Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 44: The White Stripes “De Stijl XX” (2020)

The 44th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in July of 2020. 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. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months.

The 44th Vault package contained a 2-LP set celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the White Stripes’ 2000 sophomore album De Stijl, along with a DVD containing two White Stripes live performances from that year, and a book of photos taken during that era.

The White Stripes’ second album De Stijl from 2000 found the duo progressing from the minimalist blues-rock of their 1999 self-titled debut album. It was no larger in scale, but was larger in scope, with more variance in its folk-, blues-, and punk-inspired sounds, and a wider range of emotion in its garage-rock ambience. (The album’s name came from the Dutch minimalist art movement of the early 20th century, which clearly influenced the White Stripes on a visual level, and possibly on other levels as well). This Vault package does not contain a new vinyl pressing of the readily-available original album, as expanded edition CD reissues have taught us to expect. However, the material contained on the two LP’s are very much like the type of material we might expect from the bonus discs of such reissues.

And we get a fine set of bonus tracks on the first LP, which is pressed in white vinyl. The first side begins with six acoustic demos recorded on a boombox by Jack White. Four of them were De Stijl songs (two of which – “Sister Do You Know My Name” and “I’m Bound To Pack It Up” – have different lyrics), one was an instrumental blueprint of “Expecting” (which turned up on the subsequent White Blood Cells album), and the other was a previously unheard song called “Vanilla Fields” – which I would have liked to hear a finished version of. It’s interesting to get a glimpse of these songs in this early, bare-bones stage of their creation. This side of the LP also contains three fully-formed outtakes from the album: an instrumental take of “You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)”, another acoustic version of “Sister, Do You Know My Name?”, and an alternate take of “Your Southern Can Is Mine”.

The second side of the first disc collects eight nifty cover songs, some of which were previously issued, and some of which were not. The first two, Thee Headcoatees’ “You’re Right, I’m Wrong” and Bacharach and David’s “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”, were recorded live-in-the-studio and direct-to-acetate, and have a good, spontaneous sound. Next, there are three decent Captain Beefheart covers which were recorded for a Sub Pop subscription-only single, and were later included in Vault #7; the Whites made the Captain’s bizarre songs more accessible, but they don’t quite match Beefheart’s vibrancy. The next two covers pay tribute to two female country stars: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (which the duo frequently performed live) and Loretta Lynn’s “Rated X” (previously issued in Vault #24). Interestingly enough, the accompanying booklet states that those two tracks were recorded on the same day in January of 2000. However, this version of “Jolene” is the remixed version from Vault #6, not the original mix which served as the B-side for the 2000 “Hello Operator” single. The side concludes with the acoustic blues of the 1933 Blind Willie McTell song “Lord, Send Me An Angel”, which was the A-side of a non-album 2000 single.

The second LP, pressed in red vinyl, was recorded live at the Magic Stick in Detroit on the final day of 2000. The Magic Stick is a small venue converted from a bowling alley, but it almost sounds like the Stripes were playing to a mid-size arena on this record. At the beginning, they come on like an AC/DC cover band, covering two early songs by the Australian heavy metal giants. For these two songs, the usually bass-free duo were joined by bassist Chris McInnis from They Come In Threes. It’s amusing to hear Jack snarling like Bon Scott, although his guitar playing is of the high-fuzz alternative rock variety, and it sounds more agitated and distorted than usual. Meg White’s primitive drumming unexpectedly serves this material well. After those two numbers, we hear the kind of setlist that we expect from a White Stripes concert, but the initial hard rock fury remains present for much of the set. “Death Letter”, “Little Bird”, and “Let’s Build A Home” have even more Led Zeppelin-like crunch than usual, bordering on blues-based metal. There are other cover songs here that were more common to White Stripes concerts (including the aforementioned “Jolene” and “Lord, Send Me An Angel”), but who would have expected to hear Meg White nervously warble the Velvet Underground’s “After Hours” at the end? That odd bit of show-closing cuteness aside, this LP captures the White Stripes displaying more blistering hard-rock ferocity than usual.

(Note: The De Stijl album was reissued on vinyl by the Vinyl Me, Please Essentials subscription service during the same month that this Vault package was issued, on limited edition red-and-black-splattered vinyl. This vinyl edition of the album ought to serve as a good accessory to this Vault package, for those who wish the package had contained a pressing of the proper album).

A note for fellow vinyl aficionados: the practice of engraving text in the dead wax, or the runout grooves between the sticker and the last track’s grooves, is present on the two-record set, which has “Still have no idea who this CB character is…” carved in Side A, “Sorry Harry” carved in Side B, “Acca Dacca” carved in Side C, and “The proposal was successful” carved in Side D.

The White Stripes “De Stijl XX” (Third Man Records TMR-677) 2020

Track Listing:


1. Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise (acoustic demo)
2. A Boy’s Best Friend (acoustic demo)
3. Sister, Do You Know My Name? (acoustic demo)
4. I’m Bound To Pack It Up (acoustic demo)
5. Expecting (acoustic demo)
6. Vanilla Fields (acoustic demo)
7. You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl) (take 2)
8. Sister, Do You Know My Name? (acoustic outtake)
9. Your Southern Can Is Mine (outtake)


1. You’re Right, I’m Wrong
2. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
3. The Party Of Special Things To Do (originally released as SP-527)
4. China Pig (originally released as SP-527)
5. Ashtray Heart (originally released as SP-527)
6. Jolene (originally released as SFTRI-619)
7. Rated X (originally released as TMR-312)
8. Lord, Send Me An Angel (originally released as SFTRI-645)

SIDE C (recorded live at the Magic Stick in Detroit on December 31, 2000):

1. Let There Be Rock
2. Dog Eat Dog
3. You’re Pretty Good Looking
4. Hello Operator
5. Death Letter
6. Little Bird
7. Lord, Send Me An Angel

SIDE D (recorded live at the Magic Stick in Detroit on December 31, 2000):

1. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
2. Apple Blossom
3. Broken Bricks
4. Cannon / John The Revelator
5. Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise
6. Jolene
7. I’m Bored
8. Let’s Build A Home / Goin’ Back To Memphis
9. Suzy Lee
10. After Hours

The accompanying DVD documents two live sets by the Stripes from June of 2000, mere days before the release of De Stijl. The first of the two shows was filmed on the 15th of that month in a small, now-defunct Montana venue called Jays Upstairs. The 41-minute set shows Jack and Meg (who were then pretending to be brother and sister) in the days when they were still hungry. Jack’s voice often sounds raspy and/or screechy, like that of a furious punk rocker, but his bluesy guitar playing is very good, especially during the second half of the set; his guitar heroics on “Death Letter” and “Little Bird” are worth whatever the admission price was. It’s also fun to watch Meg’s simple drumming, especially when the camera zooms in on her for close-ups. The sound and video quality is surprisingly good, capturing the feeling of being in that small club and watching this then-little-known duo from Detroit as they were redefining the blues-rock genre for the new millennium.

The second of the two shows was performed 2 days later on June 17th of that year, inside the also-now-defunct (and even smaller) Fallout Records store in Seattle, WA. The videographer got very close-up and personal when filming the duo’s 26-minute set inside this indie record shop in that post-grunge, pre-Record Store Day time and place. The sound is a bit warped, especially when it comes to Jack’s singing, but the instruments – and the intensity – come through fine. The best visual moment comes during their performance of Bob Dylan’s “One More Cup Of Coffee”, when the camera zooms in next to Meg’s arm to capture her image on the De Stijl album cover in the record bin behind her drum kit.

DVD Track Listing:

6/15/00 Jay’s Upstairs – Missoula, MT

Let’s Shake Hands
Hello Operator
When I Hear My Name
Broken Bricks
You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)
Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me?
Your Southern Can Is Mine
Wasting My Time
Sugar Never Tasted So Good
Apple Blossom
Death Letter
Little Bird
Astro / Jack The Ripper
Cannon / John The Revelator

6/17/00 Fallout Records – in-store set

You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket
One More Cup Of Coffee
Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise
Lafayette Blues
Jumble, Jumble
Stop Breaking Down
Hello Operator
The Big Three Killed My Baby

The package’s 34-page, 11.75” X 11.75” softcover picture book reprints many mementos from the Stripes’ Y2K adventures, including photographs, handwritten lyrics, studio notes, concert flyers, promo materials, and newspaper clippings. The book also lists the dates and venues of the shows that the Stripes played that year. Two standout pictures: a photo of Jack wearing the same jacket worn by Iggy Pop on the back cover of the Stooges’ Raw Power LP, and a newspaper clipping which quotes Jack on his five favorite albums. It’s not surprising to see records by the Stooges and Blind Willie McTell on that list, but I was amused to read Jack’s praise for “a very hard to find record” called The Calculus of Evil by someone named Brush Thomalson – a record that is so hard to find that the internet seems to know nothing about it! If this mysterious album actually exists, then maybe White should reissue it on Third Man Records...right?