartfelt and homespun vibe to it, first listens of songs off Stiff sound a little more like an extension of balls-out ’70s guitar rock. And just like we trust our favorite bartender, we trust White Denim to give us an Old Fashioned with a new spin.
You can catch White Denim this upcoming Sunday, March 27 at the Doug Fir Lounge alongside opener Sam Cohen. Cohen has become a notable contributor to the music world over the past 16 years of his career by songwriting, producing, directing and playing with acts such as Norah Jones, Shakira and Joseph Arthur. He also played guitar on The Bridge Session collaboration with The National and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. On his most recent solo release, Cool It, Cohen finds himself in the role of multi-instrumentalist playing everything himself. His Texas roots should be a fantastic complement to an evening sure to be a rhythmic bombshell.