Tag Archives: Jack White

New Feature: B-Side History: The Alternate History of a Band.

The B-Side. In the scope of rock history, and depending upon who you ask, it’s either merely a filler to occupy the backside of a superior A-side, or track that complements and augments how great a single is as an entity to itself. And in the rare case of, say, the Beatles, a B-side can be just as popular and defining for a band as “Strawberry Fields Forever” backed with the B-side (and equally popular radio hit) “Penny Lane.” But what is most frustrating about the B-side is that A) acknowledging that the B-side even exists to most casual listeners is that the very phrase has been relegated to the crossword puzzles of the world, and B) these songs represent a kind of effort in songwriting that is equitable, and yet, oftentimes, overlooked and forgotten thanks to overwhelming popularity of an A-side that, more likely than not, far more catchy to a general audience.

But consider what happens when an audience forgets about the B-side, and an artist takes advantage of such a generalization. And in an instance of optimism, they release a song that is far more intimate, more true to the artists’ perspective, and less a show of their power and ability to conceptualize and edit their way to an A-side. And while some A-sides and singles can be as random and confusing as any other song ever released (consider David Lowery’s blog on Camper Van Beethoven’s wild success on “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” hosted on his ‘300 Songs’ blog that, unfortunately, is currently ‘unpublished’ for some reason or another), it doesn’t change the quality that most B-sides tend to have being something far more intense and personal and devoid of the qualities that make A-sides hits.

These are the songs that matter more to the superfans out there. The collectors, the geeks, the freaks, and off-beats. These are the songs that we search for, hopelessly, on every bar jukebox, sometimes successful and sometimes in futility (if you want to know a place where you can hear “Pinball Wizard” backed with “Dogs,” and you happen to be in Ithaca, NY, e-mail me), sometimes to incredible success. And even though I plan for this feature to stray to simply highlight forgotten singles in general, I stand by this promise: every band has a secret history, and it’s my mission to shine a light upon it as worthy of your regular musical diet.

With that in mind, let’s kick this off with a double shot of the White Stripes, and take a listen to an intense love song and a an angry split sider on pinball: “Red Bowling Ball Ruth” and “Hand Springs.”

After the jump: exactly what I said we were going to talk about.

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Album Review: Jack White – Blunderbuss

Admitting that he’s never wanted to go it alone, Jack White’s solo debut, Blunderbuss, offers something that many people familiar with the band/group product only get with separate solo work, and that is a sharpened focus on the ‘essence’ of that player’s talents. But, as with many of the things that Jack White has attached his name to, it comes within rules and boundaries, and ultimately ends up with listeners asking more questions than coming to conclusions. Those factors, which are ultimately diversions from the actual product itself and have little to nothing to do with the artist’s work so much as it works as a marketing strategy, will not be discussed here. Shame, because his previous work and decisions, being so fascinating in terms of questioning motives, intentions, and truths, surround every little thing about the album. If there was never a desire to go solo, why bother compiling these efforts? Why tour in support of it? Why name it Blunderbuss? Is it more like the White Stripes? The Go? The Raconteurs? Dead Weather?

All of that doesn’t matter, though the title does invite that kind of speculation in terms of meaning – in the same way the phrase Get Behind Me Satan invites the same guesswork – and some of those questions can be answered without doubt. What does matter is that Mr. White is back, and sharing his unique talents once again.

Whether or not it’s any good, well, that takes a jump into it. Continue reading

The Raconteurs to Take Stage in Brooklyn (Michigan); Creem to Re-launch.

They'll probably be doing something like this!

As part of the headlining acts for the inaugural MI Fest (that’s short for Michigan Festival, to be sure), the Raconteurs will take the stage for the first time since the tour supporting their second album ended, it was announce on Wednesday. The band includes Detroit natives Brendan Benson and Jack White. Though a full performer’s list has yet to be released, other Third Man Records acts will also perform, as well as fellow Michigan rockers, such as the Romantics, Mitch Ryder, the Howling Diablos, Mark Farner (of Grand Funk Railroad), among others. The full press release can be found at the MI Fest website.

Tickets are currently on sale for $79. You already missed the deadline to get early bird tickets, so don’t even ask.

More festival information after the jump.

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White Stripes Call it Quits. Officially. Done, Over. The Band is No More. They are an Ex-Band. They Have Ceased to Be.

The White Stripes (1997-2011).


This image is the last of the White Stripes that we’ll ever see together.

This image, and an official message from Jack and Meg are at the front page of The White Stripes’ official site. Citing that it is not a conflict of artistic vision, or for wanting to continue, but for a “myriad of reasons,” that the band has decided to split, and to ‘preserve what is special about the band, and have it stay that way.’

There will no longer be any new material, or live performances from the White Stripes; however, rarities and live recordings of the band will continue to be released through the Third Man Records Vault subscription service.

The letter ends with this: “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

If anyone is going to bother analyzing this, you could point to just how exhausting the last tour was for the band, or that Jack White continues to spiral further and further out into other projects, or that Meg White has recently started a family of her own. Or, with that final message of wishing to ‘preserve the band,’ it could be argued that, as Jack’s most intimate project, it is increasingly frustrating to deal with it as a commodity. His hatred for reselling rare music and items from the band has been well documented. But nevermind that.

I think we should do precisely as they say and skip mourning the end of a band, and just come to expect new and bigger things in the future. Hopefully, it means new projects from Meg just as we know Jack will always be in the spotlight.

Whatever the case, this is an opportunity for all of us to grow as fans of the White Stripes, and of Meg and Jack specifically.

(*Sigh* now I’ll never see them live. . .)

The Kills Plan World Tour, New Album.

I suppose the Dead Weather are on hiatus for now, because this morning I learned that at Wanda Jackson is currently touring in support of her new album (on which, Jack White is leading the Third Man House Band).

Then, I find the dates for the Kills upcoming tour in my inbox!

Details of the new album, ‘Blood Pressures,’ and the tour dates after the jump.

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Bits and Pieces: Passover and Easter Edition.

Before I note the latest from around the world, I would like to announce in the coming weeks, I will be creating new pages to help organize specific material. Namely, Reviews of Records and Record Stores. I figure as long as they are the most regular features on ECB, then they should be better organized for you.

Jimi Hendrix’s Next Release: A Homemade Sex Tape.

Valleys of Neptune was released not too long ago, and is being lauded as the most complete among the numerous posthumous releases by Experience Hendrix to be considered a proper album. With Hendrix enjoying a brief surge in mainstream media noteworthiness, it is Kaleidoscope’s pleasure to announce that an eleven minute video featuring the guitar god in the throes of pleasure will be released on May 3rd, tentatively titled “Jimi Hendrix: The Story of the Lost Sex Tape.” If there is any doubt to this being Hendrix, noted rock groupie Cynthia Plastercaster has been called in to confirm that this video is Jimi Hendrix based on her intimate knowledge of the guitar player. In 1968, she took a mold of the rocker’s penis, which stands among some of her accomplishments as the world’s most infamous ah. . . plaster caster of the stars. For more information and a trailer, check out the Hendrix Sex Tape website (WARNING: This website is NOT SAFE FOR WORK).
Or, if you’d like, here’s the video. It may be NSFW language, but the images are clean, documentary-style interview clips.

The Dead Weather Announce New Record, Single.

Over at their official website, the Dead Weather have posted the new cover artwork for the upcoming album Sea of Cowards, as well as a link to a digital download for the first single, “Die By the Drop.” Additionally, you can listen to a streaming version of the song over here. I’m assuming that they not only spent more time on this album, there’s a brighter sound reacts to so much of “Horehound” sounding rather monotone throughout (Disclosure: I’ve come to appreciate it a little bit more the more I listen to it, however, but not by much). Thus far, I like the exploratory sound of this new single, and I’m hoping for big things. The track listing is as follows:

1. Blue Blood Blues
2. Hustle And Cuss
3. The Difference Between Us
4. I’m Mad
5. Die By The Drop
6. I Can’t Hear You
7. Gasoline
8. No Horse
9. Looking At The Invisible Man
10. Jawbreaker
11. Old Mary

. . . Why do bands post song titles before their release? Is the subject matter supposed to be enticing for what it’s going to SOUND like? I guess that’ll strictly appease those who’ve heard newer material at shows lately.

Video Released of Iggy Pop’s “Last Stage Dive.”

Rolling Stone.com has released footage of Iggy Pop’s stage dive from this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. According to Iggy, it was a decision made on a whim, and he guesses the audience didn’t expect it, resulting in a tumbling onto the floor below. In the video, Iggy, who is 62, immediately recovers in time for the first verse of the Stooges’ classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” The video can be found here.

Iggy and the Stooges reformed recently to tour Europe. This is the “Raw Power” line-up of the band — with the exception of Ron Asheton who died last January. Asheton was originally the Stooges’ guitarist before switched to bass for the group’s third album, and replaced by James Williamson.