Download: White Hills' Grinding, Surreal "The Condition Of Nothing"


The last time we talked to White Hills, they were fresh off releasing one of our fave local releases of 2010, a self-titled slab we called "a schizophrenic trip through Acid Mothers Temple riff bludgeon, Boris chug, shaggy pseudo-grunge, and tender bursts of formless noise." With follow-up Hp-1 (Thrill Jockey), the band stretches out both literally (it's 72 minutes long!) and figuratively. They dip their toes into meaner, uglier waters, filling every song with buzz-harshing, acid-bathed noise, hissing and coiling in flickering agony. Their grooves have gotten moodier and krautier and their textures now boil with rage instead of pot-smoked haze—don't think floating in space, think dying in space. Guitarist Dave W blames a team-up of corporations and American government for his newly unleashed rage, and lead track "The Condition Of Nothing" lays it all out with a dead-eyed gaze, neon lasers of piercing cosmic goop and one especially demented guitar solo.


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The Best Local Music Of 2010: Our Annual Mixtape Starring Sweet Bulbs, Marnie Stern, Sharon Van Etten, and Special Guest Hannibal Buress

Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent. This is a compilation of 2010's best local music, lovingly curated by YIMBY columnist Christopher R. Weingarten. See last year's tape here.

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R.I.P. Chris Weingarten's old blue trucker hat. Photo by Rebecca Smeyne.
Have you heard the one about how the recession is over? Uh, don't tell it to New York City's musical community. While our center-of-the-universe assembly line of hype puttered on unabated, 2010's biggest up-and-comer success stories were actually beamed from the outer limits of the five boroughs--Titus Andronicus (Glen Rock, NJ), Screaming Females (New Brunswick, NJ), Phantogram (Saratoga Springs, NY), Real Estate (Ridgewood, NJ)--places where money can go to tour vans instead of landlords, where musicians aren't paying $400 a month for the luxury of sharing a practice space with three other bands. The remaining New York City indie-crossovers all benefited from frugal one-man home-recording set-ups (Oneohtrix Point Never, Matthew Dear), stripped down line-ups (the Drums, Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim) or simply embracing the idea that sounding mushy is smarter than buying new gear (Small Black).

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Download: White Hills, "Three Quarters"

Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.

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Stoned-to-the-bone riff-dozers White Hills may not have a Black Mountain-sized following, but it seems every one of their fans is a vinylholic, rendering everything they release out-of-print within days. The new EP Stolen Stars Left For No One (out October 5 via Thrill Jockey) will be no exception, a tour EP of three outtakes pressed in time for their current West Coast jaunt. (New York record fiends better start calling in favors from friends that haunt Aquarius.) Its bare bones cover art belies some massive riffs inside. "I thought it would be cool to make it like a bootleg from the '70s," says guitarist Dave W. "You know, the lost studio tracks kind of thing with a paper sleeve wrapped around a blank white LP jacket?" But White Hills have been known to go deluxe too, having already released one of the year's gnarliest psych slabs with February's White Hills--a schizophrenic trip through Acid Mothers Temple riff bludgeon, Boris chug, shaggy pseudo-grunge, and tender bursts of formless noise. Take a look back at "Three Quarters," an endless boogie that is reminiscent of former showmates Mudhoney, but distended into an eight-minute soup that's intentionally deadening and bleary. "I wanted to create the sensation of being beaten down in the same way that people are beaten down by advertising, the news, the mundane aspects of life, and time itself," says Dave W. "Relentless and punishing... Just one heavy riff never mellowing out, but always barreling ahead."

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Video Premiere: White Hills, "Dead"

The psych/garbage/space rock trio White Hills fall into that Brooklyn corner where the songs are long and aliases abide--like their close affiliates Oneida, White Hills' Dave W. and Ego Sensation underpin oozy post-psych moans with busy, virtuosic rhythmic scaffolding. "Dead" was recorded at Oneida's Ocropolis studio; that band's drummer, Kid Millions, plays on the track. Currently out in limited edition, vinyl-only EP form, "Dead" is destined for the band's self-titled fifth (or so) full-length and Thrill Jockey debut (LP-wise anyway; the "Dead" EP is TJ's as well), scheduled for early next year. The video features both a tiger/zebra/corpse-painted Lady Macbeth-type OCD handwasher and a maniacal looking monkey in a crispy red suit--suitable for the creepy, self-doubting churn of the track itself. Julian Cope, the band's original benefactor (he released a version of White Hills' 2005 debut on his Fuck Off & Di label), would surely approve.

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