Showing posts with label White Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label White Williams. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

White Williams Video Premiere On Pitchfork.tv!

Like chocolate and peanut butter White Williams and TV Carnage make a great mix. Check out their collaborative effort that premiered on Pitchfork.TV today.

Pitchfork.tv: White Williams: "New Violence" [Video Premiere]


No sex in your violence? The video for White Williams' "New Violence" plays like a porn reel of guns, explosions, and guys being thrown through glass doors-- and weapon-wielding blondes in bikinis, and strippers, and muscular, dancing men-- without all the unnecessary attempts at, like, plot and characters and stuff. There's also a dude in a Ronald Reagan mask. This standout from the hookah-favoring East Coast electro-popper's 2007 Smoke sets Williams' deep, confidently intoned verses and breathy hooks atop chugging, effects-laden guitars and glimmering, attention-deficit electronics that point out his aesthetic connection with former tourmates Girl Talk and Dan Deacon. The clip, directed by juxtaposition-happy TV Carnage, cuts from violent image to violent image at the breakneck pace of those squiggly synths, opening with various people getting dressed and closing with a man and a woman standing up. After a shot of a bed. True neo violence, it doesn't have to make sense.


Derrick Beckles of TV Carnage has this to add: "The following 'Music Video' is a glowing tribute to our men and women in blue who courageously risk their lives each day, handing out tickets to people for riding their bicycles on the sidewalk. The song NEW VIOLENCE is ridiculously excellent as is but when combined with TV CARNAGE the result is nothing short of a Lethal Force." More trash culture mayhem and DVDs are available at the Street Carnage website, along with an interview with White Williams about this video.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Great Interview & Live Footage Of White Williams At Other Music.

Live at Other Music: White Williams (Episode #8)
Filed under: Other Music News, In-Store Performances, Live at Other Music Episodes

Related: concert film, dig for fire, in store, other music live, white williams


Joe “White” Williams
started to make a name for himself late last year with a couple of high-profile tours with Girl Talk and Dan Deacon, and the release of his stellar Smoke album on Tigerbeat6 (soon picked up by Domino). His music comes off as an updated electro take on the classic ’70s-era glam of T-Rex and Eno, but other than that, we didn’t know much about him. Turns out the reason why is that he recorded and mixed his debut album in the isolation of his home studio, and had never played a single live show as White Williams until after the album was released. A scant few months into the band’s career they dropped by the store for a short set and a few questions on music history and the band’s future. Enjoy!
-Josh Madell

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Three Imaginary Girls Reviews White Williams' Debut Album.

White Williams —Smoke
{7.1}
{
Tigerbeat6}
Original post
There is a lot to be said for taking things easy, to stay relaxed and to not let things get to you. This is especially true if you have a lot of eggs in your basket, and Joe Williams, the man behind White Williams, has eggs a plenty. Not only is he a singer, musician and graphic artist, but also he’s been busy touring with the likes of Girl Talk. Smoke, the debut album from White Williams is pretty much what you might expect when you look at the garish cover of the disc, the sort of music that you might expect to be playing when you a little bit off your head after inhaling a little smoke – whatever smoke that might be.

If anything can be said for Smoke is that its relaxed to the point of sleepiness. White Williams seems to thrive in that zone of lurid disco-funk and glam-rock that is an extension Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie. This is readily apparent from the opening track “Headlines,” a song that could feel very comfortable on the soundtrack to Velvet Goldmine, taking glam rock and blending it effortlessly with a slow R&B jam. This formula is repeated with varying results, like “In the Club” that sounds like an extremely forced Bowie homage (and remarkably similar to be much smoother “Headlines”) or “Danger,” which is a little more Gary Numan than Bowie, but still in that same arena. White Williams break away a bit on “Going Down,” a track that comes across more like a subdued revision of !!!, lacking the frenetic pacing of the !!! and replacing it was a mellow rhythm that works surprisingly well. There are some rather odd turns, like the cover of Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy” that is turned into something like might here in a low budget porn flick rather than pop radio, becoming more like trance-rock, putting the song on a heavy dose of Quaaludes – effectively removing the infectious energy of the ‘80s original. However, White Williams does win back some points with “Route to Palm,” a real charmer that is catchy and energetic without being chaotic, almost as if he wanted to write a indie-pop classic rather than stick with the glam rock formula.

Smoke is an album chock full ‘o smooth grooves that are locked into the ‘70s and ‘80s new wave and glam rock dimension. This kind of leads to a overall tone to the album that doesn’t waver too much from its goal, yet at times feels a little forced and repetitive. However, through it all, you can hear many good things in the White Williams sound, especially when he lets it vary from his obvious influences.
-Erik Gonzalez, January 16, 2008

The White Willimas band just hit the West Coast leg of their US tour. Still lots of dates to go.

01/24 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
01/25 Portland, OR @ Holocene
01/26 San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
01/27 Los Angeles, CA @ Echo
01/29 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
01/31 Austin, TX @ Emo's
02/01 Denton, TX @ Hailey's
02/02 Houston, TX @ Walter's on Washington
02/04 Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder (FSU)
02/05 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn (MJQ Concourse)
02/07 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
02/08 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
02/09 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mega List of Year End Lists

AKRON/FAMILY Love Is Simple (Young God)
#09 Mojo Magazine top ten underground albums of 2007
#15 Treblezine.com top 50 albums of 2007
#18 "Ed is a Portal" - Treblezine.com top 50 songs of 2007
#80 Paste top 100 albums of 2007
NPR.org Top Ten Genre-Busting Records for 2007


ANGELS OF LIGHT We Are Him (Young God)
#21 Tiny Mix Tapes best album covers of 2007

#49 Cokemachineglow.com top 50 albums of 2007

BEIRUT Flying Club Cup (Ba Da Bing!)
#01 The Mac Weekly 2007: the year in music
#01 Blog Beat top 5 albums of 2007
#02 Reformissionary best albums of 2007
#02 Muzzle Of Bees.com best albums of 2007
#02 BWANK! Blog top ten of 2007
#04 "The Penalty" - Coffeesnorter Blog best videos of the year
#04 Superb Live Blog best albums of 2007
#04 MP7 Blogas top albums of 2007
#05 Criminal Records Blog / Lillian bakers dozen for 2007
#06 Deaf Indie Elephants.com top 20 albums of 2007
#07 Lawrence.com
#07 March on Electric Children Blog top 15 albums of 2007
#09 Pitchfork guest list best of 2007: Rodrigo Gorky
#10 The Sky Report best of 2007 - album of the year
#11 “Flying Club Cup” - It Covers The Hillsides Blog top songs of 2007
#12 Stereogum.com Gummy Awards - best album of 2007
#12 Anyones Guess Blog 14 best favorite recommended albums of 2007
#14 “Guyamas Sonora” How's The Pie? Blog top 25 songs of 2007
#16 Chinese Restaurant In The Forest top 27 of 2007
#17 “The Penalty” - Gorilla Vs. Bear songs fo the year
#17 Musecology Blog the 30 albums - best of 2007
#19 MetaMusic top 50 albums of 2007
#20 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07
#20 My Old Kentucky Blog: Dodge's favorite 50 albums of 2007
#22 NPR Listeners Pick the Year's Best CDs, From All Songs Considered
#25 Hate Something Beautiful. Com Best of 2007: Best Full-Length Albums
#26 Idolator.com top 50 albums of 2007
#26 Q Magazine top 50 albums of 2007
#26 Bleep.com top 50 albums of 2007
#29 Lines Through Lines Blog top 30 albums of 2007
#36 Treblezine.com top 50 albums of 2007
#37 Uncut Magazine You Rate Uncut's 50 favourite albums of the year
#37 Drowned In Sound top 50 of 2007
#40 Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2007
#40 “Nates” - Propeller music mayhem: Considering the top albums of 2007
#44 Harp Magazine top 50 CDs of 2007
#48 “Nates” - Treblezine.com top 50 songs of 2007
#49 How's The Pie? Blog top 50 albums of 2007
#50 NME Year-End Critics' Polls '07
#58 PopMatters.com best albums of 2007
#65 Boomkat our favourite 100 albums for 2007!
#74 Paste top 100 albums of 2007
Best of 2007 - I'm Just Sayin Is All
The Essential Albums of 2007 - To Die By Your Side Blog
Daily Collegian - Collegian music critics present top albums of 2007
I Was Told There Would Be Bacon Blog top 20 albums of the year
Piccadilly Records top 30 albums of the year
Honorable mention top 25 albums of 2005 Otchster.com
Honorable mention Best of 2007 - AlphabeticalORDER
Honorable mention for top 7 albums of 2007 - MP3Wox.com
Honorable mention top albums of 2007 Sound on the Sound.com
Honorable mention favorite 20 albums of 2007 - Almostcool.org
Runner Up Favorite Albums of 2007 Extravaganza! - MusicWarship.com
“In The Mausoluem” You Set The scene Blog 2007 top ten songs


VASHTI BUNYAN Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind (DiCristina)

#05 Other Music top 25 reissues of the year


PATRICK CLEANDENIM Baby Come Home (Ba Da Bing!)

#17 Almostcool.org favorite 20 albums of 2007


COLLEEN Les Ondes Silenciuese (Leaf)

#21 Boomkat our favourite 100 albums for 2007

#41 The Wire Magazine Top 50 Albums of the year

#44 Stylus Magazine top 50 albums of 2007

#50 Bleep.com top 50 albums of 2007

NPR.org Top Ten Genre-Busting Records for 2007


DEERHUNTER Cryptograms (Kranky)

#01 The Sky Report best of 2007 - album of the year

#03 Sam Fogarino of Interpol (via Filter)

#04 Mike McGonigal (yeti magazine)

#04 Paul Banks of Interpol (via Filter)

#04 Cole Alexander of Black Lips (via Filter)

#05 Tiny Mix Tapes favorite albums of 2007

#11 Drowned In Sound top 50 of 2007

#11 Criminal Records Blog / Lillian bakers dozen for 2007

#14 Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2007

#19 Treblezine.com top 50 albums of 2007

#21 The Wire Magazine Top 50 Albums of the year

#27 Boomkat our favourite 100 albums for 2007!

#31 Stereogum.com Gummy Awards - best album of 2007

#46 "Wash Off" - Pitchfork Top 100 Tracks of the Year Revealed


THE DRAGONS B.F.I. (Ninja Tune)
#29 Bleep.com top 50 albums of 2007


EFTERKLANG Parades (Leaf)

#23 Mojo Magazine Class of 2007

#24 Drowned In Sound top 50 of 2007


FIELD MUSIC Tones of Town (Memphis Industries)
#02 Lines Through Lines Blog top 30 albums of 2007
#17 Mojo Magazine Class of 2007

#29 Drowned In Sound top 50 of 2007

#38 Cokemachineglow.com top 50 albums of 2007

#40 Stereogum.com Gummy Awards - best album of 2007

#40 Q Magazine top 50 albums of 2007

#40 Idolator.com top 50 albums of 2007

#66 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07


DANIEL HIGGS Ancestral Songs (Holy Mountain)

#03 Mojo Magazine top ten underground albums of 2007


JANA HUNTER There's No Home (Gnomonsong)

#34 “Babies” - Gorilla vs. Bear songs of 2007

#38 Boomkat our favourite 100 albums for 2007!

#98 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07


ESSIE JANE We Made This Ourselves (Ba Da Bing!)

#12 “Glory” - Little Boy's Choir Blog 2007 Opinion List: Favorite Tracks


KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW What Is? (In The Red)

#33 Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2007

LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver (DFA)

#01 Uncut Magazine You Rate Uncut's 50 favourite albums of the year

#01 Stylus Magazine top 50 albums of 2007

#01 Drowned In Sound top 50 of 2007

#01 Piccadilly Records top 30 albums of the year

#01 "All My Friends" - Pitchfork Top 100 Tracks of the Year Revealed

#01 Guardian picks of the year 2007's best albums

#02 Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2007

#02 Amazon.com Best of 2007: Top 100 Editors' Picks

#02 Exclaim! Magazine Frequencies: Year in Review 2007

#02 The Sky Report best of 2007 - album of the year

#02 Rhapsody Blog Best of 2007: Electronic/Dance

#02 “All My Friends” - Treblezine.com top 50 songs of 2007

#03 How's The Pie? Blog top 50 albums of 2007

#03 PopMatters.com best albums of 2007

#03 PopMatters.com 10 best Electronic albums of 2007

#03 “Us Vs Them” PROPELLER - Music mayhem: Considering the top albums of 2007

#03 "Someone Great” - Treblezine.com top 50 songs of 2007

#03 Fact Magazine the 20 best albums of 2007

#04 Chinese Restaurant In The Forest top 27 of 2007

#04 "Someone Great” - Clash Magazine top 20 tracks of 2007

#04 Treblezine.com top 50 albums of 2007

#05 Mojo Magazine Class of 2007

#05 Rough Trade Shops top 10 albums of 2007

#05 Time Magazine top 10 albums

#05 Musecology Blog the 30 albums - best of 2007

#05 The Wire Magazine Top 50 Albums of the year

#06 Tiny Mix Tapes favorite albums of 2007

#06 Stereogum.com Gummy Awards - best album of 2007

#07 You Set The scene Blog 2007 top ten albums

#07 "Someone Great" - Pitchfork Top 100 Tracks of the Year Revealed

#07 Entertainment Weekly.com best albums of the year

#08 Los Angels Times / Ann Powers top ten albums of 2007

#09 Muzzle Of Bees.com best albums of 2007

#09 Almostcool.org favorite 20 albums of 2007

#10 "Someone Great” - Delusions of Adequacy10 favorite songs from the year

#11 NME Year-End Critics' Polls '07

#12 Hate Something Beautiful. Com Best of 2007: Best Full-Length Albums

#13 NPR Listeners Pick the Year's Best CDs, From All Songs Considered

#13 "Someone Great” - Gorilla vs. Bear songs of 2007

#15 Reformissionary best albums of 2007

#18 Idolator.com top 50 albums of 2007

#18 Q Magazine top 50 albums of 2007

#22 Paste Magazine top 50 albums of 2007

#33 Cokemachineglow.com top 50 albums of 2007


THE LODGER Grown-Ups (Slumberland Records)

#62 Amazon.com Best of 2007: Top 100 Editors' Picks


MAMMATUS The Coast Explodes (Holy Mountain)

#8 Casey Rae-Hunter -Dusted Magazine


MATTHEW DEAR Deserter (Ghostly International)

#07 Fact Magazine the 20 best albums of 2007

#08 Clash Magazine Top 10 Leftfield Albums of The Year
#10 CMJ RPM charts
#35 Treblezine.com top 50 albums of 2007
#38 "Deserter " - Pitchfork Top 100 tracks of the year revealed
#45 Mojo Magazine Class of 2007
#48 How's The Pie? Blog top 50 albums of 2007
#77 Amazon.com Best of 2007: Top 100 Editors' Picks
"Elementary Lover" - Entertainment Weekly best songs of the year list
Nominated for a Plug Award - Electronic Album of The Year
Pitchfork - Named on multiple staff members Individual Track lists with "Deserter" and "Asa Breed"


MELT BANANA Bambi's Dilemma (A-Zap)

#17 Decibel Magazine top 40 for 2007


MURCOF Cosmos (Leaf)

#05 The Wire Magazine Electronica genre of the year

Honorable mention favorite 20 albums of 2007 - Almostcool.org


NEUROSIS Given To The Rising (Neurot Recordings)

#03 Pitchfork guest list best of 2007: Bruce Lamont, Yakuza

#05 Allmusic Blog favorite metal albums of 2007

#06 Revolver Magazine Top 20 for 2007

#06 Decibel Magazine Top 40 for 2007

#09 PopMatters.com 20 best metal albums of 2007

Nominated for a PLUG Award for Best Metal Album of 2007


PAPERCUTS Can't Go Back (Gnomonsong)

#05 BWANK! Blog top ten of 2007

#05 Pitchfork guest list best of 2007: Beach House

#44 My Old Kentucky Blog: Dodge's favorite 50 albums of 2007

#75 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07


PINK REASON Cleaning the Mirror (Siltbreeze)

#15 Tiny Mix Tapes favorite albums of 2007


POP LEVI Return To Form Black Magick Party (Ninja Tune)

#15 March on Electric Children Blog top 15 albums of 2007


PYLON Gyrate (DFA)

#03 Other Music top 25 reissues of the year


JAY REATARD Blood Visions (In The Red)

#9 Other Music's Top 25 albums of the year


RIO EN MEDIO Bride of Dynamite (Gnomonsong)
NPR.org Top Ten Genre-Busting Records for 2007

SONIC YOUTH Daydream Nation 4XLP box set (Smells Like Records)

#05 Popmatters.com best reissues of 2007

#05 Mojo Magazine top ten reissues of the year


STARS OF LID And Their Refinement Of The Decline (Kranky)

#10 Cokemachineglow.com top 50 albums of 2007

#12 Almostcool.org favorite 20 albums of 2007

#33 Stylus Magazine top 50 albums of 2007

#43 Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2007


STRATEGY Future Rock (Kranky)

#14 The Wire Magazine Top 50 Albums of the year

#45 Stylus Magazine top 50 albums of 2007


MARK SULTAN Sultanic Verses (In The Red)

#89 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07


THEE MORE SHALLOWS Book of Bad Breaks (Anticon)

#5 Beth Lisick's 2007 Pick for the SF Weekly


TIMES NEW VIKING Present the Paisley Reich (Siltbreeze)

#53 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07

#96 "Teenage Lust!" - Pitchfork Top 100 tracks of the year revealed


TORCHE In Return (Robotic Empire)

#09 Exclaim! Magazine Aggressive Tendencies: Year in Review 2007

#34 Decibel Magazine Top 40 for 2007


VALET Blood Is Clean (Kranky)

#01 Mike McGonigal (yeti magazine)

#08 Boston Citypaper


VENETIAN SNARES My Downfall (Original Soundtrack) (Planet Mu)

#30 Bleep.com top 50 albums of 2007


LUKE VIBERT & JEAN-JACQUES PERREY Moog Acid (Planet Mu)

#36 Bleep.com top 50 albums of 2007


WHITE WILLIAMS Smoke (Tigerbeat6)

#11 Chinese Restaurant In The Forest top 27 of 2007

#49 “Violator” - Gorilla vs. Bear songs of 2007

#49 The Sky Report best of 2007 - album of the year

#71 Poptarts Suck Toasted Blog top 100 albums of '07


WHY? The Hollows EP (Anticon)

#13 Daniel Levin Becker Dusted Magazine


WOODEN SHJIPS Shjips S/t (Holy Mountain)

#03 David Frick / Rolling Stone top 5 albums of 2007

#04 Piccadilly Records top 30 albums of the year

#07 Rough Trade Shops Top 10 Albums of 2007

#43 The WIRE Magazine 50 Best albums of 2007


WOODS At Rear House (Shrimper)

#94 Boomkat our favourite 100 albums for 2007!

Friday, December 14, 2007

White Williams Review & Mini Interview on Exclaim.com

White Williams
Smoke
By Cam Lindsay
Original review


Cultivated in Ohio’s DIY noise community, Joe Williams has blossomed into an extraordinary songwriter teeming with vivid concepts and unbridled elasticity. Dropping his first name to assume the much snappier moniker of White Williams, this 23-year-old NYC-based wunderkind has prefab-ed an imposing collection of transmittable melodies, which he’s shaped with a multitude of influences. Constructed using a laptop and various analog gear, Williams taps into the 21st century’s glut of nostalgia to mess with the concept of modern music and find a unique niche for himself. Loaded to the ceiling with deviant synths and rhythmic programming, he turns the notion of new wave or glam upside down and inside out, exposing the possibilities of producing something new with a little radical tinkering. His airy revitalisation of Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy” reminds us of how dead cool that retro classic is, while he nicks Neu!’s algorithmic drum patterns for some titillation in the soaring glam of hook-crammed single “New Violence.” What will get people talking (and moving) though is the slack polyrhythm of “Going Down,” which recalls Remain in Light’s volatile cadence. Smoke introduces a wonky world with a series of striking songwriting examples that manages to surpass any notions of the past, present and future of music to somehow remain a timeless treasure.

You’ve gone through many changes as an artist, originally coming up through the Cleveland noise scene. How did you find your sound for Smoke?

A lot of hitting my head against the wall and learning about microphones, recording and software. I started experimenting with my parents’ computer when I was about 17 in high school and I had no one to help me research music. Continually hitting my head against the wall, I slowly found myself toying around with sounds. From their I got better at teaching myself, and picking up microphones and learning guitar for this project.

Your real name is Joe Williams. What’s up with the honky first name?

The only reason the name is the way it is is because there’s a jazz singer named Joe Williams already, and I just appreciate the alliteration. There are no connotations or characters or anything. There’s nothing in music that’s so preferential. I wouldn’t want to be anonymous but it wouldn’t change the way I do anything. That’s why when you lift the CD out of the case there’s a picture of my friend. It’s not a big concern for me to be any kind of personality. (Tigerbeat6)

Upcoming 2008 tour dates:
01/12 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
01/13 New Haven, CT @ BAR Nightclub
01/14 Providence, RI @ The Living Room
01/15 Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa
01/16 Toronto, Ontario @ Horseshoe Tavern
01/17 Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
01/18 Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
01/19 Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern (Tomorrow Never Knows fest)
01/20 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Club
01/23 Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
01/24 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
01/25 Portland, OR @ Holocene
01/26 San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
01/27 Los Angeles, CA @ Echo
01/29 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
01/31 Austin, TX @ Emo's
02/01 Denton, TX @ Hailey's
02/02 Houston, TX @ Walter's on Washington
02/04 Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder (FSU)
02/05 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn (MJQ Concourse)
02/07 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
02/08 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
02/09 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's

Thursday, November 01, 2007

White Williams Recommended Review On Pitchfork Today.

TigerBeat's new secret weapon, White Williams, receives an outstanding 8.3 review on Pitchfork today.

White Williams
Smoke
[Tigerbeat6; 2007]
Rating: 8.3
Online review

Getting the full picture of Joe Williams' debut LP Smoke means making your way past the horrifically gaudy cover image to the production credits inside. There, after Williams' own writer/composer/engineer listing, is the name of the cover model, followed by credits for hair, makeup, "hookah prop design," and of course, "art." Williams, it is made clear, rolls as thick as the exhalant that gives his debut its name.


That aesthetic emphasis has landed Williams an opening gig for the recent electro-populist double-bill of Girl Talk and Dan Deacon. But while his tourmates get sweaty with the crowd as they tap away at their electronics, Williams keeps a cool distance. His songs are thin and languorous, with impeccable influences and the sort of calculated disaffection that comes from an MFA in design and a good weed connection. His attitude and vocal timbre have earned him comparisons to Beck, and that's more than fair: As glassy, nonchalant dance music, Smoke could be Midnite Vultures Redux: Something for the Blunted.


Mostly, though, Williams is a groove-obssesser working through his influences, and doing it with enough restraint and creativity to work them into his songs, leaving the showiness to his cover models. Smoke’s signposts form a coherent musical worldview: "In the Club" is T. Rex's "The Motivator" at 16 rpm, "Going Down" and "Route to Palm" work in the 70s West African guitar colorations that Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend, and Islands have been exploring lately, "New Violence" hurtles forward with a motorik bassline, and opener "Headlines" plays like a bubblegum version of Brian Eno's "Baby's on Fire". Even the umpteenth barely-augmented cover of "I Want Candy" feels like a distillation of the record's love for veneers.


Smoke's fondness of surfaces doesn't stop at the level of rhythmic appropriation, though; Williams takes an observational approach to lyricism that recalls early Roxy Music's tongue-in-cheek take on the glamourous life. In "Headlines", he crafts a series of slow motion scenester dioramas like "Climb all you can/ It's a killer stake/ We'll hang from the branches/ While the mayor dances/ In the headlines." "In the Club" tightens its focus, observing, "Trashy dancing baby got inside for free/ She's got the basement wrist/ She do the snow-blow twist." Like his predecessors, Williams doesn't distinguish much between style and peril; the middle of Smoke features "New Violence", "Going Down", and "Danger", which view impending menace as a necessity for sophistication.

Williams' ostensible depthlessness, like that of his forebears, is itself only a fa├žade, and Smoke offers plenty to discover across repeated listens-- particularly the way in which he tweaks his own voice, melting and reshaping it like the models' Technicolor "tears" on the album cover. This tendency toward sonic self-mutilation underscores the most appealing aspect of Williams' persona: that underneath the mannerisms is a shy kid, too timid to force his will on his audience in the manner of his tour mates, content to watch and comment from the margins. Appropriately, then, a streak of dark nostalgia murmurs just beneath the glitzy exterior of "The Shadow". Williams remembers "driving toward collisions in our heads," "burning buildings and the rivals that we had," and "wailing widows and the moments that we bled," and in the process giving some context to that hard-to-forget cover image: fashionable high culture as a sad, grotesque fantasy.


-Eric Harvey, November 01, 2007


A Few White Williams live dates opening for Battles.
11/07 Minneapolis, MN. @ Fine Line Music Cafe

11/09 Ann Arbor, MI. @ The Blind Pig

11/10 Toronto, ON. @ Lee's Palace

11/11 Montreal, QC. @ Le National

11/12 Boston, MA. @ Paradise