Download: White Hills, “Three Quarters”


Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.

Stoned-to-the-bone riff-dozers White Hills may not have a Black Mountain-sized following, but it seems every one of their fans is a vinylholic, rendering everything they release out-of-print within days. The new EP Stolen Stars Left For No One (out October 5 via Thrill Jockey) will be no exception, a tour EP of three outtakes pressed in time for their current West Coast jaunt. (New York record fiends better start calling in favors from friends that haunt Aquarius.) Its bare bones cover art belies some massive riffs inside. “I thought it would be cool to make it like a bootleg from the ’70s,” says guitarist Dave W. “You know, the lost studio tracks kind of thing with a paper sleeve wrapped around a blank white LP jacket?” But White Hills have been known to go deluxe too, having already released one of the year’s gnarliest psych slabs with February’s White Hills–a schizophrenic trip through Acid Mothers Temple riff bludgeon, Boris chug, shaggy pseudo-grunge, and tender bursts of formless noise. Take a look back at “Three Quarters,” an endless boogie that is reminiscent of former showmates Mudhoney, but distended into an eight-minute soup that’s intentionally deadening and bleary. “I wanted to create the sensation of being beaten down in the same way that people are beaten down by advertising, the news, the mundane aspects of life, and time itself,” says Dave W. “Relentless and punishing… Just one heavy riff never mellowing out, but always barreling ahead.”

Download: [audio-1]

Q&A: White Hills guitarist Dave W.

What is “Three Quarters” about?

It’s about humanity not having insight as to the wart we are on Mother Earth. We take and take from her but don’t care enough to respect her and treat her right. No thought is put into the choices one makes and how those choices effect what gave us life in the first place. I wanted the lyrics to reflect this stupidity. What better way than to have the lyrics appeal to the lowest common denominator like the way advertising does? How much more baseline can you get than, “He don’t care, she don’t care, they don’t care, no one cares… On and on the earth cries on and on…”

Is this song named for the time-signature?

Funny enough, no it’s not. The title reflects the concept of only being partially aware and not complete.

When you go off into these long solo passages, what do you think about? Are there visuals?

Sometimes time stands still and I completely get lost in what I’m playing. It’s a very freeing feeling, a kind of out-of-body experience. It’s as if my fingers have a mind if their own and I am a bystander watching them go. Other times I find my mind will be one step ahead of what I’m doing, thinking about the next part of the song or the next song in the set. Other times I think of squirrels.

What’s your favorite guitar solo of all time and why?

I’d have to say it’s Fred “Sonic” Smith’s solo on the track “City Slang.” It’s so fluid and tough. No flash, just some down right guitar abuse. Just when you think it’s over he takes it to another level. He’s a brilliant guitarist that never was given his due when alive.

How was All Tomorrow’s Parties?

That was one crazy weekend! I feel like I packed in 20 years of living into just a few days. We nailed our performance that day. It was unhinged and wild, just the way I like it.

How did you find out that curator Jim Jarmusch liked your band?

It wasn’t until a month before the date that I realized Jim chose us. I was just so excited about the band being asked to play it didn’t cross my mind. When I finally realized he was the one that wanted us to play my first thought was, “How the fuck does Jarmusch know about White Hills?” Then it dawned on me how cool it is that he is into what we do.

What’s your favorite place to eat in New York City?

Veniero’s! My sweet tooth is big and their pignolis are to die for!

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