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Noise-rock kings Whores bring power of ‘Gold’ album to Savannah

 

Noise-rock kings Whores bring power of ‘Gold’ album to Savannah

28 Nov 2017

Whores have been declared the new noise-rock kings.

The Atlanta band blasted into a national spotlight last year with a gut-punch of a debut album, “Gold,” which drew serious attention from national media outlets.

Although they’ve been around since 2010, the new attention stems somewhat from a revival of noise rock, coupled with the power of “Gold,” Whores’ strongest release to date.

Influential noise-rockers Unsane released a new album this year after a five-year hiatus. Along with bands like Vincas, Metz, Hawks, Plaque Marks, Illegal Drugs and even the now-defunct Fight Amp, the post-hardcore punk-inspired genre has made a resurgence.

“When we first started, we would do this hashtag with Fight Amp, #SecondWave,” Whores frontman Christian Lembach said. “We haven’t done it in a while. It sort of started as a joke, because of ska. We were making fun of it. But now it’s happening years later. Not really a joke anymore.”

A longtime Atlanta resident, Lembach — whose connection to Savannah dates back to the early ‘oughts and includes friendships with members of metal bands Kylesa, Mastodon and Baroness — formed the group with the firm intention on making music his life.

Through the first EPs, 2011’s “Ruiner” and 2013’s “Clean,” Lembach struggled with bandmates who were not at the same level of dedication. After “Clean” was recorded, the band reformed with the current lineup of Lembach on guitar and vocals, Casey Maxwell on bass and Donnie Adkinson on drums.

Working with Atlanta producer Ryan Boesch (Foo Fighters, Melvins, Helmet, Norma Jean) at Parhelion Recording Studios, a new batch of songs came about, honed by influence from obvious acts like Fugazi, The Pixies and Melvins, and unexpected subtle references to bands like The Breeders and P.J. Harvey.

The working band’s output earned attention from the largest independent record label in North America, Entertainment One, which released “Gold” last year. The label also represents the likes of Opeth, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, The Diplomats, In Flames, DJ Khaled, Black Label Society, Snoop Dogg, Zakk Wylde and more.

The group’s entire foundation lies in a bedrock of punk attitude and history. From the name to the lyrics and music, it’s all emblematic of misfit mantras. Whores has had some negative feedback to the name, mostly from people who think it has misogynistic undertones.

“It’s like the name stuff,” Lembach said. “Either you get it or you don’t. I am under no obligation to explain it to people. I am so, so liberal, it’s absurd. For someone to make an accusation that I am less than that is ridiculous to me ...”

While there is a bit of sardonic air to the band’s approach (“Gold’s” album artwork features a spray-painted trash can), it’s only skin deep. Just behind the sarcastic smile lies insightful, grown-up lyrics that harp on everything from back pain to larger social observations.

“People have commented on the sarcasm several times, on a couple of songs, and I am like, that’s not what I meant at all. People interpreted it that way,” Lembach said.

“… I’ll usually give a song a title before I write lyrics which gives me a box to work in. The majority of the titles start out as jokes. Just dumb stuff we say. Then I end up writing serious lyrics around it.”

From “Gold,” that notion is rather perfectly represented in the track, “I See You Are Also Wearing A Black T-Shirt,” which began as a joke, but the lyrics find a deeper truth: “Empty houses, lonely streets/Rome’s on fire now/Raise that flag one last time/Then burn this strip mall down.”

“There is a contingent of people there that are wearing the outfit,” Lembach said. “They got the cool clothes, and the battle vest and cool haircuts. So they look to the average soccer mom like they are part of this counter-culture. But they are only part of the counter-culture thing as so far as they’ve got the look. They don’t actually have punk ideals …

“That’s how that started. Then I wrote the words around a greater, more universal idea of the suburbs and selling out and giving up on it. It started out like screw these guys, but when I dug into it, it represented something larger. This thing is ours and how dare you act like you’re part of it.”

Whores plays The Jinx on Dec. 5 with Minneapolis-based Alistair Hennessey and Savannah’s Hotplate in support.

Ear protection is strongly advised.

IF YOU GO

What: Whores, Alistair Hennessey, Hotplate

When: 9 p.m. Dec. 5

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: $10; 21 and older

Info: whoresband.com

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