• The White Stripe "De Stijl" Cassette
THIRD MAN RECORDS
With their unlikely but fascinating mix of arty concepts and raw sounds, the White Stripes were among the leaders of the early-2000s garage rock revival and helped define the sound of 21st century rock as the decade progressed. Jack and Meg White's clever use of limitations -- from their lineup to their instrumentation to their red, white, and black color scheme -- maximized their creativity, allowing them to bring a surprising number of facets to their seemingly back-to-basics approach. Meg's straight-ahead, minimalist drumming complemented Jack's freewheeling guitars and vocals perfectly, and their music touched on not only on obvious forebears such as the Gories and the Stooges, but also Son House and Blind Willie McTell's mythic blues, Led Zeppelin's riffs, the Gun Club's unhinged punk, and the timeless storytelling of country and folk legends such as Loretta Lynn and Bob Dylan.
Taking their second album's name from the early 20th century Dutch aesthetic movement, the band dedicated De Stijl to the style's founder, designer Gerrit Rietveld, and Blind Willie McTell. Taped on an 8-track recorder in Jack’s living room, De Stijl at once codified The White Stripes’ sonic and artistic modus operandi while also laying the groundwork for future experimentation. Their best asset lies in the space between the music, not what is played, but what is left out: the foundation of sound. There is just enough emptiness around for an impeccable gunshot drumbeat and a guitar man to assume the total power focus. They know all this. They know they're good.