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Alternative & Indie - Released March 23, 2018 | XL Recordings

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If someone had said it to him ten years ago, Jack would have laughed. A forced laugh too, no doubt. The lonesome boy of blues, confined to analog, converts to a synthetic album for the first time in his career. Foreseeing the last few years with his collaborations, this flurry in the middle of his solo breakthrough remains surprising. Next to the blues riffs, White, at the age of 42, creates his first melange of music on this new crusade. And this composition, put together at the beginning of 2018, is living proof of this new path blazed by White. Splashes of rock (Respect Commander), turbulent jam sessions (Ice Station Zebra), congas and percussion for broken Afro-Cuban rhythms on digital projections (Over and Over and Over, Everything's you've ever Learned), soaring gospel on organs with the McCrary Sisters of Nashville (Connected by Love), country caressed on the piano (What's done is done), interlude chamber music with CW Stoneking (Abulia and Akrusia), vocoders for miniature funk (Get In The Mind Shaft), Al Capone’s words written during his time at Alcatraz on Dvořák’s Humoresque in a jazz style, everything goes. For this leap into the unknown, the former member of The Stripes made sure to let loose. Not giving a damn. Taking a lot of risks along the way. First he isolated himself for several months in a studio rented in Nashville, outside the well-built walls of Third Man Records, to first write without any backing instruments, in order to feel the keys of his synths, all while recording on tape. Then, he locked himself up in New York and Los Angeles with Carla Azar from Autolux, Louis Cato, Justin Poree and Bobby Allende as well as some of the musicians who play for Kendrick Lamar and who make some of the best hip-hop around. All musicians who he had never worked with before. Speaking on the experience, White said; "Some of those songs could take up an entire side of an album, like a Miles Davis record or a Funkadelic record. Then someone would do something and another mood would change the room." Always playing outside his comfort zone, White, who likes to capture the rawness of a live sound, dirty and still throbbing, born in sweat, chose LA to rework the recordings after letting them cool off for some time. He finally arrived at these thirteen tracks on Boarding House Reach which make up this frantic album, eccentric and heated. Truly Excellent!
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 9, 2016 | XL Recordings

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Natural-born archivist that he is, it is no surprise that Jack White would eventually choose to curate his own career. Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 is his first attempt at offering an alternative narrative of his own career, one that places his quieter side as the connecting thread running from the White Stripes through the Raconteurs to his solo work. It's a tactic that diminishes some of the conventional notions about White, particularly that most of his music is grounded in the blues. Despite Greil Marcus' mention of blues icon Son House in the liner notes, most of the music on Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 bears stronger ties to country and folk, even British Invasion pop; the latter is evident not only on the singsong whimsy of "We're Going to Be Friends" but the cinematic melancholy of "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)." Neither version here is heard in an alternate version, underscoring how this spin on White's work isn't revisionist, it highlights what was already there, yet there are rarities scattered throughout the collection: remixes of the early Stripes tracks "Apple Blossom" and "I'm Bound to Pack It Up," alternate acoustic mixes of solo material from the 2010s, bluegrass versions of "Top Yourself" and "Carolina Drama," a song from the Raconteurs. What first grabs the attention are assorted White Stripes rarities -- the wry, funny Beck-produced B-side "Honey, We Can't Afford to Look This Cheap," the recently completed outtake "City Lights" -- and a stripped-down revision of "Love Is the Truth," a song White wrote for Coca-Cola in 2006, but what impresses is the consistency. Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 not only is a strong set of songs but it makes it plain that White has been mining the same territory, finding something new within it for nearly two decades. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 9, 2014 | XL Recordings

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Like "blunderbuss," a "lazaretto" is an ancient reference that means little in the modern world, a fact that does not escape Jack White, a musician who specializes in blurring lines between past and present. Contrary to his carefully cultivated persona as a raider of lost Americana, White never, ever was a purist: he thrived upon seizing the precise moment when accepted definitions lose all meanings and turn into something new. This tension surfaces on Lazaretto, his second solo album, a record that lives upon the edges of his interests. There is a fair share of blues bluster -- via Zeppelin riffs and huffed references to digital cameras, the opener "Three Women" modernizes Blind Willie McTell, while he twists a refrain from Howlin' Wolf's "I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)" on "Just One Drink" -- but Lillie Mae Rische's violin occupies nearly as much space as his own howling guitars, pushing White into the left field where he prefers to reside. That eccentricity is the pleasure of Lazaretto, which is by every measure the strangest record associated with White since 2005's Get Behind Me Satan, a record that found Jack tackling the aftermath of fame by turning gothic. He's since lightened his outlook -- all the restored recording booths and trickster vinyl coming out of Third Man Records in Nashville show the heart of a prankster -- but he retains the itch of an artist, thriving upon self-imposed limitations. With Lazaretto, that amounted to adapting a clutch of fiction he wrote when he was 19, using the themes of these stories and plays to not only fuel the topics, but to freshen his songwriting, which was veering ever so slightly toward craftsmanship on Blunderbuss. Here, White kicks the legs out from under himself, allowing himself some signature indulgences -- the aforementioned blues blazers, plus the unhinged "That Black Bat Licorice" -- and reviving a few forgotten sounds (the closing piano ballad "Want and Able" recalls the moody turns of Satan), but generally he pounces upon detours, savoring the instrumental of "High Ball Stepper," demonstrating a facility with hip-hop rhythms and cadence on "Lazaretto," and lingering in dark corners for perhaps a little longer than necessary. All this sound and fury disguises how elsewhere on Lazaretto there are songs as exquisitely sculpted as those on Blunderbuss -- the heartbroken honky tonk of "Temporary Ground," the deceptively sprightly "Alone in My Home," the teasing melodrama of "Would You Fight for My Love?" -- but what makes it a better, richer work is how it simultaneously holds every side of White, existing at the crossroads where modernity, tradition, hard work, and inspiration all meet. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released April 23, 2012 | XL

Jack White leaves such an indelible stamp on any project he touches that a solo album from him almost seems unnecessary: nobody has ever told him what to do. He's a rock & roll auteur, bending other artists to fit his will, leading bands even when he's purportedly no more than a drummer, always enjoying dictating the fashion by placing restrictions on himself. And so it is on Blunderbuss, his first official solo album, arriving five years after the White Stripes' last but seeming much sooner given White's constant flurry of activity with the Raconteurs, Dead Weather, Third Man Records, and countless productions. Here, he's once again placed restrictions on himself but they're not quite as clearly defined as they've been in the past, as when he's gotten great dividends by working with a limited palette. All the restrictions are entirely of a comforting variety: he's abandoned the primitivism of the White Stripes, something that came easily with Meg White bashing away on the drums, and has chosen a quieter, polished route, rotating in different musicians for different tracks. Jack still pulls out some standards from his bag of tricks -- clenched blues explosions, squealing guitars, and a cool breeze of electric piano -- but musicians matter and this bunch of pro players tightens and softens his attack (sometimes to its detriment, as on a clumsy cabaret version of Little Willie John's "I'm Shakin'"). When Blunderbuss gets furious, it's hard not to miss the chaos Meg brought to the Stripes -- with her at the drums, "Sixteen Saltines" would fly off the rails -- but it's a mistake to think of this album as a professionally produced White Stripes record as it relies as heavily on ideas White explored on his handful of old-timey acoustic cuts and the '70s guitar rock of the Raconteurs. If it resembles any Stripes album it's Get Behind Me Satan, the dark, odd 2005 set written in the wake of a breakup and filled with songs of paranoia and recrimination. This too is a divorce album with every song concerning love gone wrong, yet it's easy to ignore all the pain roiling underneath because Blunderbuss plays so sweetly, its melodies easing into memory and its surface warm and pleasant. Contradictions are nothing new for Jack White but he's never been as emotionally direct as he is here, nor has he been as musically evasive, and that dichotomy makes Blunderbuss a record that only seems richer with increased exposure. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 10, 2018 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 23, 2018 | XL Recordings

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Pop/Rock - Released November 2, 2012 | XL

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 12, 2018 | XL Recordings

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Pop/Rock - Released February 27, 2012 | XL

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 24, 2014 | XL Recordings

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House - Released April 25, 2018 | French House Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 2, 2014 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 16, 2014 | XL Recordings

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Pop/Rock - Released October 29, 2012 | XL

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Pop/Rock - Released November 2, 2012 | XL

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 17, 2015 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 22, 2014 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 27, 2012 | XL Recordings

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