Agony Shorthand

Thursday, February 20, 2003
WHITE STRIPES SINGLES.....Not to get too indie on you, but it seems as though some enterprising young bootlegger has cobbled together the first few WHITE STRIPES singles and put out a CD unsurprisingly entitled "Singles". It's quite good -- aside from some excellent A-sides already on their first two CDs ("Hello Operator", "The Big Three Killed My Baby"), you get some live staples such as "Lord, Send Me An Angel" (you and I know this song as Blind Willie McTell's "Ticket Agent Blues"), Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and a killer trio of Captain Beefheart covers that came out on a Sub Pop 45: "Party of Special Things To Do", "China Pig" and "Ashtray Heart". Especially strong are a pair of 1960s covers from The Hentchmen w/ Stripes guitarist Jack White playing along called "Some Other Guy / Psycho Daisies" -- this came out on micro-indie Italy Records and probably can't be tracked down easily. This band's fame and fortune (if the latter even exists, which I kinda doubt) is somewhat baffling to me. WHY them? Why now? Are kids really plunking down their allowance on this tough, sincere, genre-hopping garagy blues? Is this somehow part of the horrifying "Adult Alternative" format, as hinted at by the New York Times this past Sunday? Is a spike in Trout Mask Replica sales next (a la 1992 Vaselines and Wipers mania from the Nirvana connection)? In any event, if you can track down this one it makes a fine addition to their three full-length CDs.