PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

The White Stripes: Nine Miles from the White City

The White Stripes' third live album gives us a raw and distorted listen to the band in concert, but their renditions are so much like the studio versions of the songs, the necessity of this live collection is questionable.


The White Stripes

Nine Miles from the White City

Label: Third Man
US Release Date: 2013-07-10
UK Release Date: 2013-07-10
Amazon
iTunes

The White Stripes, Detroit's intentionally lo-fi duo hit the national mainstream with the punk(ish) “Fell in Love with a Girl” back in 2001 and ten successful years later, they joined the ranks of the defunct, going their separate ways professionally, just as they did romantically years before (no they aren't brother and sister). In light of their parting of the ways, a new album may be unexpected, but then again, only actual fans (and music critics) are able to obtain this album at all.

Released through Jack White's Third Man Records members only service known as “The Vault”, this sprawling 27 track live album is only available to Vault members as a vinyl double album by mail. The album itself is impressive, loud and raw with that same deceptive complexity we've come to expect from this two-person band. Released to coincide with the tenth anniversary of their hugely successful album Elephant, Nine Miles from the White City was recorded at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom during the tour supporting that album.

“Fell in Love with a Girl” is conspicuously absent from the track listing and whether this was omitted from the mix or the band simply didn't play it out of burnout is unknown. However, many of the White Stripes' most popular songs and fan favorites are found on this third live album and some of the renditions here rival the original studio recordings. “Seven Nation Army” sounds great live and, again, sounds like a “full band”, as opposed to one singer/ guitarist and one drummer. “Hotel Yorba” is distorted and sounds like something one might hear on AM Country radio while traveling through the hills. “Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground” is heavy and bluesy with just the right amount of distortion and crowd screaming to set this one apart from its studio version. “Candy Cane Children” is delightfully in-your-face with Jack White's barking his “Think Again Man!” at the cheering audience.

Meg White sings on “In the Cold Cold Night” and proves that she sounds as good and as haunting live as she does in the studio. The White Stripes supplement their own work with a few cover tunes from the likes of Tommy Johnson, Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, Captain Beefheart, and Henry & June.

I continue to stress how they sound live versus in the studio and that is not always a great thing. True the White Stripes are precise and work toward perfection on each song, but many fans seek out live albums based on the unique additions, medleys and alternate takes on at least some of the songs. While “Screwdriver” is broken up between a “tease” and a “reprise” (read: full) version with “Ball and Biscuit” in the middle and Jack White does have the occasional fun and funny moment with the audience (especially on “We are Going to be Friends”), there isn't a lot here to warrant the live treatment aside from the fact that White Stripes fans will certainly want it. You won't find anything like Kiss' expanded reworking of “Black Diamond” on Alive or Peter Frampton's soaring live and extended version of the lesser studio single “Do You Feel Like We Do?” on Frampton Comes Alive. There aren't any extended guitar or drum solos and most songs sound a lot like the versions you've already heard with a slightly more raw, distorted sound above the screaming.

For many, this is an absolute win as a lot of casual and non-casual fans want the versions they know. I can say that Meg's drums and Jack's red Montgomery Ward Airline guitar both sound great and in tune with just the right amount of live kinetic energy to keep the long album enjoyable. Nine Miles from the White City has enough going for it to be more than a “for fans only” release, but in that the release is literally available only to fans, this may be the very definition of a moot point.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brasil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.