White Stripes front man Jack White was reportedly fired from his guitar-playing gig in the Motor City rawk-revival outfit the Go, but don't shed any tears for him: while his old band still hasn't released a follow-up to its 1999 debut, his duo with his ex-wife, rudimentary drummer Meg White, is the toast of indieville and just released its third album in three years. The Whites are probably wise to make hay while the sun shines: their increasingly refined blues-punk has a pomo smarminess to it that reminds me of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and where are they now? So enjoy it while it lasts: Jack White's sly, well-constructed tunes reference everything from Delta greats (the duo covers Son House, Blind Willie McTell, and Robert Johnson) to the Kinks, blending raw, powerful riffage with almost elegant melodies. His singing has been compared, not entirely inaccurately, to Robert Plant's, but thankfully he doesn't mimic Percy's insufferable falsetto. The new White Blood Cells (Sympathy for the Record Industry) is the first White Stripes album recorded on more than eight tracks; it was done at Easley Studio in Memphis, with occasional overdubs of guitar, organ, piano, and backing vocals. But the songs are still written with the same stylish economy that made the title of the last album--De Stijl--so appropriate. The Von Bondies, whose Jack White-produced debut is due on Sympathy this month, play on both bills. Thursday, July 5 (with the Gossip), and Friday, July 6 (with the Waxwings), 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Anderson.