Indie favorites The Whigs capture live energy on new disc

By on May 8, 2014
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(MCT)

After a dozen years as a rock band, the three members The Whigs figured they knew each other well enough that they didn’t need to waste time in the studio figuring things out for their fifth album.

Instead, the goal was to do enough preparation to minimize the recording process and capture the band’s strength as a live unit, drummer Julian Dorio says.

“We tour a lot, we play together a lot,” Dorio says. “We thought ‘We can count these songs off and play them, right?’ We do it every day. Why do we go in there and do piece by piece and make it so perfect that we’ve removed the energy and spirit of the band playing together?”

So The Whigs booked just two weeks in the studio — a relative blink these days — and ended up recording the entire album, plus mixing it, with two days to spare.

The result is “Modern Creation,” released last week, a glorious garage-rock collection whose songs are rock: straight-forward, but hardly stripped down. The first single, “Hit Me,” is all loud, fuzzy guitars over a driving beat that recalls the best of the 1970s.

The band already is on the road in support of the disc.

“Everything you hear on the album except for mastering was done and mixed in 12 days,” Dorio says in a phone call from Nashville, the new hometown of the band, which began in Athens, Ga. He says each of the disc’s 10 songs basically took a day, done in a handful of takes — or sometimes a single one.

“It takes a lot of rehearsal and preparation ahead of time so that you can walk in the room, set up and press record,” he says “I don’t think there’s really a substitute for experience. The number of shows we’ve played together and just when you’ve played together this long, you develop almost a non-verbal understanding of each other and how the other guy plays and how to play off each other and anticipate things.”

The Whigs was formed by former schoolmates Dorio and singer Parker Gispert, who reconnected at the University of Georgia in Athens. Original bassist Hank Sullivant left in 2006 to tour with MGMT and was replaced by Timothy Deaux.

The Whigs independently released its first disc, “Give ‘Em All a Big Fat Lip,” in late 2005. In 2006, Rolling Stone magazine included the band on its list of “10 Artists to Watch.” The Whigs quickly signed with ATO Records.

It since has released three more albums and became a favorite of late-night talk shows. It has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” twice each, “The Late Show with David Letterman” three times, and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

The Whigs will play at WorkPlay on June 19. 

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