Tight as a Whip 

White Denim and the Lone Star State

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Last week the Texas State Board of Education heard yet another challenge to the theory of evolution. And, yet, baffling as it is, Texas is perhaps the only place that could produce a progressive band like White Denim.

The trio's best song, "Don't Look that Way at It" is a truly modern, angular rock basher, full of scrappy loops, chants, and skittering dynamics. It's with good reason that they've drawn national attention. But in the Lone Star mold of conservative rebellion, White Denim almost categorically refuse to follow the thread born with "Don't Look." It's a song they're not trying to rewrite.

"I think that we all want to be a throwback band," says singer/guitarist James Petralli, the son of a former pro baseball player who skewed off that genetically prescribed career path as well.

But let's be clear: White Denim are no fundamentalist pig fuckers. And to be more accurate, they are a band that only Austin could produce. The "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin's glut of bars provided White Denim the ideal opportunity to hone their live act. Early on, the group played two or three nights a week, burning out a lot of customers but coiling themselves tight as a whip. At times White Denim are frighteningly proficient, flipping time signatures and blending songs with profound ease.

Exposion—White Denim's first full-length, released stateside in October of last year—takes a more layered, atmospheric approach to vintage garage, blues, and pop. Their Texas-sized work ethic marching on, the next album is already finished. And while they don't yet have a label in the states, it might be a blessing, because it allows the group to release songs individually as soon as they're ready, rather than on some stogy, bureaucratic schedule.

"It's really important for us to keep it in-house, at least at this point," says Petralli, adding, in true Texas fashion: "We're fortunate not to work with a producer."

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