Rock ‘n’ roll isn’t easy. Writing and performing a rock ‘n’ roll song takes an artillery of thought, experience and hard work. If you’ve ever written a rock ‘n’ roll song that you’re especially proud of, consider us proud of you, because you’ve done an extremely difficult thing. The bands who make the songwriting process seem effortless are the ones to envy the most. Black Whales are definitely in among those bands.
Hailing from Seattle, Black Whales’ songs feature those haunting kind of new legends out of a modern day mystery novel. Their lyrics speak of broken crystal balls while a jangly guitar pushes the song forward. They may not be reinventing the wheel here, but it’s a genuine sound that keeps rock music honest.
Black Whales – “Young Blood” (from Origins)
Their new EP Origins was released this week, and they’ll be at Schubas on Oct. 17. Here’s a list from Alex Robert.
1) The Turtles – “Outside Chance” (from You Baby) – “‘Stone walls surround me, I’m surprised that you even found me.’ What don’t you like about this song?”
2) The Magnetic Fields – “Swinging London” (from Holiday) – “Magnetic Fields obsession. This is a really great song with a ton of super cheeseball keys and farty sounding midi horns kind of slopped on top of it. His songs get stuck in my head and make me laugh at the same time. The song is a downer lyrically, like almost all of his songs, so apparently nobody has it as bad as Stephen Merrit. I like that.”
3) The Velvet Underground – “What Goes On” (from The Velvet Underground) – “By the time the double guitar psyche-out happens in the middle, I almost always start the song over again and turn it up.This is my idea of a good summer jam. It’s good with cold drinks and a deck. And maybe some heroin, if you’re Lou Reed. Hey Lou.”
4) Bob Dylan – “I Want You” (from Blonde On Blonde) – “I probably just should have listed five songs by Bob Dylan on here. Even if you don’t get what he’s saying half the time, everybody’s been in the place he’s talking about…unless you think he means in an underground sex cave.”
5) King Khan – “No Regrets” (from What Is [With The Shrines]) – “There is nothing I wouldn’t do when this song comes on. That’s a dangerous kind of song. The piano just kind of pounds the high keys through everything, and I’m into that. It’s also amazing when he shouts ‘guitar’ at 0:24! I’m very into that.”