The Austin Chronicle

Spotlight: White Denim

1am, Club de Ville

By Austin Powell, March 14, 2008, Music

Tucked away in the hill country of Driftwood, nearly an hour removed from Austin, is a 1940s Spartan trailer that serves as White Denim's private studio. A Realtor would describe it as "cozy" or a "handy-man's dream." R-11 insulation doubles as sound proofing, wires run along the walls and ceiling, and a dry erase board lists the band's daily agenda.

"I've always thought of us as a studio band," says owner and drummer Josh Block.

"Yeah, but you have to sell records to be a studio band," says bassist Steve Terebecki.

"This is the only studio I've ever really felt comfortable in," furthers vocalist and guitarist James Petralli. "It's relaxing out here, and we know how each of us likes to work."

The trio's red-and-white, vinyl-only debut EP, last year's Let's Talk About It, is proof that White Denim could be the Steely Dan of the Digital Age. The collection condenses the Gories' fiery garage-punk and the Big Boys' low-end funk into two-minute bursts of ecstatic energy, treated with electric sitar, schoolhouse soul, and a stockpile of rhythms. A nine-song, fall tour EP revealed even more Faustian studio experimentation, at times resembling the Animal Collective's contorted pop collages.

"We always want to sound a bit different," Block says on the final evening of a nine-day recording binge that's resulted in as many songs. "Once we've gotten all of the ideas out and recorded, then we can go back and shape them into something relative to us. The process never really ends. We reapproach ideas and reintegrate them in different contexts."

By the end of March, White Denim plans to self-release a vinyl full-length, Exposion, aside from the group's digital EP on RCRD LBL, and has another LP already in the can. Talks have also begun with Full Time Hobby, European home to the Hold Steady and Viva Voce, about an overseas release.

"In about a year or so, we'll be ready to put out a greatest hits," Petralli laughs. "We're still in the process of accessing out business plan."

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