“[Whitney]s friendship and songwriting partnership is coming into its prime.” – The Verge
“The beautiful arrangement of exultant horns, rhythmic twangy guitar layers, and subtle percussion smoothly soothes.” – Stereogum
Ascendant Chicago band Whitneyhave announced their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, due out June 3rd on Secretly Canadian. This follows on the heels of recent inescapable single No Woman and a much talked about SXSW trip. Light Upon The Lake marks the culmination of a short, but incredibly intense, creative period for the band. To say that Whitney is more than the sum of its parts would be a criminal understatement.Formed from the core of guitarist Max Kakacek (ex-Smith Westerns) and singing drummer Julien Ehrlich (ex-Unknown Mortal Orchestra),the band itself is something bigger, something visionary, something neither of them could have accomplished alone.
Whitney was born from a series of laidback early-morning songwriting sessions during one of the harshest winters in Chicago history, after Ehrlich and Kakacek reconnected – first as roommates splitting rent in a small Chicago apartment and later as musical collaborators passing the guitar and the lyrics sheet back and forth. The duo wrote frankly about the break-ups they were enduring and the breakdowns they were trying to avoid. Each served as the others most brutal critic and most sympathetic confessor, a sounding board for the hard truths that were finding their way into new songs like the aforementioned No Woman.
In exorcising their demons they conjured something else, something much more benigna third presence, another personality in the music, which they gave the name Whitney. They left it singular to emphasize its isolation and loneliness. Says Kakacek, We were both writing as this one character, and whenever we were stuck, wed ask, What would Whitney do in this situation? We personified the band name into this person, and that helped a lot. We wrote the record as though one person were playing everything. We purposefully didnt add a lot of parts and didnt bother making everything perfect, because the character we had in mind wouldnt do that.
In those imperfections lies the musics humanity. Whilst they demoed and toured the new songs, they became more aware of the perfect imperfections of the songs, and needing to strike the right balance, they eventually made the trek out to California, where they recorded with Foxygen frontman and longtime friend, Jonathan Rado. They slept in tents in Rados backyard, ate the same breakfast every morning at the same diner in the remote, desolate and completely un-rock n roll San Fernando Valley, whilst they dreamt of Laurel Canyon, or maybe The Bands hideout in Malibu, or Neil Youngs ranch in Topanga Canyon.
These ten songs on Light Upon the Lake sound like they could have been written at any time in the last fifty years. Ehrlich and Kakacek emerge as imaginative and insightful songwriting partners, impressive in their scope and restraint as they mold classic rock lyricism into new and personal shapes without sound revivalist or retro. Im searching for those golden days, sings Ehrlich, with a subtle ripple of something that sounds like hope, on the track Golden Days, available for streaming today and accompanied by a self-made video.
Whitney will tour extensively leading up to the release of Light Upon The Lake with Wild Nothing and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively. Theyll also make a triumphant appearance in their hometown at the Pitchfork Music Festival this July. A full list of dates is below with more to be announced soon.
Pre-Order Light Upon The Lake:
Sat. Apr. 9 Bloomington, IN @ Culture Shock – Dunn Meadow University of Indiana
Tue. Apr. 19 Los Angeles, CA @ Union
Wed. Apr. 20 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah w/ Wild Nothing
Thu. Apr. 21 Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room w/ Wild Nothing
Fri. Apr. 22 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ Wild Nothing
Mon. Apr. 25 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile w/ Wild Nothing
Tue. Apr. 26 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret w/ Wild Nothing
Wed. Apr. 27 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Wild Nothing
Thu. Apr. 28 Boise, ID @ Neurolux w/ Wild Nothing
Fri. Apr. 29 Salt Lake City, UT @ Loading Dock w/ Wild Nothing
Mon. May 2 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club w/ Wild Nothing
Tue. May 3 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Wild Nothing
Sat. May 7 Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sun. May 8 Lincoln, NE @ Vega w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Mon. May 9 Des Moines, IA @ Woolys w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Tue. May 10 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Thu. May 12 Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Fri. May 13 Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge – Minglewood Hall w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sat. May 14 Oxford, MS @ Proud Larrys
Tue. May 17 Columbus, OH @ Skullys Music Diner w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wed. May 18 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Thu. May 19 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Fri. May 20 Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium (Dempseys Upstairs) w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sat. May 21 Winnipeg, MB @ West End Culture Centre w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Mon. May 23 Saskatoon, SK @ Amigos Cantina w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Tue. May 24 Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wed. May 25 Calgary, AB @ Commonwealth Bar w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Mon. May 30 Detroit, MI @ El Club
Tue. May 31 Cleveland, OH @ Mahalls
Wed. June 1 Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Fri. June 3 Brooklyn, NY @ Babys All Right
Fri. July 15 Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival