The White Stripes Play “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground”

Dead_Leaves_and_the_Dirty_GroundListen to this track by tri-colour schemed indie-blues-rock twosome from Detroit The White Stripes. It’s “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground”, a cut as taken from their breakthrough 2001 album White Blood Cells. It served as the third single from that record scoring a top twenty showing on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.

The impact The White Stripes had on rock music by the beginning of the two-thousands was hefty. Their music challenged many of the conventions of the time, while also reinforcing many of the same that fans had perhaps forgotten about. It was brand new, and yet somehow dusty and old at the same time. The band’s approach certainly undercut the idea that to make new music, one had to leave the past behind. But is also undercut the idea that one couldn’t take a left turn when it came to presenting it in a new context.

That what this song illustrates so well, and perfectly frames why The White Stripes were able to make such an impact on the mainstream. Read more

The White Stripes Play “Candy Cane Children”

Listen to this track, a yuletide assault from two-piece blues-indie heroes, the late, lamented White Stripes. It’s their Christmas tune from 1998, and something of a rarity, “Candy Cane Children”. This was an early single from a band who had yet to break through, yet clearly had the juice even this early on.

The song is on the books to be one of a number of early singles from our heroes to be re-released from Jack White’s Third Man Records.

Have a great Christmas from the Delete Bin, and as of this past December 18, happy birthday to us – the Delete Bin mark II has been going for four years! We’ll be taking the next week off, so see you in the New Year!


The Raconteurs Play ‘Old Enough’

Listen to this song by rock classicists the Raconteurs.  It’s “Old Enough”, a single taken from 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely, their second release.

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When is a side project not a side project?  When those involved say it isn’t?

The Raconteurs are made up of members with their own active bands.   Bassist Patrick Keeler and drummer Jack Lawrence are the rhythm section with the Greenhornes.  Singer-guitarist Brenden Benson is a respected solo artist.  And of course Jack White has built up a name for himself while working with “sister” Meg White as the White Stripes.   Those bands are as active as ever.

With this, you’d think that the Raconteur’s would be something of a hobby band getting the dregs of songwriting efforts.  But, listen to this track, beaming with energy and shimmering with melodic bounce.  It helps that Jack White has always been prolific, interested in the entire gamut of rock songwriting and presentation.  And Brenden Benson knows a thing or two about hooks.  But, is this a real band – really? If a commitment to writing songs which is displayed here is any indication, I don’t know how anyone could answer with anything other than a resounding ‘yes’.

There are lots of great moments on this album, but this song is the centrepiece, the beating heart of the record as a whole.  It pulls in a sort of 70s stadium rock sound, mixed with country rock, and a bit of prog blended in there too.  The danger with a tune like this is that in the wrong hands it could turn into a pastiche.  But, as it is it sings, as the enthusiam the players have for the material shines through.

For more information, check out the charmingly early 80s  retro Raconteurs  website.

And check out the Raconteurs MySpace page too.


The White Stripes Perform “Rag and Bone”

Here’s a clip of minimalist indie-blues titans The White Stripes with their 2007 single “Rag and Bone” as taken from my favourite album of theirs, Icky Thump.

Besides the appeal of the song’s central riff, which spectacularly tears up the seats, I think the thing I like most about this track is that is brings out the role-playing in which the Whites have always engaged.  Putting personas out there which frame the music they make has always been their strength, initially posing as brother and sister, and wearing their tri-colors proudly.

The White Stripes recorded the album Icky Thump in Britain, where the band named the album after an expression native to the North of England ‘Ecky Thump’.  The expression is a tame expression of shock or frustration.
The White Stripes recorded the album Icky Thump in Britain, where the band named the album after an expression native to the North of England ‘Ecky Thump’. The expression is a tame expression of shock or frustration.

And in this song, they’re really having fun, playing out these roles as door-to-door scavengers, vaguely menacing, but ultimately harmless.  The rag and bone seekers roughly parallel Jack White’s real life interest in collecting and pulling musical styles together; blues, country, rock, folk, and even latin music is referenced on the album.  Perhaps it’s not that much of a stretch to look at the Whites as musical rag and bone merchants.

After the first Raconteurs record, I wondered about the state of the union where the White Stripes was concerned.  Songwriter Jack White promised us in the rock press that the Raconteurs is a real band, not a side project or hobby band.  Where I was glad that White would be working with Brendan Benson again, it made me worry about whether Meg would hang up her sticks.  Meg White is a great drummer for the band she’s in as anyone with any sense knows, and it would be a shame not  to continue to hear that trademark thump-crash-drunken-Bonham style behind Jack’s growling guitar and vocal yelps.

I worried too that even if the Stripes would remain to be going concern, that White’s A-material would be channeled into the Raconteurs.  It seems that this isn’t the case either. For me, Icky Thump is their best record, stealing the spot where I’m concerned, from 2000’s DeStijl, which held the crown for a while.

After over fifty years of rock riffage, you’d think (and in some cases, maybe you’d be right) that the well had run dry when it came to shockingly good, riff-driven songwriting. The fact that the White Stripes prove this theory wrong every time they release a record is more than comforting that there’s life in the old girl yet.

To hear more music, wander down to the White Stripes MySpace page.

And also be sure to investigate the official White Stripes website for upcoming releases, tours, and other assorted goodies.


Song Rendition Showdown: Fell in Love With A Girl/Boy – Joss Stone vs. The White Stripes

So, which version of the song is better, good people? That’s the game; it’s up to you to vote now, vote often, and decide who will reign supreme; nu-soul belter Stone, or minimalist indie-blues deities The White Stripes?

The original song itself can be found on the White Stripes’ breakthrough album White Blood Cells from 2001, an anthem to love which is out of reach, but without any trace of maudlin sentiment. This is no gushy love song. It’s a barrel-gutted stomp of a song, a behemoth of fury that pulls no punches, and doesn’t forget its balls. But, what kind of fury are we talking about exactly? It depends on the version, of course. The original is a wall of angry guitar and chaotic drums, while Joss Stone’s cover is all sweaty, soulful, and desperate. Which makes the most sense to you, good people? To get things into focus, let’s do what we always do: take it one version at a time.

The White Stripes

The White Stripes White Blood CellsWhite Blood Cells was the White Stripes’ third album, with very little out of place from their debut and its follow-up. But, this time, the songs seared through the initial novelty of the band’s guitar/drums/no bass structure to reveal some of the best tunes in rock songwriting for that year. And such a simple approach too – just a guitar, bombastic drums, and a petulant whine about a girl who’s “in love with the world” and not necessarily with the narrator. Sexual frustration, confusion, and heartbreak, all in one song. Rock n’ roll.

“Fell in Love with a Girl” was not just a catchy, primal slice of unadorned rock music. It eliminated the idea that rock songwriting was a dead form, a secondary consideration in a sea of banal rap-rock and dime-a-dozen indie music which typified the early 2000s. In effect, this song offered the rock fan hope that there was life in the old girl yet. It also reminded rock audiences that songs were the thing, that they had life of their own outside of the personas and egos of bands who put them on albums. It proved that rock music, song by song, was as malleable and open to interpretation as it ever was even in the new century.

Joss Stone

Joss Stone the Soul SessionsTwo years later in 2003, soul music was given an infusion of the Old School when a teenager from the West Country in England emerged as a perhaps unlikely candidate for new soul queen; Joss Stone. Stone’s apprenticeship under 70s soul star Betty Wright, who herself was a teen soul singer, brought it and did so in a Southern Soul style in an age where R&B had been redefined by smoothed-edges and lifeless production. Although Stone’s approach is influenced by her contemporaries, the feel she gets on her take of the Stripes’ tune is fired by the fuel of a bygone age. Her debut album was entitled, appropriately, The Soul Sessions

Stone’s take on the song goes beyond a simple gender shift. The anger and confusion found in the original version is replaced by what is unmistakably identified as something a bit more carnal. The tension found in Stone’s version is less to do with confusion and frustration in being involved with someone who isn’t taking her seriously, and more to do with the sheer frisson of that situation, the excitement that only comes out of doing something you know is going to be ecstatic in the short term, but ultimately too costly in the long. Where many of her contemporaries wouldn’t have seen that possibility in the material, Stone pulls it off brilliantly, while also re-building the bridge between the rock world, and the R&B world. We’re reminded in this version that the two solitudes of pop music have never been further apart, and yet are also as connected as they ever were.


So, here we are once again, good people. Two versions of a song, both great in their way, and relying on the listener’s ear to judge which will take the number one spot.

Cast your vote below!