White Denim

White Denim

After an incredible breakthrough year in 2008, White Denim celebrate the first year anniversary of Workout Holiday (Albums of the Year from Observer Music Monthly, Uncut, The Sun and Clash) by releasing the eagerly anticipated follow up Fits. 2009 promises to be as incendiary. The band returns for live dates in May, shows that are bound to be rammed after their now legendary UK shows that killed it at Bloomsbury Bowling, Borderline, Cargo and culminated in the you-really-should-have-been-there Dingwalls show in November 2008 – one of The Independent's Gigs of the Year – "the kind of group that becomes one's favorite band. If they carry on at this rate, they should be one of next year's big crossover successes".

When a band's first album is unpredictable enough to invoke comparisons with artists as wildly diverse as hardcore innovators the Minutemen and professorial idiosyncrasy of Randy Newman, then you can reasonably assume its been made by people who care about music. Lots of it. Jazz, punk, funk, country, acid rock, even piano ballads – all these labels have been used, accurately, to describe White Denim. Their second record is more problematic though. It has to sound like them.

Fits; the title is both a knowingly bad pun and a reference to the odd tantrum endured in its creation- manages just that. Anyone familiar with the ferocious drive of the Texan trio's renowned live shows, where songs merge into each other and the playing guides the direction of the performance, will recognize their approach. Recorded and produced by the band in their infamous studio/trailer, Fits is more coherent than debut Workout Holiday, yet sacrifices none of its imagination. Though there's barely a pause between tracks the set ebbs and flows, ranging from the soft-hearted to the ferocious.

The band describes it, with only light sarcasm, as The Friendship Record. 'We were congratulating each other for having good ideas," says singer/guitarist James Petralli of the sessions, "We went through a lot of positive and negative things and came out of it a lot closer."

Declared influences range from the obvious – the early works of Funkadelic, to the deep – drummer Josh Block has been listening to a lot of seventies Brazilian pop, and it shows.

There are the curveballs you might expect from White Denim, but they are unifying and never forced. The mysteriously titled 'Sex Prayer' is an unexpected groove-led fusion riddim instrumental composed and largely performed by bassist Steve Terebecki. The frantic 'Hard Attack' is in garbled Spanish. More typical is the pummelling yet swirling upcoming single 'I Start To Run', as blunt as any sixties garage band that ever attempted rhythm and blues, yet dressed in a post-post punk arrangement that DFA would be proud of. Danceable rock music does not always have to fit the Brooklyn template. The playful touches act as a wonderful counterpoint to the soulful holler and keys/drums/harmonies second half of this killer tune.

The woozy, fuzzed up 'All Consolation' extends the mind-expanding Texan tradition of Roky Erickson, Butthole Surfers and Secret Machines while 'Everybody Somebody' is their own take on classic rock, powered by nagging percussion and bubbling keys. Yet White Denim can never be merely nostalgic. 'Radio Milk' and 'Say What You Want' indubitably rock, yet the rhythms driving them are quietly unsettling and anything but predictable. According to Petralli the songs "deal directly with the sense of paranoia that came with the congratulations we got. Once it's out there it's no longer yours. We're just addressing the fears that come with that."

The fabulously driving 'Mirrored And Reversed' has a 'Suspicious Minds' false fade that confounds expectations. Lyrically it deals with the contradiction of their current situation. "Being in a rock band is absurd for an adult. Until last year we lived our lives growing up, worrying about insurance and starting families. Now we do this. So it's about being afraid of preserving your dreams," says Petralli. Or, as he sings, "Hoping the hopes of a child". More prosaically, he describes the music as 'a good steady shuffle.' This could possibly be one of the most humble understatements of the year.

These are songs born of experience and doubt. The skipping country-rock of 'Paint Yourself', closer to the Meat Puppets than Laurel Canyon, the heartfelt 'Regina Holding Hands', White Denim's take on Shuggie-style soul music (and signals, if it were needed, the emergence of a great singer), and the gentle, moody closer 'Syncn' details a relationship that can't succeed. As bold a closer as 'Radio Milk' is an opener, with James' voice nudged and encased by a fantastically restrained drum workout and predatory instrumentation until the vocal breakdown rounds out a triumphant return.

For all the contemplation, Fits is effortlessly fun. There are more elements of jazz and soul than previously. Vocals sit in the mix rather than on top, effectively another instrument. The playing is, again, deft without being showy, and there are melodic hooks to spare. So what's the secret? "We set the tempos high and set off," says Petralli. It's that simple. And it works. In spades.

* " Highland Park's Seasons really pile on the shimmering keyboards, fuzz-heavy guitars, saturated synths, loads of effects pedals and an occasional beating laptop, accordion or harmonica riffing in the background. Their sound is full and showy, building up to great heights then lilting low into soft, cuddly breakdowns."- Wendy Gilmartin (LA WEEKLY)

*"This Highland Park based band plays a tender
yet voluminous brand of indie rock, combining winding guitar riffs and Colin Meloy-esque vocals with a veritable forest of carefully arranged flourishes. the Synthesizers, keyboards, percussion and violin never overpower the basic emotional appeal tha runs throughout the newest EP "Winter" instead serving to create a sweetly melancholy atmosphere in which you can easily float away." (LOS ANGELES TIMES "BRAND X")

*""They Showcase the fine art of Electronic Love." -(CIRCUIT SWEET BLOG)

* "Experimental psychedelic rock sprinkled with a bit of electronic music."-(BEATCRAVE)

* "What Explosions In The Sky would sound like if they were drunk and heartbroken."-(I GUESS I'M FLOATING)

* " Seasons played a strong set, and featured a handful of tunes that was catchy, whimsical rock reminiscent of yesteryear. “Real Dreams” was one of my favorite songs of their set. It was an infectious rock ballad with melodic layering like that of the Beach Boys."(RADIO FREE SILVERLAKE)

* " The Highland Park assemblage known as Seasons are a glorious mess.They make lovingly off-kilter neo-psychedelia full of palpable energy and exposed nerves, startlingly pretty one moment and earplug-worthy cacophonous the next. When these guys nail it they are calamitously good. "-(BUZZBANDS)

* "Highland Park-based five-piece band Seasons, a group that's been building up quite a following played a stirring set of intricate, meandering pop with some gritty edges."(THE 704 BLOG)

* "Seasons: simple name, not so simple music. There are flashes of brilliance on their new EP, the last track "Homesick Atom" is a confident and well thought out song. The boozy vocals and psychedelic rhythms of this one will keep you interested in what these H.P. kids will do next. "-(LA RECORD)

Seasons is a band from the Los Angeles area - Highland Park to be precise. Snug in their L.A. scene, they've made a great impression on indie fans for their mix of genres from Beach Boy-esque riffs, synth, and folk rock. Winter will win your little indie heart."-(PERFORMER MAGAZINE)

" I don't know how to describe Seasons except that their music defies easy categorization. I wasn't prepared for the writing skill and the variety of instrumental arrangements. Some songs were guitar-based, others were piano-based, some even tambourine-heavy. This band definitely goes on my list of locals never to be missed." (FEED YOUR HEAD)

" Seasons are the hardest band to quantify in Los Angeles. They have the intellectual curiosity, whimsy, and thoughtfulness of aughty indie rock in the vein of The Arcade Fire. I've seen them three times and never left feeling anything other than "Jesus. Whoa. I think if The Arcade Fire are too cathartic for you, if you find the Flaming Lips too indulgent (oh, I do), and if you're really just an indie rock guy at heart but you need something more creatively fullfilling than the Pavement / early R.E.M. formulas, then Seasons might just be the band for you."-(CLASSICAL GEEK THEATRE)

" Seasons opened their set with a lovely tune called “India.” That song was the deal breaker. I knew I was gonna like them when I heard it. They have a wonderfully layered sound that blankets you into a nice warmth and it made me forget how cold and rainy it really was. We live in a music mecca!"-(LOUDVINE.COM)

" While I was on autopilot, you were delivering the kind of passionate performances we always hope for. I've now got your session videos in heavy rotation on my computer. You play emotionally-charged, rip-your-heart-out rock... but I also like the way you went all Radiohead on us with the mind-bendingly good "Homesick Atom. " Unlike Thom Yorke's alien wail, your howls of pain are more authentically human, shrieking "goodbye" to some mysterious being."(GROUPEE BLOG)

* " In the last year, Highland Park's Seasons has become one of the more ubiquitous bands in the L.A. scene. Their sound is a pure product of their influences, a fusion of indie rock, 80's synth, folk rock, and garage blues -- so if you're thinking Beck, you're in the right neighborhood."(LA UNDERGROUND)

" This band is difficult to classify because the members use every instrument under the sun, but they’re able to bring it all together to put on a great performance. By fans and critics, they’ve been described as a brilliant group with great writing skill and an incredible energy"-(CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY)

" Seasons took the stage around 10 p.m. Right away I knew this band would not fit into a box or category, which automatically caused me to fall madly in love with their music. Bold, unique, and incredibly smart were my first thoughts as their set progressed. Each song seemed to build off the next, like some sort of beautiful masterpiece. When Seasons’ set came to an end, I felt that only 5 minutes had passed. I wanted more. Immediately, I rushed to my car in search for enough money to purchase an EP. Basically, Seasons is better than good. I suggest everyone catch Seasons as many times as possible. They’re just going to keep getting better, and eventually it will be damn near impossible to get tickets to see them play. "-(I PROMOTE GOOD BANDS BLOG)

*"Seasons, from Highland Park, who really nailed it with their earnest, swirling lullabies in the tradition of Mazzy Star. On the roof of the gallery, festival volunteers slumped in the corners clutching pizza boxes and tall boys, while down below wordless choruses and glimmering synthesizers snaked through the trees."-(LA WEEKLY)

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