Ride on a Meteorite
WHITE HILLS / Frying
on This Rock and H-pl (Thrill Jockey)
Nowadays, say you’re listening to a band, it
can be hard to tell how deep the irony goes, or if the band’s schtick is
irony at all. You might ponder this when you grok self-proclaimed “space
rock” masters White Hills, who come off all Hawkwind, Blue Cheer, Motorhead
and Virgin Prunes rolled into one freakily brain-pinching sound. “This
fucking rocks,” you’ll likely say when you hear the band’s fashionably
unfashionable new record, Frying on This Rock or 2011’s H-pl, and you’ll be correct on that, since White
Hills kustom-kraft their shit to hit all the right headbangin’ buttons. But
there’s a lot more going on here, and it’s serious stuff.
Hills are Brooklyn-via-San Francisco guitarist/visionary Dave W. and
bassist Ego Sensation. H-p1 was
an ambitious double-LP that sprawled over a vast universe of sludgy
ecstatic-doom, minimalist drone and ambient soundscapery, all of which
served a concept telling the story of a shady government owned and operated
by corporate monoliths.
is a term like a scientist would name a virus, like HIV or H1N1,” says
Dave W. “The record has a theme about what we see as the disease of greed
that permeates our society and our culture.”
W. says it’s about damn time.
wanted to make a statement. We’re traveling the world, meeting people and
hearing about people’s woes, and seeing this globalization of a few people
really sticking it to everyone, and nobody doing anything. Nobody saying
Be that as it may, White Hills don’t make a lot of big lyrical pronouncements about our
contemporary worldwide woes.
concept takes place through the sound,” says Ego Sensation. “It’s a
revolution of sound, disrupting the status quo via sound waves.”
Frying on This Rock brings a tighter, riffier edge to the
band’s air of mind-frenching psychedelia. Slash-riffing fuzzed-out ax
leads, greasy dollops of wah-wah, bowel-blasting bass, random
constellations of out-and-out noize: It rocks intensely, with a newfound
determination and focus. Like H-pl, the new album puts into acutely thrashing action a lofty
bunch of ideas, and it’ll hit a lotta nerves with people seeking something,
well, yeah, substantial
in their heavy, heavy rock.
records are also incredibly loud.
want our records to breathe,” says Dave W. “Why constrict the air that you
indeed? And if White Hills smoke a little weed from time to time, that’s
their prerogative, the System be blowed.
has been stigmatized in this country and around the world because it’s a
euphoric thing,” says Dave W., “and it causes people to mellow out, it
causes people to not be angry and aggravated. If you have a warring society
and an economy that’s based on an industrial war machine, you aren’t going
to want your society to be getting stoned, ‘cause then nobody’s gonna wanna
lot of times before we go down to the studio we’ll get high, to loosen up
and find new places to go,” Ego adds. “It’s a great way to challenge what
your inner barriers are telling you to do.”
What, one wonders, might lay beyond the
barriers…And how far these White Hills will roll…
far as I can,” says Dave. “There’s no end in sight. It’ll only go as far as
we want it to go. It’s life, it’s in my soul, it’s me, it’s my art, and as
long as I feel the need and want to make this art, it will be made.”
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