5/3 - Washington DC @ DC9 w/ DDm and Big/Bright 5/6 - Brooklyn, NYC @ DBA w/ Sassoon, DDm and SHAMS 5/8 - Providence, RI @ Black Box w/ Ddm, Tierdrops and Kolour kult 5/9 - Boston, MA @ White Haus w/ DDm, Gorilla Toss, GAY and Hot Company 5/18 - Atlanta, GA @ The 529 w/ Wowser Bowser, and Mediocre Machines 5/19 - Athens, GA @ TBA 5/20 - Raleigh, NC @ TBA 5/25 - Baltimore, MD @ Soft House w/ Sassoon, North America and more TBA
In a lot of the press that I’ve read for Jon Ehrens’ White Life, there’s a term that’s been thrown around carelessly that’s left me a bit on edge: “throwback project”. If anything, this seems like a pretty goddamn lazy way for writers to get around actually having to come up with anything original to say about whatever subject they are tackling. In essence, when they do nothing but compare an artist to the past endeavors of others, the words themselves are nothing but a throwback.
Yes, it’s all true. White Life actually does sound like an act that’s spent it’s years in the trenches with a healthy number of synthesizer-friendly bands from the eighties. But this is where the project separates itself from the pack of nostalgia-laden bands toting their laptops and midi controllers around the streets of Brooklyn. White Life succeeds in straddling the line between putting extreme care into the music and allowing it to harness a bit of silliness and hilarity. In so many ways, this puts them in the same league with the artists that they are so often compared to.
Ehrens approaches “Time Is Wasting” with all of the energy and intensity you would expect from someone writing from deep within the bowels of his soul, but still manages to craft an experience that feels light-hearted. Upon reading about Ehren’s involvement in close to thirty musical projects in Baltimore, the song reads more as a personal statement of purpose than something far more simple. Just turn it up and dance around. You’ll be happy you did.
Jon Ehrens, joined by his sister Emily Ehrens for vocals, White Life is a lyrical romp through pop history, infusing the beat driven dance model with a soulful, retro feel.
The sibling duo has worked with many influential musicians in Baltimore, including Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak, who provided harmonies and production on the album, Chris Freeland and Andrew Bernstein. Ehrens previously led The Art Department, whose Paperwork/Birdwork album was named one of the Top 10 albums in 2010 by the Baltimore City Paper.
Baltimore’s White Life releases their debut album Monday, May 30th on Ehse Records. With catchy + captivating guitar licks and keyboard-drenched tracks plastered in front of addictive beats, every hook on this glistening LP transports you to a youthful collective past and at first listen - blissfully carefree. The self-titled album can be streamed here on the Ehse website.
“Warning: White Life makes music that isn’t exactly standard Foxy-fare. This is pop music, kids. Sweet, succulent, lush, beautiful, glossy pop music. And it’s pretty damned good pop music too, so if you want to read another review about an experiment”—White Life, s/t LP
Jon Ehrens from the band White Life joined us to talk Baltimore, DC, unemployment, quitting jobs to travel the world, and what its like to be a guy that wakes up every morning and tries to make #1 records. White Life can be heard as our band of the week on Podcast 118 “Hurrication”. You can also find them here and follow them @WhiteLifeMusic on Twitter.
Imagine a synth-laden Sea & Cake style band playing both sides of the ‘80s pop ballad: the mysterious, impassioned guysong and the bulletproof ladies’ vocal electrohopsong. Making up words is easier than listing the bands these people sound like, but they do have something going for them…
A perfectly titled song from a perfectly titled band, Time Is Wasting is the summer jam of 2011. You read it here first. A lazy, ’80s-throwback bass ‘n’ beat, a few luxurious handclaps and buried la-la background vocals and you’ve got yourself the kind of golden song that makes you want to sip some Chardonnay and dip your hand into the pool. I feel like I’m getting tanned and blonde just listening to this song.
Time IS wasting. And you’re wasting it on relaxing. Keep going.
Bonus: The entire album can be live streamed and purchased at Ehse Records. Get thee to there! I’m streaming it now.
Gerrit Welmers, the man behind the synth racks of Baltimore’s Future Islands also has an excellent side project where he gets to extend his wild tropi-kraut ideas outside the confines of the band. This new jam sounds like Kraftwerk went on vacation with Peter Tosh’s steel drum crew and got to jamming out late night fueled by hot island air and herb smoke.
Look for 11-song Wading LP on ltd wax from Friends Records next week - and if you’re really picking up what they’re layin’ down, you can buy the bundle of their 6 previous cassette releases.
White Life’s debut album is full of 1986 throwback beats. It’s a mix of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) and a little bit of Club Nouveau’s “Rumors.” A great group who hails from Baltimore.