Wednesday, April 29, 2009

White Rabbits: Album Release, Independent In June

A while back, we mentioned that Britt Daniel had been working with Brooklyn-based band White Rabbits, and produced their forthcoming record It's Frightening. At the same time, we mentioned that the next Spoon album wasn't go to see the light of day until 2010. We have to admit, we were a bit bummed that we wouldn't be getting a taste of Daniel's distinctive sound for so long. Well, let us stand corrected: Daniel's sound will most definitely be seeing the light of day in 2009, it just won't be on his own record.

It's difficult to emphasize just how much It's Frightening employs Daniel's studio techniques. We honestly didn't even realize just how distinctive a studio sound Daniel had constructed, but once you hear this record you see just how many nooks and crannies Daniel has firmly established as his own. The guitar sounds, the syncopated drum machines, the in-between song studio banter, the piano sounds, the double tracked vocals, even the cover art (do a side by side with Gimme Fiction) - they all scream Spoon! Granted, all of these things sound like "typical" studio fare, but when you hear them in this context you realize that Daniel has firmly carved out his own way of doing things, and that it's a huge part of the sound he's established for his own band.

What happens when this sound is applied to another artist? At least in the case of White Rabbits, very good things. It's Frightening manages to employ so many of the aspects that we love about Daniel's other work, while at the same time managing to quite definitely carve out their own niche and deliver a killer record. From the first notes of "Percussion Gun", the band delivers a distinctive performance that heavily relies on the drums to move forward a set of ten instantly accessible tracks. In fact, every one of the tracks relies so heavily on percussion, we'd venture to say that rhythms truly define the record's persona and scope. It's fitting, then, that the cover is a long exposure photo of one of the band's two drummers.

On top of the completely solid percussives, White Rabbits also manage to deliver a compositional style that is unique and abstract, while at the same time remaining completely accessible. Many of the songs are built around instrumental repetition, but between the band's technique and Gregory Roberts' vocals, they manage to create melodies that are completely integral to the record's sound. The melodies serve to unify tunes and give them a surprising level of singability and pop feel despite their unconventional structures.

If that sounds at all familiar, it's probably because it's definitely one way you could define a Spoon record. At the end of the day, it's pretty impossible to dive into It's Frightening without recognizing the massive amount of influence Britt Daniel's production has had. You certainly wouldn't be faulted for hearing it in passing, and thinking you had just heard an excerpt from the new Spoon record. That being said, it's truly not a bad thing: Britt Daniel has long been in the business of making fantastic records, and if he can take that talent and bring it to other bands, we're certainly not going to be the ones to argue. The bottom line is that with It's Frightening, White Rabbits have written an awesome set of songs that completely stand up on their own. Having Britt Daniel fine tune them with solid studio craft is just the icing on the cake.

White Rabbits are also plotting a massive summer tour in support of It's Frightening. Crossing the entire country over the month of June, the band will be most likely somewhere near you during that time. For those of us in San Francisco, that means a stop at The Independent on June 20th. We have to say, we're psyched to get out there and see just how the band holds up live. From some recent accounts on the East Coast, they've been doing extremely well for themselves in a live environment. Like we said, psyched. Tickets are on sale now.

It's Frightening drops May 19th on TBD Records

mp3: White Rabbits - Percussion Gun

White Rabbits Summer 2009 Dates
5/21 - Bowery Ballroom - New York NY
5/30 - Grog Shop - Cleveland OH
5/31 - Do Division Fest - Chicago IL
6/01 - Southgate House, Newport KY
6/02 - Rock N Roll Hotel - Washington DC
6/04 - Middle East - Boston MA
6/05 - Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia PA
6/06 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh PA
6/07 - Summit - Columbus OH
6/09 - Mojos - Columbia MO
6/10 - Firebird - St Louis MO
6/11 - Bonnaroo - Manchester TN
6/14 - Emo’s - Austin TX
6/16 - Club Congress - Tuscon AZ
6/17 - Casbah - San Diego CA
6/18 - Troubadour - Los Angeles CA
6/19 - Cellar Door - Visalia CA
6/20 - Independent - San Francisco CA
6/22 - Crocodile Cafe - Seattle WA
6/23 - Doug Fir - Portland OR
6/24 - Neurolux - Boise ID
6/25 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake UT
6/26 - Bluebird - Denver CO
6/27 - Slowdown JR - Omaha NE
6/29 - 400 Bar - Minneapolis MN
6/30 - High Noon - Madison WI
7/01 - Empty Bottle - Chicago
7/02 - Pike Room - Pontiac MI
8/02 - All Points West - Liberty State Park NJ