The White Hills bring heavy doses of guitar-driven space rock to Seaside.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The thunderous roar of the White Hills’ hurts-so-good decibel level will be unleashed upon the diorama-sized Alternative Café on Saturday. Seaside’s eardrums may never be the same.
But the New York City-based duo – usually sporting brightly colored vinyl pants and grungy face paint – doesn’t unearth troves of disorganized distortion turned up to 11 with blind abandon. Guitarist Dave W. and bassist Ego Sensation paint complex and lengthy psychedelic expanses of space – that recall Hawkwind – with tight, sometimes hip-hop-like rhythms, and fuzzed-out multi-toned arpeggios. Under all the crunch and effects every note played has a distinct role and all the feedback is produced with premeditation. “Sometimes I’ll have full written music or sometimes Ego will come in with a bass riff,” Dave says. “We just jam and I start picking things I want to use.”
The White Hills – who have played All Tomorrows Parties and toured with the Flaming Lips and Sleep – have been on the road since March in support of their new five-track album, Frying on This Rock, which features several songs as entrancing as they are lengthy.
“We don’t set out to have all our songs be super long but when you start to play you get into this groove and it sounds good so you let it go and don’t want it to end,” Dave says. “Over time I think my composition style has slowed down and I let things build more. I have a cyclical nature to my compositions.”
“Song of Everything” is best described as an all-encompassing journey into hallucinogenic Technicolor. Midway through the tune, the White Hills drop in a mellow, unexpected Barry White-like interlude, which Dave says was inspired by a lot of Isaac Hayes’ Black Moses and Hot-Buttered Soul.
“One day I started doing that rap as a joke,” he says. “Ego thought it was really cool and encouraged me to develop it.”
Dave’s cyclical mentality brings the tune full-circle and returns with a fireball of raunchy guitar, throbbing bass and pounding percussion.
Openers Pacific Grove High’s Mozzo Kush may not play at an eardrum-bursting level that rivals the White Hills, but the teen foursome brings talent worthy of sharing the bill. Kush’s up-and-coming ability was affirmed last week when they took home the $500 first place prize at Foundation for Performing Arts Center Pacific Grove’s Battle of the Bands. (They were also the only competitors to earn an encore.)
“We played our 17 best minutes of music, and it obviously paid off,” says rhythm guitarist Brent Smith. “We were all really excited to come back after not placing last year, and the redemption was really nice.”
On original tunes like “Checked in to Check Out,” the youngsters – including Smith, lead guitarist/vocals Kyler Mello, bassist Mikey Cho and drummer Taylor Jones – display wise-beyond-their-years musicianship with a crisp, guitar-centric jaminess that converges with a post-punk garage rock sound of The Strokes.
WHITE HILLS and MOZZO KUSH performances start 8pm Saturday, May 12, at the Alternative Cafe, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. $10. 583-0913.