Third Man Records Vault exclusives, Part 21
This week I received the 21st set of exclusive vinyl items offered to platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist as well. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its platinum members every three months. According to the postal service, my package was sent on October 24th. I received it on the 27th.
This twenty-first set of items includes a live double-LP from the White Stripes recorded in Japan in 2000, and a single with two new studio tracks from the Dead Weather.
The live White Stripes double-LP Live Under The Lights Of The Rising Sun captures two October 2000 club shows performed in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, Japan, marking Jack and Meg White’s very first overseas concerts. (The cleverly designed gatefold sleeve features a die-cut front cover and insert, which enables the cover art to resemble either the duo’s peppermint logo, or the Japanese flag). The first disc (pressed in black vinyl) was recorded at the club Urga on October 27th of that year, and the second disc (pressed in red vinyl) was recorded the next day at a club called Jam. It sounds as though few people were in attendance at both shows, making the album feel as if it was recorded at private performances. But the Whites were determined to fill the respective venues with their blues-rocking intensity. If the audiences were small at the time, this Vault package should bring the performances of those two nights to more welcoming ears.
On the first disc, the duo sounded like they were struggling with a bout of strangers-in-a-strange-land awkwardness. The first two songs on this disc – “Let’s Shake Hands” (the first White Stripes single from 1998) and “When I Hear My Name” (from the first album) – get the set off to a rocky start. But they begin to catch their stride on the third track, a haunting rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. They proceed to perform an expected mixture of early Stripes songs and covers – although some of the cover songs are unexpected: one medley mixes a tune from the 188.8.131.52.’s (the shows’ headliners) with another from Screaming Lord Sutch. Toward the end of the disc, they sound a bit more comfortable than they did at the beginning, doing well with renditions of “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground” and “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” that predate their studio versions.
The second disc is better, as the duo delivers a far more confident set with nearly Zeppelin-like intensity. Although the set list has many of the same song selections as that of the previous evening, they do a more solid job with the songs here, including “Jolene”, “Dead Leaves” and the (same) two opening numbers. The second side of the disc is particularly exciting, with its energetic blues jams and an appropriately insolent cover of Iggy Pop’s “I’m Bored”.
The second disc alone makes Live Under The Lights Of The Rising Sun worthwhile for fans of the White Stripes, and the same fans will appreciate the historical value of the first disc.
The 7-inch single (pressed in transparent gold-colored vinyl) contains two new studio tracks from the Dead Weather. This is the second single (following the one released as part of Vault package #18) in a series that the quartet is recording for eventual inclusion on their next full-length album in 2015. Both of these tracks utilize the quartet’s usual fuzz-filled hard-rock approach; both were co-written by singer Alison Mosshart (also from the Kills) and guitarist Dean Fertita (also from Queens Of The Stone Age). The A-side, “Buzzkill(er)”, is a nihilistic garage-rocker with a chainsaw riff; the equally devil-may-care B-side “It’s Just Too Bad” has a 2 a.m. feeling of moody detachment. The eventual album is shaping up to be a dark but absorbing work. (Both of these tracks will be available digitally on November 4th).
The bonus item in this package is a 3 X 5 foot polyester flag with the Third Man Records logo emblazoned on it.
A note for fellow vinyl aficionados: the forgotten practice of engraving text in the dead wax, or the runout grooves between the sticker and the last track’s grooves, is present on these items. The A-side of the single has “Bumble” etched in the dead wax; the B-side has “For a tumble” carved. The LP has the following messages carved in its respective sides: “I Like Your Shirt”, “You can have it”, “John make a mistake”, and “No visit to the vending machine”.
The White Stripes “Live Under The Lights Of The Rising Sun” (Third Man TMR-285) 2014
DISC ONE: 10.27.00 | Shinjuku, Club: Urga
1. Let’s Shake Hands
2. When I Hear My Name
4. Lord, Send Me An Angel
5. You’re Pretty Good Looking
6. Hello Operator
7. Death Letter
8. Astro / I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield / Jack The Ripper
9. Canon / John The Revelator
10. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
11. Apple Blossom
12. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
DISC TWO: 10.28.00 | Shinjuku, Club: Jam
1. Let’s Shake Hands
2. When I Hear My Name
3. You’re Pretty Good Looking
4. Hello Operator
6. Apple Blossom
7. Stop Breaking Down
8. Death Letter
9. Wasting My Time
10. Broken Bricks
12. Your Southern Can Is Mine
13. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
14. I’m Bored
The Dead Weather “Buzzkill(er)” b/w “It’s Just Too Bad” (Third Man single TMR-286) 2014
b. It’s Just Too Bad