Review : White Denim - Last Day of Summer
PitchforkWhite Denim quietly dropped the free online release Last Day of Summer just days after summer was over. Guitarist/vocalist James Petralli attached a note to the posting on their homepage, asking that, should you be compelled once you clicked, you please donate some/any cash for an upcoming tour. In addition to confirming that the trio-turned-foursome's (guitarist Austin Jenkins has been welcomed to the fold) next studio LP was within days of being finished, he wrote, "[Last Day of Summer] is something we made as a little summer retreat from our ongoing work on the third full length... We were super pumped to utilize a few fresh and casual musical approaches on this record." So they likened recording to summer vacation; you can feel the freedom shine through in every cut.
Here, White Denim run down some ideas that might not have fit flush in the more pressurized context of a wide release: a couple of jazz instrumentals sidled up next to funk tonics and British folk forays; everything they not so secretly love anyway and all of which congeal into a family of recordings that's still totally, deliciously listenable. "Light Light Light" and Tropicália-tinged "Incaviglia" contain the aforementioned jazz intermission, the former (with production that echoes Modest Mouse) propelled along by a thumpy, roadhouse bass figure and wooly, sometimes atonal sax. They're experiments, fleshed out with great affection and an outside-the-indie-rock-box artistry that makes this band's more straightforward garage jams equally bold.
Elsewhere, you'll find treasure. "Tony Fatti" is predictably twitchy and clipped, the repetitive drive of drummer Josh Block and bassist Steve Terebecki's rhythm section providing strong license for Petralli to color in and outside and all around the lines vocally. "If You're Changing" is a Byrds-indebted strummer that eventually shakes the pretty stuff and breaks into a strut, demonstrating White Denim's ability to sew together different styles. (The flip side is that this band isn't able to contain its many influences.) But what makes Last Day of Summer engaging has as much to do with White Denim's potential future as it does its roots....full text
MogWhite Denim’s ‘Fits’ had two deadly assets; one being the ability to project aggresive rock jams, the other in exposing a new-founded softer side, producing silky, soulful love songs. The latter half of the album began to introduce the listener to James Petralli’s ecstatic chants of “Oh Regiinaaaa!” and lyrics that could be serenaded to a loved one. Within this new, free-to-download release there’s a continuation of ‘Fits” alter-ego, with nothing but romance on the agenda - this is affirmed by the opening track; a re-invention of the most loved-up song on the last record, ‘I’d Have It Just The Way We Were’. Josh Block’s beautifully-applied, jazz-like drumming goes hand-in-hand with soft acoustics in ‘Our Get’. The album also applies a wealth of instrumental pieces, ‘Incaviglia’ and ‘light light light’ showing-up the band’s unique musicianship. So, the purpose of this release: Is it a case of separating the tender side from the raucous one, distributing the two styles into one record each? This being a mid-recording release, one would expect whatever follows ‘Last Day Of Summer’ to scrap every ounce of sentiment found here, re-introducing the band’s scratchier, rowdy roots in full colour. ...full text
SeizurechickenLate yesterday evening GvB posted word of a surprise LP from Austin’s White Denim. “Last Day Of Summer” is up on the band’s site as a “pay-what-you-want download”. White Denim is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated bands making music today....full text
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