WHITE HILLS: Glitter Glamour Atrocity (Thrill Jockey, 2014)/lp 15.98/19.98 This long out of print cd from aQ beloved space rockers White Hills, now reissued on vinyl for the first time (and again cd too), with new artwork to boot! Here's what we had to say (more or less) about Glitter Glamour Atrocity, when we first reviewed the original cd version way back in 2007... NYC's White Hills blew us away last year with a bunch of limited edition, Julian Cope-approved cd-r releases documenting their mesmeric, motorik, heavy, and very Hawkwindy space rock sound. We're now very pleased to have their new full-length album in stock. This time around, we are initially given the impression that White Hills has decided to mix it up a little, branching off into a more musicianly, refined post-rock realm rather than sticking entirely to the amplification n' effects laden, cosmic droneout krautrockishness set-the-controls ROCK of their cd-rs. Certainly there's more dynamics here, more ambient/acoustic interludes, lots of really pretty, even poppy bits. But what about the heavy hypnotic headnodders? They're here too, don't worry! Fans of Hawkwind, Neu!, Braindonor, Spacemen Three, Comets On Fire, Kinski, Titan, Pharaoh Overlord, etc. will certainly dig the likes of "Love Serve Remember" (which weirdly reminds us of the Pain Teens) and the distorted, psychedelic, jamming excess of the nearly 15 minute long album-closing title track, among others here. This new White Hills is perhaps more nuanced in some ways than their prior output, but any newfound delicacy hasn't dimmed the drugged dementia of the louder portions of this disc and they've always had their wonderfully blissful side anyway, so we're quite happy with their "progress"! Could do without the bits sampled from George W. Bush speeches, though, despite agreeing with the anti-Bush sentiment being displayed.... WHITE HILLS: Heads On Fire (Rocket Recordings, 2013) cd 17.98 This modern psychedelic spacerock classic is finally back in print, available again on cd! Here's what we wrote about it when we first reviewed it way back in 2009: After a whole mess of crazy limited cd-r releases, this was only the 2nd proper release from these East Coast blown out garage psych space rockers. Avid readers of the list will no doubt by now, be hip to these guys, their wall of guitar, Hawkwind meets the Stooges meets Monster Magnet meets the Heads is tough to beat, every song drenched in wild outer space FX, the drums pounding beneath an avalanche of psychedelic guitar, the vocals, shadows flitting across the molten surface of these tracks, barely audible just another layer of dense fuzz. So how does this record stack up to the rest? We mentioned that the last release, the tour only Abstractions And Mutations, was the band's fiercest yet, but Heads On Fire might have us reassessing. Cuz this has to be exactly what it would sound like if your head was indeed on fire. The opener is a heavy as fuck space rock romp, right out of the gate, a wall of buzzing wah wah guitar is loosed, and all you can do is hang on for the ride, it's like Spacemen 3 on speed, that same sort of billowy tripped out warm guitar buzz, but souped WAY up, supercharged, a blinding supernova of freaked out garage rock psychedelia. But the track right after that is way riffier, a serious Stooges-y stomp, plenty of guitar crunch and psychedelic squalls, but the vocals are more present, a sort of Wyndorf style lord mother fucker drawl, wrapped in reverb and draped over the jagged riffing and pounding drums. Then there's "Don't Be Afraid", which begins with whipping wind and distant foghorns, ominous and mysterious, a phone being dialed, ringing and ringing, the band gradually coming in, a slow lope, simple tribal drums, a laid back guitar line, soft fuzzy swells of sound in the background, a lugubrious slow build, the vocals howled and spacey, reverbed and dripping with delay, the guitar getting gradually more and more jagged and distorted, until everything drops out, just wind, and muted electronics, muffled FX, the bass line creeping along steadily, bits of melody drifting by, the vocals come back in and BAM the band takes off, the guitar spitting flames, the drums falling down a mineshaft, a huge tangle of psychedelic space rock chaos, and then nothing, a weird, barely there, 5 minute outro, bits of guitar, creaking and buzzing, more wind, and finally silence. And in case that last 30 minutes, and those last 5 in particular, had you forgetting just where you were, the band shuts things down with 4+ minutes of furious fuzz and pummeling pound, thick and corrosive, and so distorted the riffs seem to melt into each other, the vocals sung from the bottom of a well, a bit of start stop dynamics, replete with creepy giggling children, and then the perfect send off, a sky full of psychedelic fireworks, multicolored streaks of white hot guitar, a blinding ear full of sonic pyrotechnics like staring straight into the sun. WHITE HILLS: So You Are... So You'll Be (Thrill Jockey, 2013) cd/lp + 12" 15.98/25.00 Exploding once more from the furthest galactic reaches of our Eastern most solar quadrant (aka New York City), White Hills have returned via arcane cosmic pathways to deliver another trippy transmission of their self described "fuzzed out motorik space rock." And So You Are... is everything you could hope for from that descriptor: psychedelic, immersive, monolithic, mesmerizing. It's space rock, but thankfully with a serious emphasis on the rock! Heavy circular riffing, primitive yet spacious, drifts over driving hypnotic basslines, while ghostly vocals echo in the darkness like dying transmissions from Planet Hotbox. The disorienting sounds of Technicolor laser beams ricochet over a proto-punk groove, drums clattering, seeming to invoke the dizzying feeling of falling down a flight of stairs for all of eternity. Elsewhere things gets a bit more ambient. A warming synthetic glow gives way to fluttering static melodies over the weeping of slinking slow motion guitar. Snippets of conversation collide with robotic stuttering like the staggered rambling of a malfunctioning super computer. It's all very conscious altering, very mind expanding, maaaan - but without using that as an excuse to get too meandering or too jammy. So You Are... never overstays its welcome. In fact at a relatively brief 45 minutes this album seems to burst and fade in the blink of an eye like a sudden supernova! You know the drill: Tune in, turn on, drop out - collapse onto a beanbag and allow your astral self to be transported elsewhere, even if it's just for three quarters of an hour - you may find time becomes meaningless where you end up anyway! And while they last, we have a very limited number of the deluxe vinyl version, pressed on green wax, housed in a fancy old school tip-on style gatefold jacket, which also just so happens to be bundled with a whole extra 12" record (sorry cd nerds, it's only with the vinyl) called Timeless Tracks For Aural Pleasure, featuring 30 minutes (3 tracks) or previously unreleased material, the bonus lp in its own bootleg style sleeve. (FYI, mailorder folks, once we run out of the deluxe lp, we'll automatically ship the cheaper single lp version instead, unless you tell us explicitly you only want to order the deluxe edition.) WHITE HILLS: So You Are... So You'll Be (Thrill Jockey, 2013) lp + 12" 25.00 Exploding once more from the furthest galactic reaches of our Eastern most solar quadrant (aka New York City), White Hills have returned via arcane cosmic pathways to deliver another trippy transmission of their self described "fuzzed out motorik space rock." And So You Are... is everything you could hope for from that descriptor: psychedelic, immersive, monolithic, mesmerizing. It's space rock, but thankfully with a serious emphasis on the rock! Heavy circular riffing, primitive yet spacious, drifts over driving hypnotic basslines, while ghostly vocals echo in the darkness like dying transmissions from Planet Hotbox. The disorienting sounds of Technicolor laser beams ricochet over a proto-punk groove, drums clattering, seeming to invoke the dizzying feeling of falling down a flight of stairs for all of eternity. Elsewhere things gets a bit more ambient. A warming synthetic glow gives way to fluttering static melodies over the weeping of slinking slow motion guitar. Snippets of conversation collide with robotic stuttering like the staggered rambling of a malfunctioning super computer. It's all very conscious altering, very mind expanding, maaaan - but without using that as an excuse to get too meandering or too jammy. So You Are... never overstays its welcome. In fact at a relatively brief 45 minutes this album seems to burst and fade in the blink of an eye like a sudden supernova! You know the drill: Tune in, turn on, drop out - collapse onto a beanbag and allow your astral self to be transported elsewhere, even if it's just for three quarters of an hour - you may find time becomes meaningless where you end up anyway! And while they last, we have a very limited number of the deluxe vinyl version, pressed on green wax, housed in a fancy old school tip-on style gatefold jacket, which also just so happens to be bundled with a whole extra 12" record (sorry cd nerds, it's only with the vinyl) called Timeless Tracks For Aural Pleasure, featuring 30 minutes (3 tracks) or previously unreleased material, the bonus lp in its own bootleg style sleeve. (FYI, mailorder folks, once we run out of the deluxe lp, we'll automatically ship the cheaper single lp version instead, unless you tell us explicitly you only want to order the deluxe edition.) WHITE HILLS: Walks For Motorists + Drives For Pedestrians (Thrill Jockey, 2015) lp+12" 26.00 NOW ON VINYL - WITH SUPER LIMITED BONUS 12" WHILE THEY LAST!! We reviewed the compact disc version last list, now we've got the vinyl, direct from Thrill Jockey, who let us have a batch that comes with the aforementioned bonus 12", entitled Drives For Pedestrians, featuring five tracks of previously unreleased material, a half-hour's worth! Only available from a handful of lucky stores, like us. Also, the record is on translucent red vinyl in rather nice packaging. Here's what we said about the album proper, last time: AQ fave psychedelic space rockers, the duo known as White Hills, are back, and taking some cool new chances with their sound. Busting out of their usual NYC haunts, this new album was recorded in rural Wales by a guy best known for working with poppier, electronic acts like Caribou and FKA Twigs. We’re not sure anyone would call THIS album pop-oriented, exactly, though it’s a fact that on a couple tracks here White Hills swap out guitar entirely for synthesizers - “I, Nomad” is bleeping, shimmering blissfulness. But for the most part, the usual White Hills krauty hypnorock loaded with squalls of fuzzy guitar distortion is in full effect, as expected, just somehow sleeker and provided with more precise targeting. Yes, Hawkwind is still a definite inspiration/influence/unavoidable comparison, especially on tracks like “We Are What You Are”, while some other cuts here are a lot more ‘new wavy’ or post punk or something, equally propulsive and rhythmic but stripped down, giving more weight to the grooves, and sometimes also to the vocals (reminding anyone who’d forgotten, that White Hills are a boy-girl duo after all). The album-closing title track, laden with effects and electronics and samples, is practically funky and danceable, despite the droning guitar parts. We don’t know if Dave W. and Ego Sensation were listening to a lot of Talking Heads, or, like, Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”, or what exactly, but we’re mesmerized by the results on that one. And if there are Moon Duo fans out there who for some reason haven’t yet checked out White Hills, this disc would be a good place to start - “Automated City” sorta sounds like MD channelling the Rolling Stones in fact. While we always love White Hills, we’re extra stoked on the different strokes they’ve surprised us with here. WHITE HILLS: Walks For Motorists (Thrill Jockey, 2015) cd 15.98 AQ fave psychedelic space rockers, the duo known as White Hills, are back, and taking some cool new chances with their sound. Busting out of their usual NYC haunts, this new album was recorded in rural Wales by a guy best known for working with poppier, electronic acts like Caribou and FKA Twigs. We’re not sure anyone would call THIS album pop-oriented, exactly, though it’s a fact that on a couple tracks here White Hills swap out guitar entirely for synthesizers - “I, Nomad” is bleeping, shimmering blissfulness. But for the most part, the usual White Hills krauty hypnorock loaded with squalls of fuzzy guitar distortion is in full effect, as expected, just somehow sleeker and provided with more precise targeting. Yes, Hawkwind is still a definite inspiration/influence/unavoidable comparison, especially on tracks like “We Are What You Are”, while some other cuts here are a lot more ‘new wavy’ or post punk or something, equally propulsive and rhythmic but stripped down, giving more weight to the grooves, and sometimes also to the vocals (reminding anyone who’d forgotten, that White Hills are a boy-girl duo after all). The album-closing title track, laden with effects and electronics and samples, is practically funky and danceable, despite the droning guitar parts. We don’t know if Dave W. and Ego Sensation were listening to a lot of Talking Heads, or, like, Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”, or what exactly, but we’re mesmerized by the results on that one. And if there are Moon Duo fans out there who for some reason haven’t yet checked out White Hills, this disc would be a good place to start - “Automated City” sorta sounds like MD channelling the Rolling Stones in fact. While we always love White Hills, we’re extra stoked on the different strokes they’ve surprised us with here. Note: the vinyl version of this has been delayed for another couple weeks or so, but when we do get it, Thrill Jockey is going let us have a very special limited edition version that only a handful of record stores are gonna get - not only is it on indie-exclusive translucent red vinyl, but also our copies will come with a bonus 12", a half-hour of unreleased material called Drives For Pedestrians!! Just FYI for you vinyl types, you might wanna preorder one. The History of Rock Music. White Hills: biography, discography, review, links

White Hills


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
No Game To Play (2003), 7/10 (mini)
Glitter Glamour Atrocity (2007), 6/10
Heads On Fire (2007), 6.5/10
Abstractions And Mutations (2007), 6.5/10
A Little Bliss Forever (2008), 6/10
White Hills (2010), 5/10
H-p1 (2011), 5.5/10
The Process (2011), 6.5/10
Frying On This Rock (2012), 5/10
So You Are So You'll Be (2013), 5/10
Links:

New York's White Hills debuted with countless confused and tentative CDROMS that ran the gamut from cosmic music to electronic rock. The mini-album No Game To Play (2003 - 300mics, 2016) is probably the best of the early works. Its nine-minute No Game To Play coins a new form of psychedelic cosmic industrial techno. The eight-minute They've Got Blood Like You've Got Blood couples Neu's motorik rhythm and Tangerine Dream's cosmic music in a driving hypnotic trance.

They revisited Hawkwind's abrasive hard-rocking space-rock on Glitter Glamour Atrocity (2007), containing the 14-minute synth-tinged boogie Glitter Glamour Atrocity (with a whispered eerie melodic coda) and the evil, aggressive, panzer-like, ten-minute Love Serve Remember (with a section of audio collage embedded in it) next to all sorts of different formats, from the old-fashioned acid litany of Spirit Of Exile to electronic drones and instrumental folkish lullabies.

Even better was Heads On Fire (Rocket Recordings, 2007). The stoner-rock epic Oceans Of Sound, reminiscent of both Black Sabbath and Cream, was a nice detour from the swirling machine-gun freak-out of Radiate and the pummeling quasi-metal ten-minute Visions Of The Past Present And Future (with synthesizer noise and an explosive "return"). The slow, suspense-drenched 26-minute Don't Be Afraid, instead, takes too long to get anywhere after gothic vocals introduce the theme, despite an otherworldly blues coda.

The limited-edition Abstractions And Mutations (2007), with the 15-minute instrumental Left Behind, was a nice corollary to their theorem: a slow hypnotic groove-based crescendo that leads to a Gong cosmic-psychedelic trance and to a Jimi Hendrix-ian glissando feast. It would remain their artistic peak.

They evolved towards the two more contemplative, languid jams of A Little Bliss Forever (Drug Space Records, 2008), the first album featuring Oneida's drummer Kid Millions: Walking Uphill Against The Wind, another suspense-filled slow blues that this time is oddly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's How Many More Times, and the slow-grinding, pastoral My Girl Soars Blind, whose second half is a metaphysical concerto of musique concrete.

The EP No Kind Ending (Diagnosis...Don't!, 2009) contains a 16-minute jam for guitar and synthesizers.

The subdued Gnod Drop Out With White Hills II (Rocket, 2011) was a collaboration with Gnod (and Oneida's drummer Kid Millions). Black Valleys (aQuarius, 2011) documents a live performance without drums.

White Hills (Thrill Jockey, 2010) marked a sort of new beginning, with brutal trips like Dead and Three Quarters, as well as the 12-minute acid ballad Let The Right One In and the psychedelic meltdown Polvere Di Stelle. The album runs the gamut from simple and compact songs to extended convoluted compositions, and from highly energetic to subtly sophisticated.

H-p1 (Thrill Jockey, 2011) contains the ten-minute No Other Way, the 12-minute Paradise and the 17-minute H-p1. These more ambitious workouts, however, bring to the fore the fundamental limitations of the band, capable of great ideas but not necessarily of great implementations. There are bits and pieces that are absolutely stunning, but drowned in a lattice of cryptic sonic doodling.

The two lengthy pieces of the cassette The Process (Sonic Meditation, 2011) elaborate on the same sound of H-p1 in a looser manner.

The mini-album Stolen Stars (Thrill Jockey) collects rarities.

The music on Frying On This Rock (2012) was even more obscure than on H-p1. The musicians play for themselves, frequently displaying schizophrenic instability as they switch from one mood to the opposite (like in Pads Of Light and Song Of Everything), and somehow they find a reward in the shapeless counterpoint that they achieve, but, instead, the 14-minute I Write a Thousand Letters and the twelve-minute Robot Stomp stand as monuments of ill-applied ambition. Just like in the previous albums, there are moments of genius (especially in Robot Stomp) but the price to pay for those few ephemeral moments is just too high.

So You Are So You'll Be (2013), with new drummer Nick Name, continued the disappointing trend started with their eponymous album of 2010. Mostly the album contains filler, predictable filler, Forever In Space is the classic space-rock dejavu that any teenage band can do after listening to a couple of Hawkwind albums. So much so that an old-fashioned audio collage like the instrumental The Internal Monologue stands out as "original".

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
What is unique about this music database