“White Mystery returns with the swag,” Montana Kaiman
Posted Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 4:20 am
For the fourth year in a row, brother and sister swagger-rock duo White Mystery will drop its latest record on April 20. But before your bong-water-soaked brain parts take the 4/20 reference and start connecting weed or Hitler-related dots in your mind, consider first that these natives of north-side Chicago officially called themselves a band on April 20, 2008, and have been getting down ever since.
The White Mystery sound of Alex White and Francis Scott Key White has always been high-energy, like a skinny teenager in hand-me-down jeans. If they haven’t already, fans of high-profile garage rock acts like Ty Segall will definitely find something to chew on while listening to any of White Mystery’s last three records. The band will officially throw their latest full-length album to the music-hungry wolves later this month when they host their 4/20 Psychadelic Meltdown festival in San Francisco. For those with a smaller budget, they’ll be playing Missoula’s VFW Wednesday at 9 p.m.
The “let’s have a party!” vibe from previous records like “Blood & Venom” is still intact, but their palate has broadened. What’s changed on their newest, “Telepathic,” is the range and scope of the songs.
“‘Telepathic” has a lot of different layers to it,” said Alex White, sister and Rickenbacker rocker extraordinaire. “There’s aggression, there’s pop, and really groovy songs, too. And the live show has been very seamless.”
Tracks like “Jungle Cat” give the already high-energy sound a titty twister, with brother Francis’ drumming reaching an almost thrash metal pace. Tracks such as “Fun Times” give the sibling’s songwriting some room to breathe and hint at psych-pop antecedents from the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
White Mystery’s explorations of different genres has even caught the attention of music vets like former Black Flag member, vet Henry Rollins, who digs the band’s expansion into acoustic territory. “Even though ‘Telepathic’ might have a song that you could almost consider acoustic,” Alex said, “it still has that White Mystery energy. It’s cool to see what different people’s reactions are.”
With so many bands, and garage rock in particular, the true measure of this band can only be felt while standing in front of the stage, well within striking distance of their red hair, whipping around like sprinklers on fire. A big part of this band’s charm is the swagger, the way Alex seems to strut even while standing still, and Francis banging those drums like a mad caveman.
Despite booking notoriously grueling festivals like SXSW in Austin, Tex., White Mystery hasn’t missed a beat. They’ve been touring damn near every night for three years straight and seem poised to keep going until they drop dead.
“It’s pretty natural,” Alex said. “In 2012, we played 200 shows which is a nice number for a year, but this year it will be quite a bit more. SXSW and all the Burger Records shows were amazing. Seeing all those fantastic bands and your friends is really nice experience.” White Mystery is also looking forward to European dates, summer festivals in France and the Netherlands as well as a first-time visit to the UK.
“White Mystery’s been on the road relentlessly, growing audiences and just having a great time with people,” Alex said. “There’s a lot of really cool stuff going on, and we’re having a blast.”
While on the road, Alex and Francis get pumped listening to staples like Metallica, Led Zeppelin or the Beastie Boys. But that doesn’t mean they’re ignorant of the pop charts. “Thrift Shop” by rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis is currently getting some airtime in the tour van.
Though the chapter is done on releasing records with Halloween themes and custom lollipops through label Missile X, White Mystery continues to fuse music and art projects together. “Telepathic” will come with a coloring book companion and a half-hour animated projection show which the band will feature during live shows as well as on YouTube.
“People will be able to enjoy the record sonically and visually,” Alex said.
Either these siblings possess some sort of devious power sources that fuel their perpetual touring schedule, or the irminds have finally begun to crumple and scatter in full view of any cheap-beer clutching audience they can find. Either way, it sounds pretty sweet.
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