I’m not really sure what the hell I did, but I’m sore today. Like I rolled down a hill or something…for 10 minutes straight. My left shoulder has been sore for a week now. It’s not a “pain” per say. It’s more like this dull ache, as if some muscle or tendon became shorter somehow. So whenever I move my head I feel it pull from my shoulder to my neck. And I didn’t do anything this past weekend. It’s not like I have some manly story to tell. “Well, I was up on the roof when I rolled off to save a family of Croatian immigrants from a terrorist regime. I was beaten with Russian-bought AK-47s, dragged behind a beat-up International Harvester pick-up, and thrown off the top of a really tall snow pile.” Yeah, nothing like that. I thought maybe I was getting sick(I still think that), so I just came home after work instead of going to workout. I made a pot of coffee, did the dishes, picked up the house, and then put on some White Hills. Seemed like the right thing to do.
I actually started my White Hills listening session yesterday with Heads On Fire, probably my favorite album of theirs(that’s saying a lot as I love every album I have of theirs.) I’m sorry, but there’s nothing as epic as the 26 minute “Don’t Be Afraid”. My good pal in Wales who runs a tight ship over there at that 1537 blog space has seen White Hills a couple times now. He has spoken to Ego Sensation as she ran their merch table, and admired from close-up Dave W’s awesome psychedelic shirts. Am I jealous of Mr. 1537? Damn straight I am, but what can you do? I should’ve sucked it up and bought tickets to see White Hills when they opened for The Cult in Chicago. Alas, I chose to just poo poo about not going in my house. Anyways, the last couple of days White Hills mix of
space, psych, and ambient rock(yeah, there’s ambient rock)has really been hitting the spot. Heads On Fire, like I said, is an instant classic(and on red vinyl it’s quite the looker spinning), but they’re not just about the pretty vinyl. They’re about creating art. Palpable art. Art you savor over and over for years to come. They’re part ‘Creature Feature’ and psychedelic freakout. They create a whole world within the gatefold sleeve of that tasty vinyl. And the other thing I absolutely love about Dave W and Ego Sensation is that their music isn’t easily gotten. You don’t throw on their record and after one listen you’ve absorbed all the rock goodness and spaced-out minerals. No, first run through on a White Hills album and you’re just getting a taste. Their albums are growers. With each listen something new is revealed(listen on headphones and allow your psyche to be violated in all the right ways.) I can remember the first album I bought of White Hills. H-p1 was this monolithic double LP filled with whooshes and wisps of noise, carefully woven in-between Sabbath riffage and even some good old krautrockin’ motorik beats(“Paradise” floors me every time I hear it.) It’s not an album easily digested the first time through. Repeated listens reap great rewards. From there, I was hooked. Their newest album So You Are…So You’ll Be gives off this vibe of dark little secrets lurking behind every door of some mildew-y old mansion. It’s a soundtrack to some late night horror film you come across at 2am. The album gives me the same sensation that I had the first time I watched ‘Phantasm’ when I was a kid. There is something incredibly original, cool, and eerie about it that makes it stick in your head(something sticking in your head besides those silver balls.) White Hills make classic art, and their albums are paintings I hang in my ears quite often.
The other cool thing about Dave W and Ego is that they are always doing something. In-between albums they’re releasing EPs and mini-albums. And when they release albums, they release bonus albums with those albums. I’m listening to the bonus 12 inch that came with So You Are…So You’ll Be. It’s this mix of jams and spaced-out incidental music. Their 2010 tour EP Stolen Stars Left For No One is another one that has one side filled with some incredible guitar jams, then side two is filled with what sounds like the soundtrack to some weird 70s sci fi flick. “Drift Away” is a classic. I have nothing but respect for this band. It’s one thing to keep shoveling music on the listening public. A new album every 6 months is great, but if the music is shite then what’s the point? But White Hills’ output is nothing short of stellar. I’ve heard so-so reviews of 2012s Frying On This Rock, and while I can understand maybe some of the critiques of that album, it’s still light years beyond most of the dredge that is forced upon unsuspecting ears. And really, “Robot Stomp” and “I Write A Thousand Letters(Pulp On Bone)” are classics amongst the White Hills canon.
Maybe I’m running a fever, I don’t know. I feel like I just woke from some White Hills-induced fever dream. Some sort of ‘Wizard of Oz’-like hallucination soundtracked by “H-p1”, “Pads of Light”, “Don’t Be Afraid”, and “MIST(Winter)”. You’ve heard of that whole thing where you get really high, cue up ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and Dark Side Of The Moon at the same time and supposedly they sync up perfectly? Well, I think that’s a bunch of bullshit that was made up by some idiot, stoned and bored one Sunday afternoon. But if you brew a pot of coffee and spin a shit load of White Hills records you may, just for a little while, forget about how damn sore you are from some weird virus -or being 40 years old- and get lost in the space-y grandeur. Just for a little while anyways.