Thus far, all of the press photography that I've seen for White Denim's new record, Corsicana Lemonade
(which I honestly wish was Corsicana Lemonada, because, you know, mama mia, etc.) shows the boys from Austin wearing nothing but black denim! What's up fellas? Has your white denim gotten so filthy it's turned black or would wearing the stuff be too obvious these days? Did you back yourself into a corner with that one? In any case, Jeff Tweedy is on board as producer and the sound is tighter, but not necessarily more subdued as initial listens might suggest. Syncopated shredding right out the gate turns into an album of skittering and precise lock groove boogie rock occasionally recalling the best and most progressive moments of early ZZ Top. The band also flirts with soaring regular-guy psychedelia, sounding not unlike the first Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks album but with more slapback and less literary referentiality. Haters will accuse the boys of slicking up, trying to buy into the big time, perhaps paralleling the similarly boogie-butt clean-up trajectory of a band like the Black Keys, whose lush roots-empire seems a far cry from their fistfuls-of-vaseline days. I'll have to disagree. The new record, while admittedly containing a few corny swoony croonies for the goonies (but even these tend to be fairly complex and weird), is part of one of my favorite longstanding micro-canons: ambitious, precision-oriented, semi-prog-country-boogie-rock. Obscuro fellow-Texans Space Opera come immediately to mind (look 'em up!!) as do the aforementioned ZZ-incidents and particularly sans-bloat moments of Allman Bros clarity. Exceptional compositional concern and musicianship makes for a very cool record from a band who I had previously only just "appreciated."