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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

August 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Jack White brings his unmistakable sound to Paramount | Concert preview

There may not yet be a clear winner for “song of the summer,” but 2014 has not been wanting for entire albums with a definitive sound.

From chart-topping LPs like Lana Del Rey’s “Ultraviolence” to indie concerns such as Dum Dum Girls’ “Too True” (and, come to that, most of the band’s Sub Pop label mates’ 2014 efforts), artists have been creating albums that are defined more by an aesthetic they can swim in than by individual melodies they serve up a la carte.

This is nothing new for Jack White, who plays the Paramount Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 25-26. You need not see the credits on the “Beck Song Reader” to know that Jack White is taking his turn on “I’m Down.” From the White Stripes to the Raconteurs to the Dead Weather and his solo projects, White’s is one of the most identifiable sounds in the industry.

It’s fitting that White teased his latest solo LP, “Lazaretto,” with an instrumental jam, “High Ball Stepper.” There are no vocals, but it is unmistakably White: the fuzz and pull of the guitar, the cannonballs of reverberation and full-fisted smacks on the snare drum.

There’s more nuance on “Lazaretto” than on the aforementioned 2014 sound experiments. That is because White draws from a wider palette than Lana Del Rey or Dum Dum Girls, bookending the album with a guitar-based blues howler, “Three Women,” and the melancholy, piano-driven “Want and Able.”

But the point remains the same: The melodies aren’t the centerpiece, they merely exist as a vehicle for the White treatment. You don’t come away from it thinking about a song, you think about the sound: the bombast, the creaky purrs and the well-placed strings.

“Lazaretto” and White’s previous solo installment, 2012’s “Blunderbuss,” demonstrate how much he is uplifted by his collaborators. White’s at his best when he’s working his signature stomp and buzz alongside friends and colleagues — culminating with the Raconteurs, where he was complemented by co-vocalist Brendan Benson.

One of the best Jack White records isn’t even a Jack White album, it’s Wanda Jackson’s “The Party Ain’t Over,” the 2011 release from the gravel-voiced rockabilly legend that prominently features his production thumbprint. Like fellow producers Danger Mouse and Chris Walla (who recently announced he is leaving Death Cab for Cutie), White has the ability to rub his aesthetic off on other artists at will.

And like his peers in the production booth, his sound can feel a bit overexposed when left unchecked, but it’s unmistakable and bankable nonetheless.

Jack White

7:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, Aug. 25-26, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, Seattle; $45.75, all ages (206-682-1414 or stgpresents.org).

 

 

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Concert Preview, Jack White, Lazaretto

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