Posts Tagged ‘Icky Thump’

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Jack White’s label Third Man Records has already put the final album by the White Stripes back in circulation through their subscription-only Vault Series, packaging the 2007 release with a double-LP set of demos and tracks from the same sessions. This new edition is just the original LP, as it was originally released on vinyl, right down to the sticker placed in such a spot that it needs to be cut through to access the actual records. It’s a cute little trick but will surely leave collectors drooling over whether they can safely peel it off without it tearing or whether cutting into the album’s resale value will be worth it. Whatever your feelings on the matter are, it’s great to have the ultimate statement by Jack and Meg White brought back to the format that serves their high-wattage garage blues antics best.

The White Stripes seemed to have wandered far afield of the nervy electric blues of their breakthrough album “Elephant” with 2005’s gloomy “Get Behind Me Satan“. Then came “Icky Thump”, their last blast of garage-band glory.

This return-to-form LP arrived on June 15th, 2007, It couldn’t have had less in common with “Get Behind Me Satan”, which sold about half as much as 2003’s “Elephant” – a platinum smash that featured “Seven Nation Army.” The experience seemed to have stung singer/guitarist Jack White, who developed a newfound appreciation for remaining true to one’s roots.

“I told someone that one of these new songs could be an old 45 of ours,” White admitted in a 2007 talk with the New York Times. “And they said, would you want the Beatles to have ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ on the White Album? And I said, yeah, I would love that — what would be wrong with that?”

With “Icky Thump”, White’s stinging guitar moved forward where pianos and light orchestral arrangements once were. Tough, blues-inflected songs replaced the quiet balladry that dominated Get Behind Me Satan.

Credit must also go to a year spent on the road with White’s other band, the Raconteurs. The time away seemed to have sharpened his riffs to a razor’s edge – even as it loosened him up. “Rag and Bone,” a talking-blues in the style of John Lee Hooker, boldly recalled the White Stripes‘ fizzy initial successes, while “Little Cream Soda” grew out of an on-stage improvisation.

“You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)” howled with an open-hearted, country-soul rawness, while two tracks (“Prickly Thorn, but Sweetly Worn” and “St. Andrew”) featured a bagpipe. The White Stripes converted a video treatment by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry into a finished song (“I’m Slowly Turning Into You”), and even included a mariachi-driven cover of Patti Page’s “Conquest.”

“When it comes to the songs themselves, the songs are in charge – not me,” White told Reuters in 2007. “Take a song like ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told).’ That was pretty much a country song in my mind. If I really was in control I could have just said, ‘Hey, how dare you allow electric guitar and heavy organ on there,’ but I don’t do that. I let the song tell me what it wants.”

Recorded over three weeks with drummer Meg White in Nashville, “Icky Thump” also arrived as they made a seemingly uncomfortable shift to a major label. Hints came in the selection of “Conquest,” but also the subtext of this album’s gnarled title track – their first-ever Top 40 single. Both seemed to point to lingering trust issues for the White Stripes, those heroes of garage-rock outsider-dom. “Icky Thump” is “about people using other people,” White said in 2007. “The theme is ‘Who’s using who?'”

As with many bands who came before them, it seemed the White Stripes‘ long-awaited success simply created more pressure. “Icky Thump” scored a career-best but, like “Get Behind Me Satan“, that didn’t match the million-LP sales of “Elephant” or 2001’s “White Blood Cells“. An accompanying tour was cut short, with White citing Meg’s growing anxiety about performing, and the White Stripes went into an extended hiatus.

Nigh on ten years ago,  The White Stripes unveiled the most ambitious record of their career. Taking its name from the mis-appropriation of the British exhortation “Ecky thump” the Stripes’ Icky Thump would prove to be the final full-length studio album from the beloved Detroit duo. To celebrate not only the ten years since the albums release, but also twenty years since Jack and Meg started the White Stripes AND the 500th release in the Third Man Records’ catalog, we are delighted to announce the release of our 33rd Vault package, “Icky Thump X”.

Deluxe Icky Thump 180-gram, colored vinyl 
The cornerstone of the package is the deluxe, “contained explosion” colored vinyl repressing of Icky Thump. Previously only ever available on boring black vinyl, this double LP, 180-gram vinyl dream is housed in a glorious tip-on sleeve with slightly modified artwork and sealed with a Victorian update on the original red/white sticker that was begrudgingly slit open by fidgety record collectors overly concerned with “condition.” Remastered from the original 1” analog tapes in Nashville, TN, Icky Thump will be the first-ever Vault title manufactured at the Third Man pressing plant in Detroit. You will not believe your ears.


Track List:

Icky Thump
You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)
300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues
Conquest
Bone Broke
Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn
St. Andrew (This Battle Is In The Air)
Little Cream Soda
Rag and Bone
I’m Slowly Turning Into You
A Martyr For My Love For You
Catch Hell Blues
Effect & Cause

12″ Icky Thump Extras Vinyl
The logical companion piece to Icky Thump is the collection compiling all nine of the non-album b-sides recorded for (and during) the release and tour cycle. Icky Thump Extras joins live covers (Hank Williams’ “Tennessee Border”), alternate versions recorded in the middle of a horse-racing track in Canada (“You Don’t Know What Love Is…”) with Beck produced exclusives (“It’s My Fault For Being Famous”) and couples them with newly reimagined artwork from Grammy Award-winning designer Rob Jones. Consider this the first and last time any of these songs will appear on 12-inch vinyl, pressed on luminescent lunar-colored vinyl. Extras will also be manufactured at the Third Man Pressing in Detroit.


Track List:

Tennessee Border (originally by Hank Williams)
Baby Brother (originally by Bill Carter and the Rovin Gamblers)
You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told) (frat rock version)
A Martyr For My Love For You (acoustic version)
It’s My Fault For Being Famous
Cash Grab Complications On The Matter
Honey, We Can’t Afford To Look This Cheap
Conquest (acoustic mariachi version)
Conquista (Spanish language version)

The Red Demos
Prior to entering Blackbird Studios for the tracking of Icky Thump, the White Stripes did a full run-through of the tracks in demo form to workshop ideas and get thoughts on tape at their Nashville rehearsal spot. This would prove to be the Only time the band would ever demo an album before recording. Forgotten by all involved in the intervening ten years, The Red Demos is a startling insight into the germination of the songs that would soon be blasted out at arenas and festivals the world over. Of particular interest is the first ever release of the instrumental “Monkeys Have It Easy”, a title previously teased via the original Icky Thump press release in 2007. Cover art depicts a working mock-up of the unedited image used on the original album and exists as the ideal compliment to both that original issue and the mono mix of Icky Thump from the vault package No1 .

Track List: 

You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)
A Martyr For My Love For You
Rag and Bone
Catch Hell Blues
Little Cream Soda
Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn
Monkeys Have It Easy (previously unreleased)
Bone Broke
Icky Thump
Conquest
300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues

Exclusive Polaroid Photo Book
To further push this package into “I Cannot Believe They Did That” territory is an exclusive book comprised of Polaroid photos, tracking notes and insight from Icky Thump session photographer and White Stripes’ confidante David Swanson . Comprised 100% of previously unseen and unshared material, the of-the-moment documentation of the album and its recording process by Swanson’s intuitive and discerning eye is revelatory.
Mystery Art Prints by Rob Jones
To even further blow this thing out of the water is one of nine different 8×10 White Stripes images by Rob Jones. Randomly inserted so you have no idea which one you’ll get, these include classic updates on art and graphics from the original release era in addition to completely new ideas, all rendered in the highest quality silkscreen printing and suitable for immediate framing or burning.

“Rag and Bone” Enamel Pin Set
Not enough? Ok, take Two enamel pins that when combined depict the horse skeleton imagery originally featured on the 7-inch artwork for “Rag and Bone” and understand full well that the addition of said pins will elevate any drab old potato sack to a best-dressed list ensemble.

Cross of St. Andrew Soft Touch Box
All of these components will be lovingly housed in a soft-touch coated telescoping box that reproduces the cross of St. Andrew used as an important graphic in Icky Thump’s issue ten years ago and rendered even more poignant now as the specific version of that cross (the Cross of Burgundy) forms the shape of an X.