The mellow, country-informed indie pop/rock of Whitney is built around the core songwriting duo of Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, both formerly of Smith Westerns. Led by Ehrlich's soft falsetto, the group's debut album, 2016's Light Upon the Lake, landed on several Billboard side charts, including rock, alternative, and vinyl. In late 2014, after three albums, Chicago indie rock outfit Smith Westerns announced that they were disbanding. Frontman Cullen Omori launched a solo career, and, with Ehrlich singing lead from the drum kit and Kakacek playing guitar, bandmates Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek formed Whitney. Their first single, "No Woman," appeared in January 2016, and two months later they made waves with an appearance at the South by Southwest music festival. With a fluctuating lineup of supporting players, Whitney quickly followed that with opening spots on tours for NE-HI, Wild Nothing, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Ehrlich was a one-time drummer for UMO). They had secured festival spots at the Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, and Pitchfork Music Festival, among others, before their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, arrived via Secretly Canadian that June. With the official lineup of Ehrlich, Kakacek, Malcolm Brown, Tracy Print Chouteau, Charles Glanders, Josiah Marshall, and Will Miller, the LP appeared on Billboard's rock, alternative, and independent albums charts, reaching the Top Ten of the Vinyl Albums sales chart. Two cover songs arrived in 2017: Lion's "You've Got a Woman" and Dolly Parton's "Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can)." They were released as a 12" 45-rpm single by Secretly Canadian. In 2019, Whitney returned with their sophomore album, Forever Turned Around. Produced by Brad Cook (Megafaun) and Light Upon the Lake co-producer Jonathan Rado (Foxygen), it included contributions from their original rhythm guitarist, Ziyad Asrar, who then re-joined the band's touring lineup. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 30, 2019 | Secretly Canadian
Three years separate Light Upon The Lake, Whitney’s brilliant debut album, from Forever Turned Around. In 2016, when Max Kakacek (former guitarist of the Smith Westerns) and Julien Ehrlich (former drummer of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) teamed up, their original take on rock, which was tinged with folk and soul, quickly earned them critical acclaim and a solid fan base. Their sound wasn’t unlike that of Girls (a group that Kakacek and Ehrlich often joined on tour), mixed with the melancholy found in Neil Young’s old acoustic records, Harry Nilsson’s ear for melody and Fleet Foxes’ careful arrangements... Our Chicago hipsters seem to have come straight out of sunny California in the seventies and here they are back for more with this second equally endearing opus. Nonchalance and evanescence are once again well-mastered on compositions that sometimes veer towards country, folk and soul - genres that are even more present than on Light Upon The Lake. Ultimately, Forever Turned Around has all the qualities of a timeless album, a nostalgic record saturated with the colours of an Indian summer... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
Alternative & Indie - Released March 27, 2017 | Secretly Canadian
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