Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Pray forth to the visionaries who first developed peyote because here comes a new descendant, someone with the spitting image of the same peoples, the same straight nose, hairline, wiry lines and eyesight. Its bugle call, announcing advancement or arrival, is the sound of hellhounds and the howls of junkyard dogs hungry and willing to chew off their feet to satiate the hollow gonging of the stomach, its bargained pleading. It's the sound of coyotes far off in the desert distance, sending smoke signals to the rest of the pack out roaming around the hunting fields, mangy but adamant about finding some meaty legs and ribs for dinner, for the fire that they'll learn to make when the sun sets.
It's the sound of spontaneous combustion, setting off a chain of unlikely blazes. It makes you break out into seizures and loops, traveling on the bullet train to tarnation - but with benefits, with perks that are better than parole. White Denim, the Austin, Texas, three-piece is this coming, this marauding, three-headed horseman of explosive guitars and scorpion testosterone, blowing everything in its way back two counties, ripping clothing and skepticism into confetti and raffling off the pedestrian way of doing rock and roll to anyone who will take it in this seller's market. Go over to your DVD closet or the quicker alternative, YouTube, and watch the way that Jimi Hendrix makes pants-on love to his death row-ed guitar just before lighting it on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival decades ago. All of the things that the eyes capture in those few minutes are hazy reflections of the very manners by which Steve Terebecki, James Petralli and Joshua Block adhere to, without fail.
Any moron could pick up on the Hendrix influence in the band's own purple-veined, pulsating and soulful bleedings, but it's more the sensation that led the guy to his overdose and his own drive that they deem the animal which they'd prefer to track down and tame - or shake up and fuck with to make wilder and more feral. They'd ramble behind it and pin a tail onto that animal. Back in California, there sitting on his calves, Hendrix is possessed, freeing the demons that must have gotten locked into the body of his guitar, chomping his gum (always that gum - the devil's gum!), summoning and summoning whatever may appear, thrusting toward the burning piece of wood and metal and ejaculating lighter fluid onto the pile to spur it on, to piss it off. There is a God of rock and roll and still no one's seen its face - is what they might all agree to. It wasn't Hendrix because THE god was actually the person/deity that he was chasing, the person he was trying to impress and summon. It's more a cloud that can be spotted as a mass of shape-shifting fog and a silhouette of something globular and thematic - not anything that can have a particularly convincing claim. The gypsy mama that Petralli wails about in "Paint Silver Gold" - a pint-sized rager that feels like tripping and trailblazing and dynamic, short and sweet storytelling that is more about the disease it can foster and the endorphin-popping release it can bring - is a fiction and a flame, a dream of a flashback of a flashback. It's when dehydration's got a guy crawling past cactus and seeing an Aquafina bottling plant just a few paces ahead. It's nothing at all, but a divine delusion or a hallucination of humankind getting closer to finding the face of that rock and roll god, peeling off one more concealing cloak. White Denim are motivated to get that god naked, all the way naked.
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