White Blood Cells

The White Stripes play gothic garage punk strictly by all the best and baddest rules. Detroit's Jack and Meg White, allegedly brother and sister, look like they haven't been out of their apartment in six years, and like the Ramones, they named themselves after their band (or vice versa). Best of all, they fuse inescapable, eerily eternal melodies with dirty-ass, brain-scrambling riffs that recall both the Kinks and the Melvins. On tunes like the creepy, prowling "The UnionForever" or the spiky Appalachian blooze "Offend in Every Way," Meg bashes out a supersize sasquatch beat on a cheap trap set, while Jack strangles his electric guitar and yelps tales of puppy love and insect inspection with snot-nosed glee. At a time when lots of folks would argue that rock is dead, a White Stripes ditty like the raging "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman" actually sounds quite undead, like a love zombie or some other unstoppable monster.

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