Entries in The Devil Whale (6)


Favorite Albums of 2011 20-11

20. Hey Rosetta!
Lush strings, crunchy guitars and anthemic crescendos propel this ambitious and addictive collection of songs from underrated Canadian indie-popsters. 

 Hey Rosetta - Yer Spring

19. Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong
The sophomore effort from California-based road warriors Dawes didn't quite meet my high expectations.  A solid effort, seemingly teleported straight out of 1975 - but just didn't grab me the way North Hills did.  Still among the best live bands you'll see, though.

 Dawes - Fire Away

18. The Decemberists
The King Is Dead
A welcome return to the straightforward folk sound that the band had moved away from on recent records.  No bloated arrangements or convoluted storyline - just simple songs and Colin Meloy's lyrics on full display.  Plus a little help from Peter Buck and Gillian Welch.   

 The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight

17. Kurt Vile
Smoke Ring For My Halo
Where past records were draped in a haze of guitar effects and muddy noise, Smoke Ring For My Halo is crisp and clear.  The melodies and lyrics are discernable and the genius of Kurt Vile's songwriting is on full display.  

Kurt Vile - Baby's Arms

16. Real Estate
On Days, New Jersey beachniks Real Estate clean up the production a bit without losing their lo-fi charm, and deliver another batch of summery pop songs that range from roadtrip-ready singalongs to slow-burning sunset jams.

Real Estate - It's Real

15. The Devil Whale Teeth
A lucky discovery early in 2011, The Devil Whale released their sophomore effort Teeth in May.  The Utah-based band creates catchy indie-pop that recalls Dr. Dog or a grittier The Head And The Heart. 

 The Devil Whale - Earthquake Dreams

14. Roadside Graves
We Can Take Care of Ourselves
Ramshackle, whiskey-soaked folk-rock from New Jersey's Roadside Graves.  A concept album loosely based on S.E. Hinton's classic "The Outsiders", the story of the Greasers and the Socs sets a backdrop but never feels forced or contrived.

Roadside Graves - Hank Williams

13. Ryan Adams
Ashes & Fire
Ryan Adams' music ushered me through the most formative years of my life, from high school to college and beyond.  29, Easy Tiger and Cardinology kind of lost me - but Ashes & Fire has me back on board.  Focused, honest and sans-Cardinals...welcome back Ryan.

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire   

12. The Low Anthem
Smart Flesh
Local favorites The Low Anthem return with their third full-length.  What Smart Flesh may lack in cohesiveness it makes up for in spirit - with whisper-soft hymns standing alongside ragged folk-rockers.

The Low Anthem - Boeing 737

11. Tristen
  Charlatans At The Garden Gate
I was late to come around on Tristen, but have been making up for lost time.  Tristen treads in similar waters to Sharon Van Etten, a strong woman writing about ellusive love and failed relationships.  However, she paints with a more vibrant and diverse pallette - great stuff.

 Tristen - Avalanche



The Devil Whale Live at Royale Boston 9.30.11

Words // Scott Pingeton
Photo // Music Savage

Over the past few months I've made no secret of the fact that The Devil Whale's new album Teeth is one of my favorite records of the year.  Brinton Jones' often-obtuse, poetic turns of phrase mix with the catchiest amalgam of folk, psych and indie rock this side of Dr. Dog.  Do yourself a favor and check it out, you won't be sorry.

As big of a fan as I am though, I hadn't had a chance to see the band live.  That changed a couple weeks ago, when The Head And The Heart brought The Devil Whale to town as support for their sold out show at Royale.  It was the band's first ever show in Boston, and they made the most of their super-early club-night Royale timeslot.  The band worked hard to win over new fans as the room slowly filled up, and as far as I could tell they were hugely successful.  What started as a distracted crowd became more engaged as the set went on - clapping along, whispering how great this band was and finally reacting with a huge ovation as the band left the stage.

As expected the set drew heavily from Teeth, including most of the album with the unfortunate exception of "Earthquake Dreams -- one of my favorite tracks.  Live the songs were faithful to the originals, with perhaps a bit more grit and energy than the studio versions.  The 8-song, 30-minute set was well-paced, mixing upbeat tracks such as "Standing Stones" and "Barracudas" with slower ones like "Television Zoo" which showcased the band's range.  The set closer "The Road To Hell" had everyone clapping along and making mental notes to stop by the merch table at the end of the night.  One of many standouts from Teeth, the song's casual, tossed-off vibe belies the depth of the lyrics, which include some of my favorite lines...

I want to listen to the radio
But they keep playing the same war
He's got a gun under his pillow
And Jesus on his dresser
But neither one makes him feel safe anymore

I can't wait for The Devil Whale to return to Boston for a headlining show, but until then here's a complete recording of the band's set at Royale.  Sound quality is just as good as The Head And The Heart recording from last week, which is to say it's excellent.  Enjoy and please support the band by buying their music!

The Devil Whale
Royale - Boston, MA
September 30, 2011

So-Called War
Magic Numbers
Standing Stones
Television Zoo
The Road To Hell

Full set download:  mp3 zip

Bonus: another acoustic track filmed by Kitchen Sessions on the street in Boston after the band's set - "Magic Numbers" is one of my favorite tracks off the album and it sounds especially great echoing through a Theater District alley here...


On location: The Devil Whale - "Indian"

The Devil Whale's latest LP Teeth has been in near-constant rotation since it's release in May.  The band creates catchy indie-pop that draws from a deep well of influences - 60s British Invasion pop, psych, classic rock and folk.  Brinton Jones' songs are fleshed out with rich multi-part harmonies, vintage keys and crunchy guitars - obviously right up my alley, and if you read this blog I'm guessing you'll dig them too. 

Currently touring with The Head And The Heart, The Devil Whale made their first trip to Boston a couple weeks ago and were kind enough to play a few songs for us after their set.  Steve from Kitchen Sessions was there to catch it all on video - check out an incredible, acoustic version "Indian" below, filmed on the street behind Royale and check back soon for a live recording of the band's actual set that night and another acoustic track.

The Devil Whale on Bandcamp



Free Summer Mixtape


Review: The Devil Whale - Teeth


I'm stating the obvious here, but I find that my favorite bands often lead me to some of the best musical discoveries.  In the case of Utah's The Devil Whale, I'd probably still be in the dark if it weren't for The Head And The Heart.  Now, it wasn't the fact that they toured together recently, nor the fact that members of the Seattle band sing on The Devil Whale's "Magic Numbers" that tipped me off.  Nope, it was a lucky click on The Head And The Heart's myspace "Friends" section about 6 months ago that led me to The Devil Whale's bandcamp page where they were streaming an unmastered version of "Teeth".  I sat slack-jawed, hanging on every word, anticipating every note - the way you listen to an album when you know that one day you'll think back and remember the first time you heard it.  A few days later the stream was removed, and all I had was fading memories of this mysterious album that captured my attention and left me waiting for May 24th when the album would be released.

After one spin of Teeth I remembered why I was so floored the first time I'd heard it.  Shimmering psych-pop that bounces with 60s/70s nostalgia, folky grit and rock n' roll swagger.  The album opens with "Golden", a sunny and soulful tune; all sugar-sweet melody with a hint of crunchy guitars (hmm sounds like a cereal ad).  "Indian" starts in murkier psych territory before exploding into a soaring chorus that pulls you along for the ride.  On "Werewolf Army" songwriter Brinton Jones dials up the introspection, with a chorus of "Honey you're too closed off / I can't come in".  "Magic Numbers" puts it all together and with that, I'm sold.  Bouncy piano psych pop, sweeping melodies and introspective, powerful songs.

The Devil Whale - Magic Numbers

The record gets stronger as it goes - picking up momentum and solidifying its strengths.  The relentless stomp of "Earthquake Dreams", the radio-friendly playfulness of "Barracudas" the tossed-off campfire singalong "The Road To Hell".  A complete album in both concept and execution and one of my favorite listens of the year so far.

Head to the band's bandcamp page to grab a free download of "Golden", and get the entire album here.


New music: The Devil Whale - Golden

I've been keeping track of The Devil Whale for a while, ever since I stumbled onto an unmastered version of their upcoming album TEETH on their bandcamp page a few months ago.  I was floored on first listen.  TEETH has since been pulled off of bandcamp, but will be released for real on May 24.

To tide you over until then, the band has released "Golden" for free download.  Gorgeous mid-tempo indie-pop complete with shimmering guitars, tambourines and sticky-sweet melodies.

The Devil Whale - Golden