White Hills

White Hills

White Hills

Dead EP

Thrill Jockey Records

Here’s a cool vinyl-only release, but are these four songs worth dusting off the old Realistic turntable and zoning out? White Hills splatters “Space Rock” across their press releases, and we know space doesn’t sound like dreamy theremins or weird whistling and crackling. NASA astronauts report mostly you hear pumps and blowers and it’s a lot like living on the mechanical floor in your old college dorm. But in the tradition of Hawkwind playing Wembley and that Van Der Graaff Generator CD tucked away in the back of your disused CD collection, these guys replicate the post-acid rock stadium experience with panache.

There’s a neo-industrial tack on this sonic grouping, with title track “Dead” sounding like a hippie vintage number filled with everyone playing as loudly as possible, and occasionally in the same key. Next we sail into “Oceans of Sound (Antrønhy Øh Remix)” where we find mostly pure noise plus fixed rhythm à la a sampled Metal Machine Music. “Another Coming” mimics “Dead,” yet it feels more like a soundtrack outtake than a standalone piece of music. It fills time and bandwidth yet lacks an emotional arc; you start in one random emotional state, end in another, but cannot recall why. Think of a two-hour flight delay in Atlanta, but without the endless CNN loop. “Red Sun” brings us back to a Tiki lounge version of the future circa 1961. Jungle drums and cool jazz sound effects float over random samples of what might be movie or newscast dialogue.

Ah, Space — the Final Frontier! Just like any other distant territory we may never visit, White Hills reinvents outer space music as well as any band I’ve heard in the past five years.

Thrill Jockey: www.thrilljockey.com

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