• The White Stripe "Self Titled" 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.
Recorded at Jim Diamond's Ghetto Recorders studio in Detroit and produced by Jack White, the White Stripes' self-titled debut album appeared that June and was dedicated to blues icon Son House. The album made a fan of legendary BBC DJ John Peel, whose support helped the band gain fans in the U.K. The White Stripes self-titled debut was a breath of fresh air when it was released way back in 1999. Pop had regained its hold of the collective consciousness and alternative forms rock and pop began returning to the studio-as-instrument days dating back to the psychedelic late 1960s. Jack White is a spitfire dynamo, paring down blues-inspired rock to its bare essence: guitar and drums. As much inspired by The Gories as old blues classics, the two-piece unit (Jack White on guitar and Meg White on drums) pound their way through 17 songs that are remarkably both contemporary and drawn from way back in the past. "The Big Three Killed My Baby," "Astro," and "St. James Infirmary Blues" epitomize this mixture of originals and blues standards.