“Stiff” by White Denim – Check it out!

OK, so, Liquid Solids got out of the ever-so-tenuous and ill-defined groove that we were almost in with our blog posts.  But we’re back, baby!  In the interest of publishing more, I’m going for shorter posts more often.  So, here goes!

Firmly in the category of “new albums that I’m really digging right now” is Stiff by White Denim.  I really like two of their other records, D and Corsicana Lemonade.  Stiff seems to take everything that was great about those records and expands on it.  Perhaps most importantly, Stiff is just a heck of a lot of fun to listen to!

This record has it all – interesting arrangements, funky grooves, plenty of electric guitar riffage (is that a word?), irreverent lyrics, and (gasp!  hooray!) guitar solos!  Clocking in at around 36 minutes, Stiff might be one of the shortest jam-band records out there.  It’s concise in a good way – it doesn’t feel like it goes by so fast because there’s so much going on.  But then it does go by fast because it’s so well done.

Producer Ethan Johns (whose dad, Glyn Johns, produced some of the greatest albums of all time – look it up) does a great job capturing a raw, live sound.  In an interview on the “This Song” podcast, lead singer James Petralli explained how Johns recording him singing a scratch vocal, and then declared it to be the final take.  Talk about not messing around in the studio – a great lesson for us home-studio hobbyists!

As I mentioned, there are some great lyrics on this record too.  Keeping to my new mission of shorter posts, I won’t quote multiple songs, but one of my favorite, fun-loving lyrics on this record is “I need you like bacon needs eggs!”  Even the song titles are who-cares, just call it something weird in a good way:  “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)” and “Holda You (I’m Psycho)” are great song titles and great songs.

Stiff feels classic and modern at the same time.  There’s even a version of a twelve-bar blues song (with  a little modern embellishment) – “Real Deal Momma”.  And if you watch SportsCenter, you may have heard some of the songs from this record backing up highlights last month (April 2016).  The cover art is also weird and crazy but it works with the record.  There’s just a heck of a lot to love with Stiff.

OK, that’s enough for today – go check out Stiff!  Time for me to go figure out which White Denim albums I don’t have and probably buy them.  Until next time…rock on!

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