- White Widow
- Power Glove
- Lions Of Tsavo
- Switch It Off
- Take A Walk
- Don't Hold My Hand
- Respect Yourself
- Ye Olde Stone
I saw them on 16 January at the Cactus Club in Milwaukee--balls out two person (brother and sister, natch) garage rock.* Drummer Francis White lays down heavy, stomping beats and singer/guitarist Alex White rams her Rickenbacker through a Big Muff pedal. They kick ass both on stage and on record, and I'd never heard of them until a mere two hours before I went to show. I'd found The Onion A.V. Club's recommendation and was glad I did, because White Mystery delivered the goods that night—total energy, total abandon. Alex jumped around and never missed a note and Francis kept the Scott Asheton-style drumbeats coming. After the show, I chatted with Alex and Francis a bit and picked up their self-released LP. Like their show, it's consistently rocking and energetic, perhaps too consistent, since all their songs fall into the mid to mid-uptempo range and have multiple fuzz guitar breaks. Most of the songs sound like they were recorded in one take, perhaps more than one song at a time. The LP definitely sounds live, which plays into my “keep it as live as possible” credo, so that's some added bonus points right there. I take their song “Take A Walk” to heart, since it extols the virtues of walking and going car-free all while riding a hard blooze groove. The song could have summed up my college career.
More info: White Mystery's Myspace page.
Addendum: some thoughts on two person guitar/drum/vocal bands...
Intensity = The key to a successful two person band. Play so hard people forget the bass isn't there. Overactive drumming helps to fill in some of the aural gaps. Fuzz guitar always helps. Playing notes 'n' chords guitar riffs a la the Black Keys or White Stripes also works. But above all, if a two person band's going to play rock and roll, they need intensity and power.
*Like Mr. Airplane Man with less blues or Magic Potion-era Black Keys with more fuzz. Or the White Stripes' "Black Math" sound stretched out to 45 minutes.