The White Stripes, a brother/sister duo from Southwest Detroit, didn't set out with big aspirations. They didn't even set out to be a band. Lead singer/guitarist Jack White was playing guitar in the family attic one day when older sister Meg came up and picked up the drumsticks for the first time.
What came out wasn't earth-shattering. It was simple, guitar-based rock and roll. The band chose its name and inspiration from the peppermint candy, symbolising childhood and innocence. They were privileged enough to live in Detroit, a city infamous for its ghettos and isolation, but famous for its music scene and bands like the Stooges and MC5.
The Stripes earned theirs opening for such local bands as Rocket 455, the Hentchmen, and the Dirtbombs. They released two highly sought-after 45's on Italy Records and in 1998 struck up a partnership with Long Beach label Sympathy for the Record Industry. Two albums - recorded in Jack's living room - 'The White Stripes' and 'De Stijl' soon followed and, with each, The White Stripes took to the road, fast becoming one of the most exciting live acts in the country. The news of the White Stripes striking performances and back-to-basics sound spread like wild fire and by 'De Stijl''s release in 2000 they had built a huge and dedicated fanbase.
| Their latest release, 'White Blood Cells' is the White Stripes at their best. Recorded in Memphis, the band played it simple and limited work on the album to guitar, voice, drums and the occasional piano. This album is a departure, but the band is the same. Jack's songwriting lands somewhere between the pop structure of Ray Davies and the ramblings of Bob Dylan. True to their style, it's an album of honest simplicity. |
The White Stripes were the bone fide stars of 2001's South By South West, managing to fill rooms to bursting point as they walked on stage and clear them within seconds of their departure. Quite easily the best live band in America, The White Stripes provide more energy with two people than most bands can muster with twice that number.
Whether you've only heard the buzz or are lucky enough to have already caught the bug, get ready for the best album The White Stripes have made to date. You can run, but you can't hide.
'White Blood Cells' is available on Third Man through XL Recordings now.